Beat Feuz in Kitzbühel – a top athlete says goodbye to ski racing

On January 20 to 22 at the 83rd Hahnenkamm event in Kitzbühel, the spotlight will be on one HEAD Worldcup Rebel in particular: Beat Feuz is ending his unique World Cup career after 16 years. The Swiss athlete, winner on the Streif run in both of the past two years, is one of many HEAD athletes who made skiing history on this legendary course.

"Kitzbühel is a very special race. The Mousetrap, Steilhang steep section and the Hausberg Edge jump into the finish, make this a classic for true Downhill racers," says HEAD Racing Director Rainer Salzgeber. Two Downhill races on the Streif are planned this year on January 20 and 21. The race weekend in Kitzbühel will be concluded on January 22 with the Slalom event on the Ganslern run.


Awesome Kitzbühel weekend in 2021

Kitzbühel has seen many highlights for HEAD over the past decades. "I think back to the success of Didier Cuche. Then there was Aksel Lund Svindal's unfortunate accident. He had good chances in the World Cup at that time," Salzgeber recalls. In the past two years, it was Beat Feuz who dominated the action. 2021 was a very special year in this respect. The HEAD Worldcup Rebels won all three races on the Streif run. In a spectacular Downhill race on the Friday, HEAD celebrated a double victory with Beat Feuz and Matthias Mayer. For Feuz it was his first victory in a Hahnenkamm Downhill in his career following four finishes in second place. That result was topped in the second Downhill race on Sunday with triple success by Beat Feuz, Johan Clarey and Matthias Mayer. And then it was Vincent Kriechmayr winning the Super-G on Monday who rounded off an awesome HEAD weekend in Kitzbühel.

Didier Cuche is the king of the Streif run

The king of the Streif goes by the name of Didier Cuche. Beat Feuz's compatriot is the record holder on the Streif run with five victories. Cuche won for the first time in 1998, again in 2008, and then three years in a row from 2010 to 2012. To top it off, the Swiss athlete also won the Super-G in Kitzbühel in 2010. HEAD won more triple victories in the Super-G in 2008 with Marco Büchel, Hermann Maier and Didier Cuche, and in 2018 with Aksel Lund Svindal, Kjetil Jansrud and Matthias Mayer.

"Enjoy my favourite race one more time"

Beat Feuz's successful career comes to an end at the 83rd Hahnenkamm event. The 35-year-old announced his imminent retirement from racing in December. "Pushing limits and taking calculated risks have been my passion in ski racing for years. My gut feeling was often the key to success. Now it's that same feeling that tells me that the physical limits have been reached," explains the ski athlete from Bern. "I am incredibly grateful to have been able to pursue my passion for so long and now look forward to spending more time with my family. Let's see what exciting new challenges will come into my life. But before that, I'm looking forward to enjoying my favourite race one more time." Beat Feuz's track record is impressive: The Swiss skier was Olympic Downhill champion in Beijing in 2022 and World Champion in the Downhill in St. Moritz in 2017. Four times in a row - from 2018 to 2021 - he won the Crystal Globe in the Downhill. 16 World Cup victories, including 13 in the Downhill and three in Super-G, are on his list of successes. In 2021 and 2022, he won the Downhill races on the Streif run a total of three times.

"Hope he finds the fire one more time"

"There were very many moving moments," says Rainer Salzgeber in reflection. "He has won everything and has nothing left to prove. I wish him all the best now that he can enjoy more time with his family. And I hope that he finds the fire one more time, that he races the competitions in Kitzbühel the way he knows how and that he wins once again." In terms of the goals of the HEAD Worldcup Rebels in Kitzbühel Salzgeber says: "Following the retirement of Matthias Mayer we now have one promising candidate fewer at the start. This makes us even keener to go for victory. I hope we get to see exciting, safe and fair races that are not negatively affected by weather conditions."


Gradient of up to 85 percent

The Streif is considered one of the most difficult Downhill runs in the world. The first race on the Streif was held in 1937. The winner was Thaddäus Schwabl from Austria with a time of 3 minutes and 53.1 seconds. The course starts with a gradient of 51 percent towards the Mousetrap, which is the steepest section of the run at a gradient of 85 percent. A decisive key point is also the Carousel right before the entrance to the steep section. The athletes experience centrifugal forces of up to 3.1 g here, while over the jump just before the finish, they reach a maximum speed of around 150 kph. The Slalom on the Ganslern run is another classic because this slope also hosted a race for the first time in 1937.