What makes Wengen special

January is the month of the big classics on the FIS alpine World Cup tour. And this weekend its race time in Wengen. Next to Kitzbühel Wengen is the biggest race weekend during the winter. These downhills have a history unmatched by any other destination. And thanks to exciting races, amazing TV production and big crowds of spectators they continue to stand out as legendary downhill races.
The Swiss team is having a very tough year. Normally one of the dominating forces in the ski world. But with their two best athletes gone(Feuz injured and Cuche retired) the rest of the team has not been able to step it up and deliver good results. But in these times the Swiss fans have really showed what good supporters they are. Last weekend we raced the legendary Adelboden Giant slalom. And even thought the Swiss are struggling and were not expected to perform very well, the stands were packed. 30.000 Swiss fans supporting not only the Swiss team, but every athlete. They are ski fans and show a true love for the sport and the racing. So even thought the Swiss are not amongst the favorites next weekend in Wengen I´m confident the crowds and the atmosphere will be just as good as last year.
4.56 km (2.77miles) long Wengen is by far the longest racecourse we have. About 25% longer than typical downhills with the winning time usually around two and a half minute. The first minute is very smooth. Long high speed turns where its important to be aerodynamic and smooth on the snow. The course is above the tree line and its wide and open. When you reach the Hundschopf jump that changes. The jump it self is more like a cliff and a jump, and the 40 meters you jump feels like they are mostly vertical. From being wide and open the course here tightens as you maneuver between cliffs and tight turns. The tightest section is the brükli S. A chicane that kills some speed before we ski under the rails for the Wengen train. The next section is turny, as the name indicates; the Super G section. But after that it gets real fast. This is where the top speed on the worldcup is measured. 158km/h (98moh). Ans this is also where you´re starting to feel the legs getting very tired. On the average course you would already have crossed the finish line. But here its important to keep it together. The race can both be won and lost in the last few turns, The Ziel S(Finish S). Two of the toughest turns with the most G forces, right at the end of the course. If you still have some power left, and maybe more important, the metal strength, you can make up a lot of time. But its risky, as this is also the turns in the course that takes out most people.
Wengen is one of the oldest known tourist ski destinations in the world. With the train being used for skiing long before building skilifts was an industry. With its spectacular nature, history and special course it is one of the biggest wintersport events in the world. I don’t think we will ever see courses like Wengen again. As modern lift systems transport thousands of people up to the mountains there is a need for much wider more open slopes. The difference between a modern ski slope and the old is like comparing the highway to tight mountain road. And when we race the speed is the same if its highway or mountain road. As gravity is our only motor and no one wants to tap the brakes.

  • amazon;)

    Oh weh, ladd!!… hm, det er synd, men… es geht immer um alles oder nichts! 😉 klem

  • heidi

    glad, that you’re ok after that crash!! next weekend is better, for sure. keep my fingers crossed.

  • pipi

    Den Tag kanmst abhakn! ;p@/(?+*oo

  • Caro Wendt

    What´s going on with Head ski by Ted and Kjetil??? Crazy…

  • amazon;)

    Hei hei, det er synd… German TV does not show SC live…hm… Lykke til i SL… du kan danse, ladd!! :) ha det

  • AQUA E.G

    ❥✧☃ Super Combined, 18.-Januar2013. Wengen, SUI.☃✧❥
    Bib#22 . . . Aksel
    Bib#16 . . . .Kjetil
    Stay safe! Bo trygt! Have fun! (^ _ ^)/
    i was so glad Aksel and Kjetil flew down safe at the office!(๑ᴖ◡ᴖ๑)
    = + = + = + =
    ❥✧☃ Downhill, 19.-Januar2013. Wengen, SUI.☃✧❥
    Bib#19 . . . Aksel
    Bib#10 . . . .Kjetil
    Bo trygt! Lykke til idag! New day!
    = . vVv :【Ⓢ】: vVv . =

  • pipi

    Warst wohl heit net ganz ausgeschloafa!?! ;p) versteh i… There you go!!

  • Australian fan

    Hey Aksel. Thanks for a great description of the historic town of Wengen and the iconic race from a racer’s perspective. I thought the last two sentences were a poetic description of what skiing and the downhill in particular is all about! As Caro said, you should be a sports journalist – and you could do it in a few languages too. Good luck adding Wengen to your record of wins!

  • Swiss supporter and Aksel fan

    HOPP SCHWIIZ and HOPP Aksel!!! I look forward for 3 great days with great atmosphere and great athlets up in Wengen!!!

  • pipi

    Schau mer moal Mister!!… woast, der Kostelic wird fei immer stärker! ;p) Wünsch eich zwoa oalls Guate… eigentli ganz simpel: strap on your skis and HEAD downhill guys!!! ;p)

  • Nicoletta

    Good luck for the second training, Aksel!

    This is a link informing about the Lauberhorn races:

  • Kalenny

    Thanks for describing your thoughts about wengen. Was very interesting to read what an insider thinks.

    Very good training today. Norwegian rebels rule the slope! :-)

  • pipi

    A geh, Aksel is gonna be a *Bestsellerautor*, klaro Caro… oder woas moanst?… but first the new *Äkschen* hero 008… well, *James* un Arni ham fei längst scho ausgedient!!;p)

  • Caro Wendt

    YES… First in Training! Go Go Go Viking…

    Great article about Wengen. After Racing you should be an sports journalist.

  • pipi

    Da wirds mer wirkli schwindli… net vo der Streckn, hehe, vom *Moardstext*… ;p) Tasty, yeah, think I should follow the feb interventional invitation to this part of Switzerland and check it out. Useally I prefer the French part. Back to Topic: I’d say, reading your description (hard, but I made it, yeah!), this is exactly the track for *your skills*. Schau mer mal. Hau rei Mister un lass es krachn… nimm den KJ, tig jr, amoal wieder mit!!! ;p) Grüezi

  • Carina Seng

    Toller Blogeintrag! :) Es ist echt ein Wahnsinn, was ihr da alle immer auf der Piste leistet! Respekt!

  • Nicoletta

    Like your beautiful description of the Lauberhorn area!
    Wengen means also something very special to me! Even if I follow the races from TV, it is always a kind of “being there feeling”!
    Enjoy the trainings & good luck for the races!!

  • karl_swiss

    Very well written Axel giving the reader a real feeling of the difficulty of this course. Definitely a favourite of mine.

  • Marie

    Wengen has a pull on the emotions which I always find hard to describe to anyone who’s never skied the place, so it was nice to read your insight to what will always be one of my favourite places to ski-even if the cloud hanging over Mannlichen annoy me sometimes and the flat blue roads down to Grund and back to Wengen bug the life out of me if you get some moving chiccanes in the way, the Lauberhorn has a hold on me that will always make it worthwhile!

    Lykke til lørdag, håper jeg du vinner det med stil!

  • Cjay

    Aksel, your description really brought the piste at Wengen to life. Thank you for your insight and taking the time to write such a thoughtful description of the course.

  • Martina

    Nice and interesting to hear something about the atmosphere in Adelbode and a description of the Lauberhorn from an athlete (who isn’t Swiss). And our Swiss guys will come back. Now the Swiss see as well the good results of the girls. :)

  • Gill Gledhill

    Hi Aksel, great to have your insight into the course and the race. I skied in Wengen this Christmas and loved the long runs down from the Lauberhorn. (I even tried a slalom for the first time, felt very fast, but looked so slow on the replay…) Having experienced the mountain first hand, the race will really come alive and I’ll be cheering from a sofa in London but wishing I could join the Swiss fans in the Jungfrau. You are a superb athlete, all power to you this weekend. Gill

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