A winter fairytale in Kitzbühel

Organisers and fans will remember the 84th Hahnenkamm Races for many years - thanks to Cyprien Sarrazin's fabulous run for the history books and Linus Strasser's home victory. 

"What a week of racing, what a joy," says Michael Huber, head of the organising committee and president of the Kitzbühel Ski Club, enthusiastic and also a little touched after the 84th Hahnenkamm Races: "It has been what you always wish for, but rarely happens: sunshine, powder snow and cold weather have accompanied us during the race week, which allowed all races to be held at the highest level."

The high standard was already clear when the Streif and Ganslern pistes were already prepped at the start of winter in December: the employees of Bergbahn AG Kitzbühel ensured that the race courses were in such excellent condition weeks before the two downhill runs and the slalom so that even the rain around Christmas was unable to cause any damage. In addition, around 200,000 cubic metres of snow were produced. The FIS snow control on 5th January went off without a hitch and when it started to snow again a few hours later, the entire landscape was covered in white.

Also during the race week, the weather took the lead, albeit very considerately. As rain was expected on Thursday, the two training runs on the Streif took place on Tuesday and Wednesday. A beneficial side effect for the athletes: a one-day break. And this break even lasted an hour longer on Friday, shortly before the first run, as the start was postponed to 12.30 pm so that the last wafts of fog could clear. The course of the race already gave a foretaste of the downhill on Saturday, but nobody could have guessed that: Marco Odermatt took the lead after a rather imperfect run, only to be edged out by Florian Schieder and then Cyprien Sarrazin.
The following day, the conditions were close to perfection and a little later the sporting performances were too: 45,000 fans turned the finish stadium into a madhouse and after Marco Odermatt's outstanding run, it was safe to assume that the Swiss could finally call himself the Hahnenkamm winner. Two minutes later, Cyprien Sarrazin was standing like the Incredible Hulk on the air fence at the finish and celebrated a jubilation the size of which Kitzbühel had not often seen. The Frenchman smashed Marco Odermatt's best time and was certain after the downswing that he had succeeded in setting a memorable 1:52.96. The Frenchman's run was reminiscent of Stephan Eberharter's exactly 20 years ago. Until then, it was regarded as a perfect conquest of the Streif - as in 2024 with a huge lead and in glorious sunshine. Since this year, there have been two runs that ski fans will remember for decades to come. "Cyprien Sarrazin made skiing history on the Streif. We were all blown away, it was great," says Michael Huber.
The final slalom on Sunday was in no way inferior to the magical Saturday: 22,000 people flocked to the Ganslern slope and beamed in the sun. Linus Straßer in particular was glowing at the end. Even though he was born in Munich, he celebrated a kind of home victory on the Ganslern. The 31-year-old learnt to ski in Kitzbühel, among other places, is still a member of the Kitzbühel Ski Club and lives in the neighbouring village of Kirchberg. His coach was once Mario Mittermayer-Weinhandl from Kitzbühel, the current race director of the Hahnenkamm races. It was no wonder that many of the organising committee of the Hahnenkamm Races were glassy-eyed at the award ceremony, especially when Mario Mittermayer-Weinhandl was allowed to hand over the chamois to his former protégé at short notice. Behind Linus Straßer, Kristoffer Jakobsen took 2nd place and Daniel Yule 3rd.

After such extraordinary and memorable Hahnenkamm races, the celebrations naturally continue in the summer: "There will be two monster parties on the Hahnenkamm," announced Michael Huber in an interview with the Kitzbüheler Anzeiger. This refers to the traditional gondola handovers to the two new Hahnenkamm winners. "We'll come up with something nice and authentic for Linus Straßer. To honour Cyprien Sarrazin's achievements, we will transform our start house into a little France. And I've already reserved the Londoner for the parties," says Michael Huber.