The Junior Race has been held on the Ganslernhang since 2001 and primes the route, if it were, for the Slalom pros to compete a few days later. What is so special: the athletes compete in national teams – and even if someone messes up their run, the team still has a chance of winning as the weakest rating is deleted from the scoreboard. The race is divided into two runs: the Giant Slalom can be seen tomorrow (Wednesday), 20th January at 10:00 hrs, after which the racers have to battle their way through a forest of gates in the Slalom (13:15 hrs).
Some former junior racers can now be found amongst the ranks of the best world cup athletes of today. Marcel Hirscher (2003, 2004), Dominik Paris (2004), Beat Feuz (2002) and Fritz Dopfer (2001) raced down the Ganslernhang as youngsters, as well as Tina Weirather, Anna Fenninger and Kathrin Zettel. Even some of the forerunners of the Junior Race are well-known: Ivica Kostelic started ahead of the youngster in 2013, which of course provided them with a huge incentive to come close to the time set by the Croatian.
It will be interesting to see which of these Junior Racers emerge in the World Cup scene a few years down the line. The opportunity to get familiar with some of the faces is presented this evening at the official opening ceremony of the Hahnenkamm Races (18:30 hrs) at the Legends park, where the ceremonial marching in of the Junior-Teams is an integral part of the programme.