The famous Hanhnenkamm Downhill at Kitzbühel in the Austrian Tirol is to run twice on the infamous Streif course on both Friday 21st and January 22nd 2022 this coming winter, at the 82nd staging of the race.
The Friday staging of the race, named “The Hahnenkamm Kitzbühel Downhill” with “The Hahnenkamm Original Downhill” on the Saturday, replaces the usual Super G event. The slalom race is still scheduled for the Sunday.
“While no spectators were admitted to the Kitzbühel Ski Races last winter, it is hoped that the overall situation will improve next year. In anticipation of further restrictions to the number of spectators, and knowing that fans are predominantly interested in the Downhill event, a Double Downhill in Kitzbühel is now scheduled for the 82nd Hahnenkamm Races in 2022,” a statement from the race organisers explains.
The men race in Lake Louise, Canada, on 26th November, starting the speed skiing tour with a double downhill there too, followed by a Super G, before moving to Beaver Creek at the start of December then back to the Alps and Val d’Isere on the 11th. The women have slalom races in Killington before heading to Lake Louise for the start of their speed tour (and another double downhill), then go to St Moritz when the men are in France.
It is also Winter Olympics season with the Games in Beijing set to begin three weeks after the Hahnenkamm. The men’s downhill is at the start of the Games on February 6th, the women’s towards the end on the 15th.
There were actually two Hahnenkamm downhills last winter too, although that time unplanned, the second race a replacement of the Lauberhorn downhill at Wengen, cancelled due to an untimely pandemic spike there.
Race organisers say that having a double downhill at Kitzbühel isn’t that unusual and actually ends up happening at about one in five meetings, however it is not normally planned in advance as such, but a result of circumstances in the World Cup calendar at the time.
“It is also about maintaining the well-known programme flexibility in Kitzbühel. We know from experience how quickly weather situations can change in times of climate change. Two Downhills offer more possibilities together with the Slalom. The fact that the downhill racing line remains unchanged after the training runs also represents an improvement for the slope situation. ” said FIS Chief Race Director, Markus Waldner while Kitzbühel stressed that it meant more people could attend at least one race if social distancing is required still next January.
Both races last January were won by Switzerland’s Beat Feuz who was back in Kitzbühel recently to have a gondola named after him on the Hahnenkammbahn as every Hahnenkamm Winner – whether Downhill, Super G or Slalom – does.
“Being here today is much more relaxing than in winter,“ said Feuz.
The 21-22 World Cup Alpine ski racing tour begins with a Women’s Giant Slalom race in Sölden, Austria on 23rd October, with the men competing there the next day.