The Legendary Lauberhorn Race Weekend 15 - 17th January 2016
The Jungfrau region is buzzing this week in anticipation of the legendary Lauberhorn world cup alpine ski race! This is a unique event and the Swiss are really working hard to showcase this stunning area and event. As I come from Great Britain you simply do not get this kind of event in Britain, it is simply unique, the eagerness and excitement that you get from speaking to local people in the towns and villages in the area makes you excited to be in a place where you can experience a simply special event that is steeped in history and prestige.
So lets have a quick overview of the event itself with some facts and figures;
- First International Lauberhorn Race held in 1930
- Starts on the Lauberhorn mountain, located between Grindelwald and Wengen.
- The Lauberhorn downhill race is the longest on the FIS world cup circuit.
- The course is 4.48 Km (2.78 miles) long with competitor times being over two minutes.
- The are three different disciplines over three days, combined, slalom and downhill.
- Over 30,000 Spectators expected attend over the three days.
- 1st place in the downhill awarded 110,000 CHF (£76,100).
Along the world cup course itself there has been a frenzy of activity in preparation for one of the biggest sporting events on the Swiss sporting calendar, grandstands, TV towers, food & drink stalls being erercted and most importantly safety fencing for the race track itself! With over 30,000 spectators expected nothing is being left to chance, with typical Swiss efficiency everything is starting to fall into place nicely!
The race is one of the crown jewels in the FIS international calendar and is deemed to be one of the toughest tests a downhill racer can face. The course starts from the top the Lauberhorn mountain with some extremely challenging sharp turns as it winds down the mountain to the finish area in Wengen. Along the way there are some iconic turns and jumps that push the competitors to their limits such as the Hundschopf jump (pictured), which can only be described by an average skier such as myself as a cliff! It is quite incredible how the competitors take this jump at high speed.
As the racers progress down the mountain they will typically achieve speeds in excess of 90 mph, with Johan Clarey setting the speed record in 2013 after he went through the speed trap at 100.6 mph. This is the longest and fastest track on the circuit after all!
The build up begins on Tuesday 12th January with the first training runs commencing at 11:30! The official opening of the International Lauberhorn races is on Thursday 14th January at 17:45 in Wengen, with the much anticipated drawing of the numbers commencing at 18:15. Keep your eyes on the skies this week as the Swiss air force will be flying around practising for the air displays that will be happening on Saturday.
After the Race!Once the racing is over people don't simply head home, there are multiple apres events happening in Wengen and Grindelwald, with ticket holders having access to the world cup village where there is live music and entertainment starting at 7pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If you are staying in Grindelwald many bars are holding Lauberhorn race after parties! Its not only in Wengen you can meet with friends and other spectators to discuss the day's events!
A full race program, details regarding training runs, and the race itself can be found here.
For tickets please visit the official website; http://www.lauberhorn.ch/en/offers/ticketing
If you have never seen the Lauberhorn race before then watch this video, with former world cup downhill skier Graham Bell giving a great POV of the track itself.
It's not too late to come out and enjoy this amazing sporting spectacle! It's a once in a lifetime experience!