As the 77th edition of the Hahnenkamm approaches, we look back at Kitzbuehel's place in skiing history.
All (skiing) eyes turn to Kitzbühel each January, as the famed Hahnenkammrennen welcomes the world’s fastest alpine ski racers. The World Cup’s most prestigious downhill race will celebrate its 77th edition this year, but in fact the history of alpine skiing in Kitzbühel actually goes back much further…
The view from Kitzbühel’s medieval centre is dominated by the angular Kitzbüheler Horn, which whilst it may not hold the same status as some other alpine peaks, it is by no means unspectacular! The ‘horn’, clocking in at 2000m, can be instantly recognised from almost any vantage point throughout the surrounding Kitzbüheler Alps. And despite its modest size it has played a crucial role in the development of alpine skiing and winter tourism.
These days, Kitzbüheler Horn is just one part of the sprawling Kitzbühel lift system, which straddles the provincial border between Salzburgerland and the Austrian Tirol. Within this vast snowsports arena, the horn is known as a quiet area where beginners and novices can hone their skills on a wide, sunny, south-facing plateau. Those ambitious skiers wanting to follow in the tracks of legendary skiers such as Franz Klammer, Hermann Meier and Didier Cuche stick to the Hahnenkamm mountain across the valley. This is where the ‘Streif’ is located, the most famous and feared downhill race track in the world.