NO ONE GETS PAST MANFRED AND HIS TEAM
Manfred Berger and his team have been responsible for access control on the mountain at the Hahnenkamm Races for the past 16 years. Checks are always stringent and correct, regardless of whether fans are in attendance or not.
Manfred Berger has lost count of the many novel excuses he has heard during the last 15 Hahnenkamm Races. What he does remember, however, are the attempts to bribe him - all in vain, of course. 100 dollars to be allowed to ski a few metres on the Streif, for example: "It is, after all, the most spectacular racecourse in the world and it naturally attracts skiers who would like to ski down it, if only for a few metres," says the man from Carinthia, showing understanding for the fans' requests. So far he has succumbed to neither offers of money, nor charm: "We are on duty on behalf of the Organizing Committee to ensure safety and that no unauthorised persons gain access, that is the only thing that matters," says Manfred Berger.
This year, not only is the course off-limits - as always - but for the first time in the history of the Hahnenkamm Races, no spectators are allowed: "Because no spectators are allowed this year, we have fewer employees in the finish area, but more in the start area and alongside the racecourse," explains the boss and founder of the "Piste Security” company. Several access points are required in the start area to keep people separated in a Covid-friendly manner.
In normal years, Manfred Berger's team consists of 45 people, but this year it is different. "We are not only employed for access security and control, we also make sure that Kitzbühel Ski Club and cable car employees can prepare the slope in peace." And what does the head of "Piste Security” do in summer? "I run my own sailing school in Velden on Lake Wörthersee," he says with a smile.