The start signal has been fired for the para-slaloms at Hahnenkamm
Before the Para Alpine Ski World Cup slaloms on the Ganslern Slope get serious on Monday and Tuesday (10 and 13 hrs respectively), the focus remained on socialising on Sunday. Kitzbühel Ski Club invited everyone to lunch in the Starthaus on the Hahnenkamm.
A convivial get-together high above the Ganslern Slope marked the start of the two Para Alpine Ski World Cup slaloms on Monday and Tuesday. Kitzbühel Ski Club invited the 51 athletes and their coaches to lunch in the Starthaus on the Hahnenkamm. The prestige of this sports venue for passionate skiers was reflected in the number of photos taken. Particularly popular: pictures and selfies with the Mausefalle in the background (although fog occasionally clouded the otherwise impressive view).
Para athletes from 18 nations are rising to the challenges presented by the Ganslern Slope in two slaloms. Athletes from as far-flung nations as Chile, Australia and New Zealand have travelled to the event. Dimitrije Lazarovski, Para Snow Sports Director/Development Manager at FIS, was both delighted, grateful and optimistic in the Starthaus: "Big thanks go to the Ski Club for facilitating these races here and the pleasant get-together on the Hahnenkamm. It's a pleasure to be here and we really hope we get to come back next season and maybe even expand the competitions." Dimitrije Lazarovski would find speed events in Kitzbühel just as appealing as slalom and giant slalom. Gerald Daringer, President of the Tyrolean Disabled Sports Association, shared his enthusiasm: “I would like to thank Kitzbühel Ski Club and everyone who helps organise this para-ski event. This is what our sport needs: passion!" Michael Huber, president of the Ski Club and head of the Organising Committee was confident that the weather would also play along at the beginning of the week and said: "We are very proud to be able to host these two races."
Things get underway on Monday with the 1st slalom run at 10 hrs. Those interested in seeing a local heroine (with free entry) should come to the Ganslern a few minutes earlier: KSC member and Paralympics participant Eva Jöchl is one of the forerunners.
The blind or visually impaired female athletes will then start their races. They compete together with a guide, who skis in front while issuing verbal instructions. This is followed by the “standing” category - athletes with amputations or functional limitations to their arms or legs. The "sitting" category is next, in which athletes who use a wheelchair in everyday life compete. When all the ladies have crossed the finish line, the men's races start - in the same order as the women. In each of the three categories, the performances of all athletes are adjusted by means of an impairment classification system and factored times. These categories and clock adjustments combine to create a more even playing field for competitors of varying levels of disability.
The second run will follow at 13 hrs and Tuesday’s races will also start at 10 and 13 hrs respectively. The prize giving ceremony will take place at 14.30 hrs on both days. Food and drinks will be available at the Red Bull Zielhaus. "May the best athlete win," says FIS Director Dimitrije Lazarovski.
For those who can't make it to the Ganslern Slope, but still want to see the para-ski elite in action: both races will be broadcast live at https://hahnenkamm.com/paraski/ and on ORF Sport+.