What began in December 1993 with a women’s Super-G has developed into an annual event in Flachau, and in the FIS World Cup calendar too. Alberto Tomba has won on the Hermann Maier FIS World Cup course just as Janica and Ivica Kostelic or Marlies and Benjamin Raich. What remains in memory from all those years are, on the one hand, very, very exciting races from a sporting point of view, brilliant career leaps and, above all, heightened emotions. I would like to tell you a few anecdotes from the long tradition of the Ski World Cup in Flachau here. You can watch more brilliant moments from 30 years of the Ski World Cup in Flachau on Austrian TV on Sunday, 8.1.2023 at 6.25 pm on ORF 2.
To start with there were adverse weather conditions. And these made the course on the Griessenkar extremely selective. With bib number 66, Katja Koren from Slovenia crossed the finish line with the fastest time and won her first and only World Cup race.
The races on 6th and 7th January 1996 were dominated by the Italian ski superstar Alberto Tomba and I can still remember the great press hype surrounding him, as well as the forerunner from Flachau named Hermann Maier, who showed off here with a top time and thus paved his way into the Austrian Ski Association European Cup team and soon after into the Austrian Ski Association World Cup team. Then there was also a cool interlude at the start number draw, where some athletes appeared dressed as the Three Kings.
The supporting programme of the Ski World Cup in Flachau was, by the way, already pretty top-class in the early years: DJ Bobo, Victoria Beckham, DJ Ötzi, Lutricia McNeal, the Nockalmquintett, voXXclub and many more made their grand appearance in Flachau. At that time, the “Guggamusi”, who marched through the village to the finish area before the race and then loudly cheered on the runners in the stands, also created a great atmosphere.
An absolute highlight was, of course, the 2002 World Cup Final, with the speed races in Zauchensee and the technical competitions in Flachau. T-shirts instead of ski jackets – with spring-like temperatures of up to 18 °C, preparing the piste was probably a real challenge for the Flachau race committee. But this test was also mastered by the team, as were many snow flurries, heavy downpours and taking over World Cup races at short notice that had to be cancelled elsewhere.
Which brings us to an important factor in the success story of the Audi FIS Ski World Cup in Flachau, namely the team, which functions like clockwork. The event is prepared by the various working groups and then on day X everything meshes together and functions precisely and professionally, just like the mechanics of a clock. And although everyone is very concentrated, there’s plenty of banter, ensuring everything runs smoothly, almost like clockwork.
Of course, there were and are always a few mishaps, which are then analysed and discussed at the obligatory “end of event drinks”.
For example, it is said that a beverage supplier was guided by telephone for a good hour through Flachau before he said he was now standing in front of the fire brigade in St. Anton. But don’t worry, nobody had to suffer from thirst in the popular huts, restaurants and bars at this World Cup event either.
photo credits: TVB Flachau