Schladming night race: a sporting spectacle on TechnoAlpin snow
13 years ago, not everyone was convinced by the idea of a night time World Cup event. Some even predicted that the new event would soon peter out. However, quite the opposite came true and today, Schladming is an event that even enjoys social status. Every year, the event takes place two days after the Kitzbühel racing weekend. This year the slalom racing elite fought it out on January 26 before a crowd of 50,000 fans on the slopes and over 1.5 million viewers watching the race on TV.
The Austrian Reinfried Herbst took the victory this year, repeating his performance of 2009. Switzerland's Silvan Zurbriggen who came third in the first run moved to second position after an excellent second run, thus obtaining the first ever podium position for a Swiss rider in the Schladming night race. Manfred Pranger had taken a 0.59 second lead in the first run but in the end came third. 31-year-old Herbst now ranks among the Olympic favorites and is even on a par with Alberto Tomba who also won the Schladming slalom twice in a row (in 1997 and 1998).
The Planai slopes have long been deemed forward-looking and investment friendly. Ever since Schladming was chosen as the venue for the 2013 FIS Alpine Ski World Championships, much has been invested in innovative new machinery and upgrades. The first 8-seater chair lift was opened in Schladming this winter. The runs were also broadened and the snow-making equipment upgraded.
As far as technical snow-making is concerned, the Planai slopes have been relying on TechnoAlpin for years. In 2009, the following equipment was added to the existing fan guns and lances:
- 7 x Pianos on 4.5m lifts, centralized aeration and filling stations
- 17 x T60s on 4.5m lifts, centralized aeration and filling stations
- 3 x T60s on 3.5m lifts, centralized aeration and filling stations
- 3 x T60 mobiles
Thanks to the increased number of snow guns, a solid base of snow can now be provided far more rapidly on the Planai and Hochwurzen slopes in the autumn. An existing pumping plant was also integrated into the control system.