Obviously, it takes courage to begin with, but basically, the Lauberhorn run is open to any skier. «If you’ve done it, it changes who you are», says the man who has been keeping it in excellent condition for 32 years.
There is bantering at the starting gate
The wild ride begins… The timer beeps, the camera clicks, nobody wants to be embarrassed, although the adrenaline is pumping. Standing here, at the start of the mother of all downhills, the longest of the world cup, the legendary race track, this alone is so phenomenal that it’s alright to feel your heart in your throat.
20 minutes for eternity
Skiing from the peak all the way to the village – where else can you get this? The professionals take less than 3 minutes for the distance of 4480 meters. Outside of a race, good skiers need 20 minutes or more. «They actually ski some sort of a giant slalom on a defused route», Fritz Brawand says in their defense. He must know. He has been grooming the slopes of the Jungfrau region for the past 32 years.
«They actually ski some sort of a giant slalom on a defused route»
Art on the mountain
Brawand is one of those people that are unflappable. Not even the Lauberhorn race ruffles him. Ten days before the contest, the route is closed. Brawand’s crew and the officials of the organization committee work around the clock to perfectly prepare the Russi Jump, the Silberhorn Jump and the Hundschopf. «Anybody involved in building this does it with respect – and with pride», says Brawand. After all, a multi-million audience is watching the spectacle on television. And quite a few would like to shoot down the legendary race course once in their life, in view of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
«Anybody involved in building this does it with respect – and with pride»
Exploring the myth of the Lauberhorn
Well, they can – alone or with a ski instructor. The Lauberhorn is included in the ski pass, with a souvenir photo from the starting gate. It does take quite a bit of courage, fitness and technique, even on the defused route, especially on the steep part and in the tight bottleneck. «But at the finish line, you can tell that something happened to the skiers along the way», says Fritz Brawand. «Most are moved by this experience.» And that’s when Brawand knows that his crew did everything right.