The worst falls from Kitzbühel

The Hahnenkamm descent is definitely a spectacle, but the dangers lurk everywhere.

Image: Keystone / Youtube

The Hahnenkamm descent is probably the most spectacular race in the ski circuit. But it is also one of the most dangerous routes. An overview of the worst falls on the Streif.

“If you are at the start in Kitzbühel, look down at the cemetery and can shoot down within a minute and 50 seconds – there is no such thing in normal life,” said Peter Müller in a recent interview with the “Tages-Anzeiger”. The Streif is not primarily about victory, but about getting to the finish alive. The right dosage is not only required for the mousetrap, the entire route is dangerous. It is therefore not uncommon for falls to occur – sometimes with a fatal outcome.


1985: Klaus Gattermann

The German Klaus Gattermann loses control when jumping over the Hausbergkante and overturns several times. He has a broken nose and a severe concussion.


1987: Todd Brooker

Canadian Todd Brooker has the goal in mind when the bond breaks. He falls on the way to the finish slope. The 1983 Kitzbühel winner suffered a concussion, a broken nose, facial injuries and a knee injury. It is the last season of his career.


1989: Brian Stemmle

After Brian Stemmle hits the net on the steep slope exit, the Canadian is in mortal danger. He is in the intensive care unit for several days – with a smashed pelvis. He stays in hospital for three months and then has to undergo 18 months of rehabilitation. He later returned to the Streif, but had to end his career after another fall in 1999.


1995: Pietro Vitalini

During training, Pietro Vitalini hits the safety nets with full force and is also thrown. Then he rolls over several times on the slope. Thanks to the thick layer of snow, the Italian remains unharmed and even takes fifth place in the second downhill.


1996: Andreas Schifferer

This year several downhill riders fall during the training. After his fall, Andreas Schifferer was in a coma for three days because of a traumatic brain injury.


1999: Patrick Ortlieb

The 1992 Olympic champion, Patrick Ortlieb, has to end his career after falling on the edge of the local mountain. He injured his hip and knee and broke his right thigh.

Patrick Ortlieb crashes on the Streif in 1999.

Image: Keystone

2005: Thomas Graggaber

Broken ribs and serious injuries to the shoulder and lungs force Thomas Graggaber to end his career.


2008: Scott Macartney

Scott Macartney has no broken bones.

Image: Keystone

Scott Macartney suffers a traumatic brain injury and has to be put into an artificial coma. The Canadian is recovering within three days and can leave the hospital without further injuries. In November of the same year, he made his comeback in Lake Louise.


2009: Daniel Albrecht

A Swiss nightmare: Daniel Albrecht is almost there. When he jumps to the target, he loses control, falls terribly and remains unconscious. Diagnosis: severe traumatic brain injury and crushed lungs. The Swiss wakes up from a coma after more than three and a half weeks and makes a comeback in December 2010. However, he can no longer build on his previous results and resigns in October 2013.


2011: Hans Grugger

Hans Grugger falls so badly after the mousetrap that he suffers serious head and chest injuries, broken ribs and a crushed lung. The emergency operation lasts over five and a half hours.

The Austrian has to end his career because of the health consequences of his serious fall in Kitzbühel.


2016: Aksel Lund Svindal, Hannes Reichelt and Georg Streitberger

There were several moments of shock in 2016: Among others, Aksel Lund Svindal, Hannes Reichelt and Georg Streitberger fell hard. The season is finally over for Svindal and Streitberger. Both suffer cruciate ligament tears. Reichelt gets off relatively lightly with a bruised bone.


2019: Alexander Köll

The Swede Alexander Köll crashes heavily on the descent. He is cared for by helpers on the slopes for a few minutes before being transported to the hospital by helicopter. The all-clear follows a short time later. Kröll does not break his bones in a horror fall.


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