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World Cup Race Courses, steepness

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I assume an "average grade" rating for a World Cup course refers to its steepness. If this is the case, I'm surprised to learn the Park City GS course (MEN) is steeper, on average, than the Kitzbuhel DH course.

length: 1433 mt.
vert. drop: 413 mt.
average grade: 29%

length: 3312 mt.
vert. drop: 863 mt.
average grade 28%

I assume the lengthier flat(s) at Kitzbuhel explains the deceptive average steepness. Because there are couple high-speed drops that look pretty darn near straight down.
www.snowtime.com has access to "animated" maps of all World Cup courses.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by ryan (edited July 16, 2001).]</FONT>
post #2 of 16
Cool info & link. It makes sense to me that a GS hill would reflect a steeper average slope than a downhill, since DH's are generally more fall-line oriented, longer and usually include gliding sections.

I have some vague memories related to race hills from my limited coaching background.

All race hills must be 'homologated' before sanctioned races can be held on them. I assume a team or person from whatever governing body must visit the hill and measure it in various ways. The stats must fall within certain (discipline s/gs/sg/dh)guidelines for a run to be homologated. For ex: Runs must fall within a certain # of feet or meters of drop over certain distances to qualify. There are other stats, but I don't know what they are.

I do remember our downhill course at Mission Ridge was 'closed' after speeds recorded during a race exceeded the safety of the run.
There were prescribed safety measures/improvements that had to be in place before it could be used as a downhuill again.
I don't know if the standards are internationally universal or if USSA, FIS, etc. standards are different.
post #3 of 16
Yes, it does make sense. Remember that at Kitzbuhel there's a long flat after the first thirty seconds (several thousand feet in length) that you usually don't see on TV.
It's probably more revealing to look at the pitch of individual sections of a course--the first few turns at Kitzbuhel and Birds of Prey look very steep.
post #4 of 16
Hmm, interesting, a mere 16 degrees on average. I would have assumed a WC race hill was steeper than that, but then again all my inclinometer measurements have been only for short portions, not an entire course.
post #5 of 16
Kitzbuhel's "Streif" is one of the "grandfathered" few non-compliant (with fis criteria) "classics" in the white circus.
It does not meet the standard primarily on it's width. The Hahnenkamm DH maximum slope is 85%, the minimum is 2%. The mausfalle, steilhang and hausberg have notoriety because of their narrow, double falline and unrelenting pitch to hard exit carves. The bruckenschuss and gschossweise are two long glides (some on catwalk, and as noted off camera) that eat some linear feet.
The Lauberhorn in Wengen (the world's longest WC DH), Garmisch and I believe Val Gardena also don't comply and are grandfathered.
I have skied training slaloms at Kitz years ago, and watched in January the DH...even slipped/skied part of the course. I have raced numerous DH's in NA and a few fis in europe....slipping the Streif is one of the most scary, awe-inspiring things I have lived to see.
post #6 of 16
Tell us a little more about skiing the Streif. And the Kitz slalom. What was it like? The only WC course I've ever been on during a race was the Aspen DH, with lots of soft, fresh snow (it snowed a lot before and during the race). I'm sure there's little similarity.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
I, too, would love to read more about it. If you're so inclined. Little details, too. Thanks.
post #8 of 16
Me too!
post #9 of 16
Not a lot to tell. I was in europe with coaches and 3 other canadian kids racing/watching/training. Got to see Roland Columbin win in 1974, Gustav Thoeni won the SL. Started some training sessions on the SL hill ganderslang??(sp?), but ended up high across the way on the Horn where the snow was harder. Got to ski with some heros of mine on the team.
Slipping and "scoping" the strief just before the training starts began was a kick...it is far longer, far steeper and far harder than it appears on tv. The right hand to the catwalk coming out of the Stelhang is way off camber and tight, it has since been widened and slowed down with better fencing than when Brian Stemmle tried to tear himself in half years ago. When I was there it hadn't been changed. Even then the guys where doing a kind of high speed white pass on the inside ski, hoping to settle to the outside, track (really, actively sliding their turning foot forward) hoping to glide as soon as possible. Trying to slip this, I remember, I kept slipping latterally and could barely track...at like 15 miles per!
I did drop a half tuck on the great traverse out of the Hausberg area, the Ouoerfahrt(?) real sketchy stuff even if your not exhausted. Maier crashed there a few ago. The setup for the press jump into the zeal shuss is cool to watch...a real trick right that tend to rut out...it is where Todd Brooker ended his career.
Oh yeah...there was the Old snow alten shneisse area above the hausberg where they made a coupla sweepers, and I actually made some tentitive turns there. Now, from what I understand the speeds coming into there from the glide have sped up so much in recent years, they have added or rounded the turns alot. The one place I wanted to but didn't get was the start haus...which is like a shrine...and a place more than one has stained the suit.
So that is it...I later (two yrs) got to start two Euro's (slalom), both half run wonders, but I will always remember the stay in Kitz.
Later on I again ran Whistler, L. Louise and some others, in '88 coaching in Panorama I ran the DH, SG there, but none of that scared me like slipping the rooster comb....could be the age I was, or the myth or the aura, or the fact that I couldn' open my eyes.

Boring huh...that's what my 6 year old says too!
post #10 of 16
Oh yeah, like I said, I never got to the start haus, or any where near the Mausfalle, they wouldn't give us access...but I talked to one of the coaches with us who did, and he didn't ski it I don't think. It is apparently a cliff with frozen water on it.
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks. Good stuff.
post #12 of 16
Cool story! I think I first skied the Streif/Hahnenkamm at Kitzbuhel as an 8-year-old back in the mid-1960's in lace boots and cable bindings. I think my time was 2 hours and something. I haven't gotten much faster.
post #13 of 16
Thanks for recounting your experiences.
<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Lostboy (edited July 19, 2001).]</FONT>
post #14 of 16
Thanks, Robin. Glad to know it's nothing less than everything I've heard.
Sorry about your DNFs (I guess you're over them by now).
post #15 of 16
post #16 of 16
Great post(s) Robin.
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