Audi FIS Ski World Cup

Physics of racing: Kitzbühel, Streif

Kitzbühel´s Streif has been the venue for the iconic Hahnenkamm race since 1937. Mausefalle, Steilhang and Hausbergkante – the mention of these parts of the course causes cold sweat in many skiers. Former ski racer Daron Rahlves (USA) explains in a video which physical forces the athletes are exposed to during their daredevil ride down the Streif.
Daron Rahlves is a former Streif winner himself. 

He triumphed on the challenging slope in 2003. During his racing career between 1994 and 2006, he took 12 victories in the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup and became World Super-G Champion in 2001.


The American is the perfect man to reveal Streif’s secrets. From the extremely steep start slope down to the valley, the skiers have to overcome 860 vertical metres and more than 3.3 km of distance. 35,000 spectators cheer for the matadors on skis during their reckless ride down the hill.

The first key part of the run is “Mausefalle”. An 85% decline and 60- to 80-metre jumps expect the downhillers. “If you don’t absorb this jump, you will explode on the bottom of the Mausefalle,” Daron Rahlves describes the challenge. “The steep fall line pushes your speed up to 130 kph, heading straight into the compression.” If the riders survive this obstacle, they will face the next test: the “Steilhang”.

After Mausefalle, Steilhang (“Steep Slope”) with its 85% decline is the second extremely steep part of the Streif run. It demands total commitment, focus and sensitiveness. At high speed, the most challenging right turn of the run follows right after. This steeply sloping turn pushes the riders very close to the safety net. But Streif is still not over yet: the infamous Hausbergkante looms as the next obstacle.

With Mausefalle and Steilhang in the system, riders have to cope with the extremely demanding final part of the run. At Hausbergkante (“Hausberg ridge”), the perfect in-run is key. The ideal point for the jump sits only a few centimetres from the inner gate. Coming up next are the rough bumps of the Traverse, which leads into Zielsprung (“final jump”) and Zielschuss (“final schuss”) before the heroes cross the finish line with 140 kph.


Daron Rahlves (USA)
 * June 12, 1973, Walnut Creek, California, U.S.A.
 FIS Alpine World Cup career: 1994 to 2006
 FIS Alpine Wolrd Cup victorues: 12
 Best result at Wolrd Championships: Gold in Super-G in 2001, St. Anton, Austria
 Participations in Olympic Winter Games: 4
 Location: Kitzbühel, Tirol (AUT)
 Mountain: Hahnenkamm (1665 m)
 Vertical Drop: 860 m
 Distance: 3,312 m
 Steepest Decline: 85 %
 Decline at Start Slope: 50 %
 Most successful Participant: Didier Cuche (SUI), 5 wins
 Course Record: 1:51,58 Min. (Frits Strobl, AUT, 1997) 
 Average Speed at Course Record: 107 kph
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