WATCH THE PROS MAKE IT LOOK SO EASY – FIS SKI RACING
There aren’t any more impressive live sporting spectacles than standing metres away from a racer throwing themselves down the 85% gradient of the Hahnenkamm Streif race course at speeds of 140 km/h. Doused with water, the snow is transformed to thick ice offering the racers a near vertical ice rink to negotiate. Watching this event defies all logic – it is inexplicable what these racers can do on skis.
To support the drama that takes place on the mountain, there is a pre-race party, during-race party and after-race extravaganza. The festivities can be anything from F1-like hospitality to clutching a beer on the perimeter of the course and mingling with the locals. Hosting a World Cup ski event brings a whole range of entertainment to the resort and the atmosphere can be incredible.
FIS SKI RACE BASICS
Depending on the event and ticketing, FIS race attendance can be on-foot or on-ski, at the course side-lines or in the VIP finish area. Some races require tickets, some are free to access, whilst access to the restricted zones are ticket-only affairs. Tickets may need some pre-booking. Weather can affect the race schedule with cancellations and postponements a possibility.
Early trip booking is essential as FIS races are often the biggest annual events that the resort hosts. Thousands of people descend on these resorts and accommodation can be at an absolute premium. For some races, it is possible to stay in neighbouring resorts and sample the event on ski, escaping the mayhem at the end of the day and returning to a calm Alpine village.
FIS SKI RACE PRE-REQUISITES
Book early and get to the slopes some time before the race starts, to ensure the best viewing points and appreciate the build-up. These events are regional highlights and the locals are frenzied in their support, generating a great atmosphere.
To make an event of the event, it is well worth investing in a VIP ticket which offers access to the best and most comfortable seats and amenities. These tickets will need to be reserved in advance.
FIS SKI RACE LOCATIONS
The Kitzbühel Hahnenkamm race weekend in January each year is the biggest event in world skiing. Tens of thousands of fans, including A-list celebrities descend on Kitzbühel each year to marvel at the spectacle of skiing the world’s most fearsome ski race course – a strip of ice where racers reach 140 km/h on gradients of up to 85%.
Sölden hosts the season opening race weekend on the FIS calendar. The Rettenbach Glacier offers snow sure skiing and hosts the men’s and women’s races in October each year. It is a dramatic weekend of racing followed by a whopping party – the like of which Sölden has a well-deserved reputation for.
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