Luis on Tour: Oberstdorf (Part II)
The second edition of the column "Luis on Tour" continues at Oberstdorf, this time with a visit to the ski jumps at Schattenberg.
Luis on tour: A ski jumping hill fan on the roadBy Ski Jumping Hill Archive author and photographer Luis Holuch
Oberstdorf (Part II): Erdinger Arena(HS 137, HS 106, HS 60, HS 30, HS 20)
The visit of Erdinger-Arena, which we planned for the first day, has been postponed to the second day.The route to Erdinger-Arena is not very spectacular and strays in most parts right through the village. Shortly before you drive up the Schattenberg, on which the hills are located, you pass the Nebelhornbahn, which has got its lower terminus only one kilometre next to the train station. The street, called Am Faltenbach, which is the address of the Erdinger-Arena, strays directly parallel to the cabin car, so we have a very nice view on it.
As we arrive, we recognize with wonder, the Nebelbahn strays above the stadium and that already 30 other persons are waiting for the opening. Like in winter, the Erdinger-Arena opens at 10 a.m. We are very punctual, at 9.50 a.m. and hit the bull’s eye! The training schedule for the last week in August hangs on the fence in front of the stadium. It shows, the jumpers of the Austrian team, who do not participate at the competitions of the summer grand-prix, train on the large hill and that as early as half an hour. We buy a family-card for 12 Euros. Fortunately we have the “Allgäu-Walser-Card”. For buying a family-card, you need two adults with two own children or grandchildren. The price includes access for the stadium, roller coaster side, use of the elevator in the hill tower up to the panorama-platform and the access to the ski museum. And it is really enough for the whole day, on which the card is valid. Everybody gets a sticker on his t-shirt, on which the age statement is given.
Since there is some time, before it is 10 a.m., we decide to walk trough the ski museum. A lot of old ski models are presented here, some are over a hundred years old. In addition to that, a miniature-model of the HS 137, in the scale of 1:50, which was built within only one year. The museum also pays tribute to the winners of the Nordic Ski-world-championships 2005. For that purpose, a film of the “Bayerischer Rundfunk” is shown on a video screen. There is also a small balcony, on which the view on the whole stadium is perfect! We also see the smaller hills HS 60, HS 30 and HS 20, which are at the edge of the stadium. You can also see the landings of the jumpers, which jump on the large hill.
But now, it is already 10.05 a.m.. So we walk on the way, which strays around the outrun. All well-known jumpers, which won the competition of the 4-hills-tournament, are presented on the “Walk of fame”. Some posters point to the next competition on the 29th of December 2011. After we passed the area with poor visibility, we stop at the “Erdinger Sportalp” and watch the jumps of the cracks. A fairly large jumper with a pink helmet and a blue jump suite jumps about 125m, but he is not very satisfied. As he did not undress his suite, the next jumper comes down the hill. He wears a brown-green jump suite and an orange helmet. However, he does his job better than the first jumper and jumps 130 metres with a nice Telemark. As he breaks hard, the other jumper has took his helmet of and I recognize his hairstyle, which is a ponytail. He has got a short designer stubble at his chin. It’s Martin Koch! The one and only, Martin Koch, who won two World Cups last year. He won one of the two competitions last year in Harrachov on the K185. Like his colleague, Stefan Thurnbichler, he does not have one milligram of fat on his body. - “They are the same weight category like me”, I just thought. I am 16 years old, with a height of 1, 88 Metres and a weight of 65 kilograms. If I didn’t live in Bielefeld, I would be a ski jumper.
On the way to the lift, we let them go first and look around the steel stands. As we arrive at the lift, the Austrians sit on a bank and watch their jumps on a video camera. Instead of analyzing their jumps, they took the lift with us. There are also five seats, which the jumpers claim for their selves. I stand at the back of the lift, for looking down the hill. Stefan Thurnbichler sits beside me. My father, Michael, is curious and asks him: “How many jumps, do you guys make in the two hours?” - “Six jumps” Thurnbichler answers. As I ask myself, how they manage this kind of running through the stadium”, my father says: “Did you hear that? They are only 3-4 seconds in the air and about 3 seconds in the inrun. And for that, they need ten minutes for getting up the hill! Unbelievable.” I answer not really seriously: “Well, that’s life. It is not possible, to make it faster. And jets don’t make sense on this small distance.” - “That’s true. But in contrast to Klopfer, Brutscher and Weiler, they don’t have to walk!”
Meanwhile, we arrived at the upper terminus. It is only a short walk to the elevator and after two minutes, we are on the panorama-platform. You can watch the stream on the website (www.erdinger-arena.de). From this place, you have the fascinating view on the whole stadium and also on the village of Oberstdorf. And even the ski flying hill and the Söllereck can be seen from here, but only, if the sun is shining. If you turn the head about 180 degrees, you see all 50 starting gates. The Austrians start at gate 22.
All jumpers did already their jumps and walk one, last, time to the lift. We take the elevator down and walk to the coaches’ tower. Next to that, there is an over-dimensional model of the red tourism-sign Oberstorf, Allgäu. The jumpers are already at the elevator, so we go upstairs the tower for watching. Florian Liegl, ex-jumper and camera-jumper for the ORF and now co-coach of the Austrians, stands on it with sunglasses and a video camera in his hand. He does not have a flag, but that is not necessary, because there is no wind.
We are watching the six jumpers. At the end of the group, Wolfgang Loitzl, winner of the four-hills-tournament 2009/2010, makes his jump. But he is not very successful and cannot reach the K-Point. From here, you see really, how beautiful the HS 137 is. If I don’t know that the hill was built 2002, I would say, it was built in 2008. So the title of the flyer “One of the most beautiful hills in the world” is brilliant.
We decide to visit shortly the normal hill, which is renovated. But you can see how the hill will look like in the next winter. But we can not go nearer to it, because the workers have to work concentrate. The work, they made, can be judged today with the predicate: “world-class”.
The photos for the family-album and our beautiful website are already made, so that we walk to the lift. It drives very fast down the hill and we meet the Austrians a last time. They drive with a work-car back to their hotel for lunch. They have a second training session in the afternoon between 15.30 and 17.30 p.m. At that time, were at the luge run at the Söllereck. So the first part of our hill-travel ends at the second day in Oberstdorf.
But, don’t worry! In the next time, my column will go on. After all our holidays went on two more weeks and we have visited more hills.
The next part of my column deals with the Olympic Hills of Garmisch-Partenkirchen!
See you and have fun on our website!
Ski Jumps:Oberstdorf (Skisprung Arena)