Kitzbühel’s World Cup events kickstart the season

5th January 2020, by Dave Watts

This month’s famous Hahnenkamm race is just one of several spectacular events held during the season (pic: Michael Werlberger)

This month’s famous Hahnenkamm race is just one of several spectacular events held during the season (pic: Michael Werlberger)

The iconic Tyrolean ski resort of Kitzbühel celebrated New Year’s Day with a traditional torchlight descent of the famous Hahnenkamm World Cup downhill piste by the resort’s ski schools, followed by a spectacular fireworks display masterminded by World Fireworks Champion Armin Lukasser. The event has been running every year since 1955 and each year gets bigger and better.

The New Year fireworks display is held near the finishing area of the World Cup downhill race (pic: Michael Werlberger)

It is just one of many spectacular events that the resort puts on during the winter season.

The 18th Snow Polo World Cup, one of the largest polo tournaments on snow, is held on the outskirts of Kitzbühel from 16 to 19 January. Spectators can watch the action — with the beautiful backdrop of the Wilder Kaiser mountain — for free at Münichauer Stadium. Or you can buy tickets for the VIP tent to mingle with the players and enjoy gourmet food and drink.

The Snow Polo World Cup is held 15 to 19 January (pic: Michael Werlberger)

Straight after that is the world famous Hahnenkamm World Cup race week from 21 to 26 January with training and Junior races in the early part of the week and the races themselves over the weekend. The Super G is scheduled for Friday 24 January with the spectacular Downhill on Saturday 25 January and the Slalom (which British racer Dave Ryding finished second in three years ago, stunning the ski racing world) on Sunday 26 January. 

And this year world record prize money for an Alpine World Cup will be on offer – around 725,000 euros. All weekend will be one long party with lots of music and traditional cowbells and horns sounding out.

There’s a race up the Hahnenkamm as well as down (pic: Michael Werlberger)

On 29 February the Streif race course (where the Hahnenkamm race is held) will host another challenge – the Streif Vertical Up. The race is open to the public and the aim is to get up to the top of the 3312m long course which rises 860m vertical as quickly as possible on foot. More or less anything is allowed – you’ll see runners with spikes, racers on snowshoes and crampons, cross-country skiers, ski tourers and more. The race attracts around 1,000 entrants, starts at 6.30pm and helmets and head lights are required. Amazingly, the front runners begin arriving at the finish line after only 30 minutes or so.

The annual James Bond themed Fireball event will be held on 13 and 14 March with a blackjack tournament in the Casino, followed by a race down the Kitzbüheler Horn mountain. The contestant who outplays all others at the Casino and in the race combined will become the Fireball winner 2020.

Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond books, spent several years of his life in Kitzbühel. He studied languages there and spent his spare time skiing.

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