Luis on Ski Jumping Hill Tournament: Bischofshofen
Our columnist Luis Holuch is on his Ski Jumping Hill Tournament again and this time visits the Paul-Ausserleitner-Schanze in Bischofshofen, where the final stage of Four Hills Tournament takes place every year on Epiphany day.
Luis on Ski Jumping Hill TournamentBy Ski Jumping Hill Archive author and photographer Luis Holuch
In the third episode of the second season of our column „Luis on Ski Jumping Hill Tournament“, our columnist Luis Holuch visits the ski jumping hills of Bischofshofen at Salzburger Land, Austria. This is the last missing in hill in course of his personal Four Hills-Tournament. Have fun with reading and feel free to like, share and comment!
Bischofshofen: Sepp Bradl-Skistadion (K125, K65, K20)
Although the border to Austria is only three serpentine away for us , this is the first trip to our neighboring country this holiday. With astonishment, we notice that the way to the Austrian A10 is shorter than the German A8 (basically the same highway), on which we have found your way here. Away a good 30 miles from Salzburg - - it's about the town of Hallein on this highway. From here it is again about 40 kilometers to Bischofshofen, a junction of two highways in different directions.
In addition, the site is kind of the door to the Dachstein region that covers the provinces of Salzburg and Styria and also for the ski region " Ski amadé ", which includes well-known ski resorts, such as Katschberg, Planai-Hochwurzen (hosted the Alpine World Ski Championships 2013), the Dachstein glacier and Flachau. In the summer, the region is almost a little extinct because there are not as many opportunities for active holiday there than in winter. Especially in Bischofshofen there is not much to see except from the ski stadium and for a few small museums, such as a wine museum.
But this facility towers over the town, that is already visible from the highway. We leave the highway at the exit oft he village and try to catch the right direction. Neither jump or stadium are signed anywhere. At an inconspicuous alley that branches off from the main through-road, we see a green-white sign for the large ski jump, so we follow it. Logically, the road is going a little uphill and then into the woods. We pass a loudly river and then reach the parking area.
Beside us, there are a few other visitors here: two cars from Germany and Austria and three with Croatian license plate. The weather is not necessarily suited to see jumps. It is cloudy, the night before there was a small thunderstorm. And it's not particularly warm, so you have to think some time if you walk around in a T- shirt.
As always with camera in the luggage we start to walk; first to the outlet to get an overview of the whole area. It is - admittedly - not as big as it seems on TV. People need to stand very crowded in the stands which are not very comfortable. Besides the last competition oft he four hills tournament and the COCs, which are regularly held here, the Paul-Ausserleitner-hill seems to have no exceptional status. This can be seen also that one can visit the site for free, as unlike in Garmisch -Partenkirchen , Erdinger-Arena in Oberstdorf and the Bergisel in Innsbruck.
Except from an elderly couple, a young family and a runner, there seem to be no more visitors here. We decide to walk around the outrun oft he large hill and then to climb up the small path between large and youth hill. Passing the huge number of TV boxes, we slowly climb up the stands. Then, also the main building appears.
We take the direct route up to that path and pass through a small monument in honor of Sepp Bradl. He had a difficult career at all. It started shortly before World War II. Firstly starting for the country of Austria, Bradl was a pioneer of ski jumping. He will always be in the memories of the ski jumping universe, because he was the first guy who jumped more than 100 metres on skis. His jump on the 26th of March 1936 on 101.5m will stay in our minds forever. Then in 1939, "Buwi" became world champion in Zakopane. During the war, his career was interrupted. 1940 and 1941, he became German champion and then, there was a long break. In 1953, he had another big moment. Bradl became the first overall winner of the ski jumping hill tournament and wrote histroy with that. His career ended in 1958. Josef Bradl died on 2nd of March 1982 in Innsbruck.
Since the rebuilding in 1991, the stadium has his name. The hill has got his name from Paul Außerleitner, a former Austrian ski jumper. He had a fall in January 1952 on the hill and died some days later caused by his injuries. To his honour, there is a memorial plate at the take-off. We have reached it by crossing the mentioned path. The slope is very similar to one of a ski flying hill, just a minor size. Since I started watching ski jumping, I am wondering why my favourite flyer Robert Kranjec did not won here. This hill actually seems to be build for him. The inrun ist he longest of the whole world cup (except from flying hills, of course) and has the lowest flat-angle, so he needs to win, normally…
The thing which looks harmless from distance is actually massive: the take-off which means the end of the inrun. A huge blue „B“ and „Bischofshofen“ in blue letters are painted on the cement. This is a similarity to the huge judges‘- and TV-tower which stands right tot he Laideregg-Schanze (the youth jump). It is very good inspectable by walking the path we walked on. It is a metal construction including an aluminium inrun slope and plastic mattings. This is very similar to the K20 which was build into the woods. But this small hill is almost natural – except from the take-off.
But that is really very human, in contrast to the cement block , that we semi-circle and then once climb the steps that lead directly along the start. Six and a half metres on stairs can take damn long. But the real legwork is indeed yet to come. The path runs uphill for quite a long time and is also slippery, because the moss is damp on the stone stairs. Halfway up, we reached the path that also the jumpers use from the mountain station of the lift to get to the start gates. 5 minutes later we are finally up. The tower is locked so we jump on the metal grid , to arrive at the gates.
We do not see much from the stadium: just the last part oft he inrun, the commentator boxes and behind that the Salzburger countryside. It is not dizzying, because the proximity to the ground is given. From the fiery, raging atmosphere which is known from the 4HT competitions, you can feel here quite nothing. The hill is more or less „sleeping“ and does not hurt anyone. It is impressive but not intimidating for a ski jump columnists.
For me, it is nevertheless a special visit because I am in another state of Austria, it is an entirely different hill that I hve seen and now I have visited all the 4HT ski jumping hills. I liked the Great Schattenbergschanze in Oberstdorf the best. The hill here is on 3rd place behind the Bergisel and ahead of the Olympic hill in Partenkirchen.
After the obligatory photos are taken down from the inrun start, it goes back down. We go back the same way again and again turn our attention to the powerful begin of the landing zone to itself. Since the table is 6.5 meters high but damn, it seems to be not very diffcult to jump over here - if there is no snow storm.
For training purposes, the Laideregg ski jump is mainly used. For seniors (15/16) the jump in Ramsau is more interesting and useful because the Paul Ausserleitner jump is really a thing for itself. Ramsau is a good poin : therefor we leave after we are back safe and sound. It starts to rain lightly and we hurry up so that we get into our car.
Hurry up is a good point: I will do so, too now and try to finish the next episode Ramsau am Dachstein more quickly. Thanks for being patient and see you guys soon!
Ski Jumps:Bischofshofen (Sepp Bradl-Skistadion)