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Wengen Downhill

The word 'classic' is often over-used, but not in the case of this race. Set on the slopes of Lauberhorn above the Swiss resort of Wengen, this is a race that has the lot - history, drama and the best scenery on the world cup calendar.

As well as all the information below it's worth looking at our linked pages for the resort of Wengen and the Jungfrau Ski Region, both of which have handy information and some webcams of the race area as well as for the surrounding Wengen/Jungfrau area.

Wengen

Detailed review of the Swiss ski resort of Wengen. Includes detail on the slopes, the town itself, all the links you need, and some useful local knowledge.

Jungfrau Region

Information on the Swiss ski area Jungfrau Region, including links to the surrounding resorts, webcams, slope information and lift details.

Switzerland Webcams

See what's happening in the Swiss ski resorts with live streams and a list of web-cams for Switzerland.

Race Details for Wengen World Cup Lauberhorn Ski Race

The longest downhill race in the FIS World Cup calendar is also the most beautiful. With a backdrop featuring the north face of the Eiger, the Monch and Jungfrau, this is one race the organisers don't have to try too hard to sell. At just over 2 and three quarter miles in length, it takes nearly two and a half minutes for the top racers to get down, dropping like a stone 1000m vertically and at speeds approaching the Ski Federations maximum limit of 150 km/h (yes, that's over 90 mile per hour !). The race is one of the oldest in the world, dating back to the first running of it in 1930. Since then it's grown and grown and now attracts about 35,000 spectators for the actual race. The course features many famous sections such as the Hundschopf jump (where the racers appear to be jumping off a cliff face !); the Kernen-S where the skier hurtles into a 90 degree turn onto a small bridge and then into another 90 degree turn; the Wasserstation where the skier goes under the mountain railway in a tunnel, and the infamous Haneggschuss, where the top speeds can approach the 150km/h mark. Spectators who fancy there chances at emulating the professionals can actually ski the course after the race has finished - which is a bit like a football fan getting to have a kick around at Wembley after the FA Cup final !

The Iconic Sections of Wengen's Lauberhorn Downhill Course

  • Russisprung - the Russi Jump The upper part of the course, overlooked by the Eiger. Named after Swiss skier Bernhard Russi.
  • Hundschopf - the Dog's Head The most iconic jump in downhill ski racing, straight through the rock faces.
  • Minsch-Kante - the Minsch Ledge Named after swiss skier Josef Minsch, who fell there in 1965.
  • Canadian Corner Named after Dave Irwin and Ken Read (two Canadian skiers who along with Dave Murray and Steve Podborski were affectionately referred to as the Crazy Canucks), who in the 1976 race aggressively attacked this section of the Lauberhorn but subsequently fell during the race. This is a long sweeping curve that heads into the extremely tight Alpweg trail (only 3m wide!), before leading the Kernen-S.
  • Kernen S Extremely tight right bend followed immediately by a small bridge and a left bend. Used to be called the Bruggli-S but was renamed after Bruno Kernen following his 2006 crash there.
  • Wasserstation - the Water Station Iconic dash down into the tunnel underneath the mountain railway (the Wengernalpbahn), sometimes with the train passing overhead.
  • Langentrajen Long, much flatter section of course, more suited to the gliders.
  • Haneggschuss After the (relatively) flat section comes the much steeper Haneggschuss, this is the fastest section on the Lauberhorn and where in 2013 Johan Clarey became the first skier to break the 100mph barrier in a downhill race.
  • Silberhornsprung - the Silberhorn Jump Another iconic jump, introduced relatively recently in 2003 and named after the Silberhorn mountain that appears in the background when the TV shots show the skiers coming over the jump.
  • Osterreicherloch - the Austrian Hole Named following the 1954 race when almost all of the top Austrian skiers fell at that section, even the legendary Toni Sailer.
  • Ziel-S - The Finish-S Leg and thigh-burning final section before the finish. The approach to the Ziel-S was changed following the tragic events of the 1991 race, when Austrian skier Gernot Reinstadler was killed as this section as he crashed off the slope into the netting.

Wengen Men's Lauberhorn Downhill Ski-Race Champions

The list of winners of the Wengen Lauberhorn Downhill since the event started back at 1930 is as follows:

Year Winner Nationality Notes
2016 Aksel Lund Svindal Norway
2015 Hannes Reichelt Austria
2014 Patrick Keung Switzerland Shortened race due to wind.
2013 Christof Innerhofer Italy
2012 Beat Feuz Switzerland
2011 Klaus Kroll Austria
2010 Carlo Janka Switzerland
2009 Didier D'fago Switzerland
2008 Bode Miller USA
2007 Bode Miller USA
2006 Daron Rahlves USA
2005 Michael Walchhofer Austria
2004 No Race
2003 Bruno Kernen Switzerland
2003 Stephan Eberharter Austria Extra Race on the Friday
2002 Stephan Eberharter Austria
2001 No race
2000 Josef Strobl Austria
1999 Lasse Kjus Norway
1998 Andreas Schifferer Austria
1998 Hermann Maier Austria Extra Race on the Friday
1997 Kristian Ghedina Italy
1996 No Race
1995 Kyle Rasmussen USA
1995 Kristian Ghedina Italy Extra Race on the Friday
1994 William Besse Switzerland
1993 No Race
1992 Franz Heinzer Switzerland
1991 No Race
1990 No Race
1989 Marc Girardelli Luxembourg
1989 Marc Girardelli Luxembourg Extra Race on the Friday
1988 No Race
1987 Markus Wasmeier West Germany
1986 No Race
1985 Helmut Hoflehner Austria
1985 Peter Wirnsberger Austria Extra Race on the Sunday
1984 Bill Johnson USA
1983 No Race
1982 Harti Weirather Austria
1981 Toni Burgler Switzerland
1980 Peter Muller Switzerland
1980 Ken Read Canada Extra Race on the Friday
1979 No Race
1978 No Race
1977 Franz Klammer Austria
1976 Franz Klammer Austria
1976 Herbert Plank Italy Extra Race on the Friday
1975 Franz Klammer Austria
1974 Roland Collombin Switzerland
1973 No Race
1972 No Race
1971 No Race
1970 Henri Duvillard France
1969 Karl Schranz Austria
1968 Gerhard Nenning Austria
1967 Jean-Claude Killy France
1966 Karl Schranz Austria
1965 Stefan Sodat Austria
1964 Egon Zimmermann Austria
1963 Karl Schranz Austria
1962 No Race
1961 Guy Perillat France
1960 Willy Bogner West Germany
1959 Karl Schranz Austria
1958 Toni Sailer Austria
1957 Toni Sailer Austria
1956 Toni Sailer Austria
1955 Toni Sailer Austria
1954 Christian Pravda Austria
1953 Anderl Molterer Austria
1952 Othmar Schneider Austria
1951 Othmar Schneider Austria
1950 Fredy Rubi Switzerland
1949 Rudolf Graf Switzerland
1948 Zeno Colo Italy
1947 Karl Molitor Switzerland
1946 Jean Blanc France
1945 Karl Molitor Switzerland
1944 Rudolf Graf Switzerland
1943 Karl Molitor Switzerland
1942 Karl Molitor Switzerland
1941 Rudolf Graf Switzerland
1940 Karl Molitor Switzerland
1939 Karl Molitor Switzerland
1938 Heinz von Allmen Switzerland
1937 Heinz von Allmen Switzerland
1936 Hans Schlunegger Switzerland
1935 Richard Werle Austria
1934 Adolf Rubi Switzerland
1933 No Race
1932 Fritz Steuri Switzerland
1931 Fritz Steuri Switzerland
1930 Christian Rubi Switzerland

Wengen Men's Lauberhorn Downhill - Most Successful Skiers

Swiss skier Karl Molitor is the king of the Lauberhorn, having won it 6 times, 5 of them during the war when the race was one of the few to be run, what with the Swiss being neutral and all that. Austrian legends Karl Schranz, Toni Sailer and Franz Klammer al come next in the list , along with Swiss skier Rudolph Graz. Of the modern-day era only Bode Miller and Stephan Eberharter have won it more than once.

Number of Titles Name Nationality Years
6 Karl Molitor Switzerland 1939 1940 1942 1943 1945 1947
4 Karl Schranz Austria 1959 1963 1966 1969
4 Toni Sailer Austria 1955 1956 1957 1958
3 Franz Klammer Austria 1975 1976 1977
3 Rudolf Graf Switzerland 1941 1944 1949
2 Bode Miller USA 2007 2008
2 Fritz Steuri Switzerland 1931 1932
2 Heinz von Allmen Switzerland 1937 1938
2 Kristian Ghedina Italy 1995 1997
2 Marc Girardelli Luxembourg 1989 1989
2 Othmar Schneider Austria 1951 1952
2 Stephan Eberharter Austria 2002 2003
1 Adolf Rubi Switzerland 1934
1 Aksel Lund Svindal Norway 2016
1 Anderl Molterer Austria 1953
1 Andreas Schifferer Austria 1998
1 Beat Feuz Switzerland 2012
1 Bill Johnson USA 1984
1 Bruno Kernen Switzerland 2003
1 Carlo Janka Switzerland 2010
1 Christian Pravda Austria 1954
1 Christian Rubi Switzerland 1930
1 Christof Innerhofer Italy 2013
1 Daron Rahlves USA 2006
1 Didier D'fago Switzerland 2009
1 Egon Zimmermann Austria 1964
1 Franz Heinzer Switzerland 1992
1 Fredy Rubi Switzerland 1950
1 Gerhard Nenning Austria 1968
1 Guy P'rillat France 1961
1 Hannes Reichelt Austria 2015
1 Hans Schlunegger Switzerland 1936
1 Harti Weirather Austria 1982
1 Helmut Hoeflehner Austria 1985
1 Henri Duvillard France 1970
1 Herbert Plank Italy 1976
1 Hermann Maier Austria 1998
1 Jean Blanc France 1946
1 Jean-Claude Killy France 1967
1 Josef Strobl Austria 2000
1 Ken Read Canada 1980
1 Klaus Kroll Austria 2011
1 Kyle Rasmussen USA 1995
1 Lasse Kjus Norway 1999
1 Markus Wasmeier West Germany 1987
1 Michael Walchhofer Austria 2005
1 Patrick Kueng Switzerland 2014
1 Peter Mueller Switzerland 1980
1 Peter Wirnsberger Austria 1985
1 Richard Werle Austria 1935
1 Roland Collombin Switzerland 1974
1 Stefan Sodat Austria 1965
1 Toni B_rgler Switzerland 1981
1 William Besse Switzerland 1994
1 Willy Bogner West Germany 1960
1 Zeno Col Italy 1948

Wengen Men's Lauberhorn Downhill - Most Successful Ski Nations

Bad news for the home nation, with the Austrians still leading the way on the LAuberhorn course, with 29 victories compared to 25 from the Swiss. The hat-trick of American victories from 2006 to 2008 by Daron Rahlves and Bode Miller catapulted the USA to be the third most successful nation on the hill, and one of the most surprising facts is that the Canadians and the Scandanavians only have one victory each here thanks to two legends of the sport Ken Read and Lasse Kjus.

Number of Titles Nation Years
30 Austria 1935 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1963 1964 1965 1966 1968 1969 1975 1976 1977 1982 1985 1985 1998 1998 2000 2002 2003 2005 2011 2015
27 Switzerland 1930 1931 1932 1934 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1947 1949 1950 1974 1980 1981 1992 1994 2003 2009 2010 2012 2014
5 Italy 1948 1976 1995 1997 2013
5 USA 1984 1995 2006 2007 2008
4 France 1946 1961 1967 1970
2 Luxembourg 1989 1989
2 Norway 1999 2016
2 West Germany 1960 1987
1 Canada 1980

2015 Lauberhorn Downhill Race at Wengen

Austrian Hannes Reichelt won the 85th running of the Lauberhorn downhill ski race, breaking Swiss hearts as he edged out home favourites Carlo Janka and Beat Feuz in a great race in fantastic conditions, following heavy snow in the previous 24 hours. The race had been swapped with the Slalom race from its traditional Saturday date to the Sunday, because of the weather report, and it proved a wise decision as both races successfully went ahead.

The 2010 Lauberhorn winner Carlo Janka, who had skied so well in the training runs as well as in the downhill section of Friday's super-combined race (which he won), lead the race for a long time having stormed down in bib number 3 in a time of 2:36.28, providing more evidence that he was returning to form following years of health problems. Beat Feuz, another previous Swiss winner back in 2012, and like Janka, also trying to continue his comeback following a few seasons of injury and illness stormed down the Lauberhorn course in a magnificent 2:36.26, just two-hundredths of a second off Janka. Championship leader Kjetil Jansrud was extremely close all the way down but a small mistake down near the bottom of the course cost him some vital speed for the final half minute of the race and he missed out on the Swiss duo by nearly a second.

Janka had won the Lauberhorn in 2010 and it looked like his return to form might lead to him joining the list of greats who had won the race more than once. However, Reichelt, who had come 2nd in last seasons Lauberhorn race, had other ideas and went one better as he hurtled down through the famous sections one after the other, just slightly behind Janka's intermediate timings until he stole victory in the very last 20 seconds of the race with a magnificent performance in the Ziel-S. Last season's Lauberhorn winner Patrick Kueng gave a great effort in defending his title but finished just short of the podium, and he wasn't the only home skier to have a good day as an incredible 7 racers out of the top 12 were all Swiss racers !

2014 Lauberhorn Downhill Race at Wengen

Patrick Kueng gave Switzerland an unexpected home victory on a course that had been shortened due to the weather. The morning had started brightly enough but conditions dramatically changed before mid-morning as clouds rolled in along with some extremely high winds . The race organisers decided it wasn't safe enough to start the race at it's traditional location but decided to go ahead from further down, missing out on the iconic Hundschopf and Minsch-Kante sections. Being the longest downhill on the World Cup circuit, it still meant the Lauberhorn race was one and a half minutes long, and 30 year old Swiss skier Patrick Keung took advantage to claim victory. Keung's first world cup victory had come earlier in the season in the Super-G at Beaver Creek, but this, his first ever downhill victory, in one of the sport's classic events, in front of a delirious home crowd, will be hard for him to top. Austrian Hannes Reichelt and Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal took the other two places on the podium.

2013 Lauberhorn Downhill Race at Wengen

French racer Johan Clarey became the 1st man to break the 100mph barrier in a downhill race but could still only finish 5th as Italian Christof Innerhofer became the first Italian since Kristian Ghedina in 1997 to win the Lauberhorn race. The Austrian pair of Klaus Kroell and Hannes Reichelt pushed Innerhofer close as three racers broke the 100mph mark, although surprisingly Innerhofer wasn't one of them ! World Cup leader Aksel Lund Svindal was going extremely well, even faster than Innerhoffer on the opening time checks, but the Norwegian's ski inexplicably came off just after negotiating the famous Hundschopf jump and he crashed out into the netting. Clarey clocked 100.6mph to surpass the previous downhill record of 98mph, set by Italian Stefan Thanei back in 2005, and the previous record was beaten three more times during the weekend, with Swiss skier Carlo Janka recording 98.66mph (albeit in the downhill part of the super-combined event), then Canada's Benjamin Thomsen with 99.3mph and Austria's Hannes Reichelt recording 99.6mph. It's thought that the hard-packed snow, slightly warmer temperature at race-time and the fantastically clear visibility all combined to produce the perfect conditions for the speed of the course down on the Haneggschuss section.

2012 Lauberhorn Downhill Race at Wengen

Fantastic sunny weather, an exciting race, and forty thousand Swiss fans screaming on a home win, made for a fantastic 82nd running of the Lauberhorn downhill race at the classic Swiss resort of Wengen. 1st out of the blocks came Austrian skier Hannes Reichelt who'd set the fastest time during Friday's training run. His time of 2 min 35.75 seconds looked fast in comparison to the training times, and so it proved to be as the following set of skiers failed to get anywhere near it. The only skier out of the first ten to come down to look like challenging it was Carlo Janka. The Swiss skier, who has suffered from back injuries in the last year, showed signs of a return to form as he came in just 0.15 seconds behind Reichelt, whilst six skiers later Italian racer Christof Innerhofer got even closer - just 5 hundredths of a second beind. The Austrian held 1st place until bib 16 came down - the new Swiss sensation Beat Feuz. The 24 year old from Schangnau came flying down the Lauberhorn in 2 min 35.31, an incredible 0.44 seconds faster than Reichelt. Immediately after Feuz came Didier Cuche, and despite winning the overall downhill title four times, the Swiss legend was still looking for his first victory here, and whilst every Swiss race fan and every neutral would love to see the likeable 37 year old claim victory here it just wasn't to be. His was always behind the time of Feuz and could never claim any time back, eventually finishing nearly 1 and a half seconds behind. Last years Lauberhorn champion Klaus Kroell was flying down soon after, he had a fine run but couldn't match last year's feat, although his time of 2:36.20 was extremely respectable and put him into fifth place at the time, and 6th by the end of the race. The 2009 champion Dider Defago and Norwegian star Aksel Lund Svindal were soon following, but neither of them troubled the top 10, let alone Feuz, so it was down to Bode Miller as the last real challenge, and it was hearts-in-mouths time for Feuz and the masses of Swiss fans lining the course as the American hurtled down the slope, with the split times see-sawing between just ahead and just behind. Just as it looked like Bode might claim his 3rd Lauberhorn victory following back to back victories in 2007 and 2008, disaster struck and he lost half a second with a mistake right at the final section of the race that saw him end up in 5th place, 0.77 seconds behind, a shame as his run had deserved at least a place on the podium. Just as it looked like Feuz could sit back and relax their was one more potential shock on the cards, as another Swiss youngster Marc Gisin literally flew down the first half of the course and was ahead just before the halfway mark only to lose an edge and nearly crash out. He somehow managed to get back on track and incredibly claw some time back despite the error but the final energy-sapping sections would cost him his chance and he eventually finished back in 11th, but it was a fitting finale to a fantastically entertaining race. An incredible 66,000 spectators watched the three days of racing, a new record for the event and 4,000 up on the previous year.

Wengen's Lauberhorn Downhill Race Snippets

2013 - The fastest year ever as 100mph barrier finally broken

Whilst Christof Innerhofer may have won the 2013 Lauberhorn downhill on the slopes above Wengen, it could be the Frenchman Johan Clarey for whom the race may long be remembered. Because even though Innerhofer claimed the glory of becoming the first Italian since Kristian Ghedina back in 1997 to have won the famous downhill, Clarey became the first ever skier to break the 100mph barrier in a World Cup downhill. It's thought that the hard- packed snow, slightly warmer temperature at race-time and the fantastically clear visibility all combined to produce the perfect conditions for the speed of the course down on the Haneggschuss section, traditionally the fastest part of the circuit's longest downhill. Indeed it wasn't just Clarey who broke Stefan Thanei's 2005 record of 98mph, with 3 other racers recording faster times during the weekend's races. First of all Swiss skier Carlo Janka showed a glimpse of a return to form by recording 98.66mph in the downhill part of the super-combined event on the Fiday. Then on the Saturday in the main event, Canada's Benjamin Thomsen (99.3mph) and Austria's Hannes Reichelt (99.6mph) both joined Clarey in surpassing the previous best, but only the Frenchman can lay claim to breaking that magicial 100 mark. So next time you see someone nudging 90mph on one of Europe's motorway's or autobahn's, just imagine Johan Clarey actually travelling faster than that on his ski's !?!

Useful Links for Wengen World Cup Lauberhorn Ski Race




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