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Watching the Lauberhorn Downhill

Rainer Sturm  /
Switzerland is a skiing nation. Most people learn to ski at a young age and then keep on skiing for a few days every winter for pretty much all their lives. For many people (including myself) a perfect winter day involves snow covered slopes, sunshine and blue skies, an amazing panoramic view of the alps and a pair of skies or a snowboard.

For people who live in the Mittelland (the area between Zurich and Basel) and suffer from fog for many days in winter, being outside in the sun and snow is a welcome change. A visit to the hot springs in the evening adds the perfect conclusion to a skiing day.

Skiing - a sport for everyone?

Skiing is indeed a sport for the masses here in Switzerland. Everyone knows the Swiss German slang that goes along with a day on the slopes - be it on a snowboard or on skis. Also, every winter Swiss students will get a two week skiing break in February in addition to the two week Christmas break. This vacation is called "Sports Vacation" and it's purpose is simply to allow Swiss children to go skiing or snowboarding with their families! Many schools also offer snow camps during those weeks or organize a special snow day where the whole school hits the slopes.

As a working member of the community, I prefer not to go snowboarding during those two weeks since ski resorts are usually packed. The best days to go skiing are usually midweek in January because everyone else is working or in school!

Famous Swiss skiers

As you would expect it of a skiing nation, Switzerland also regularly produces some excellent skiers. Think of Bernhard Russi, Vreni Schneider or Pirmin Zurbriggen, just to mention a few names.

Like almost any time, Switzerland also currently has some top notch ski cracks racing down the slopes of the world. Beat Feuz has been very solid over the last few years. From surprise high flyer of this season he has advanced to successful routinier. In Super-G and downhill races he's been able to reach the top 10 regularly over the seasons. One of his biggest successes so far happened in Switzerland: He won the famous Lauberhorn downhill race!

Lauberhorn Downhill

The Lauberhorn races are most likely Switzerland's biggest skiing event of the year. Thousands of spectators line the longest downhill course of the world. Over 4 kilometers long and a race time of about 2.5 minutes turn the Lauberhorn downhill into one of the hardest and most interesting races in the alpine ski world cup!

The race is also quite dangerous with top speeds of up to 150 km/h at certain points. Big amounts of safety nets and paddings provide the much needed safety for the skiing cracks. Yet, even with the nets a fall during the race can be painful I've heard.

Some years, over a million of people watch the Lauberhorn downhill last year on tv. In fact, many times it was the most viewed tv production of the year in Switzerland. I assume that this year there was a similar number of people watching.

If you haven't seen the Lauberhorn race yet, I recommend you watch Beat Feuz ski the perfect downhill race in this video from 2012. Unbelievable! You'll get an impression of the difficulty of this slope and the skills of Beat Feuz.

Lauberhorn Ski Races



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