Record holder Franz Klammer
Mr. Klammer always liked skiing on the Saslong course. “It’s where I captured my first World Cup points and I particularly liked “Ciaslat”. Furthermore, it is here and in Kitzbühel were I scored most victories, 4 to be precise” says the Carinthian-born Olympia winner.
“I remember my first race well. It was right after the 1972 Sapporo Olympics. Then I was 19 years old and skies were still built out of metal. The best downhillers were Roland Collombin, Bernhard Russi, Karl Kordin, David Zwilling and Heini Messner. They were the measure of success. It was 1973 that I got my first World Cup points with a fifth place. But I had to qualify for the race first.
Mr. Klammer, born 1953, is married and has two daughters. He works in PR for several companies around the world after he had to declare bankruptcy when his clothing company business did not pan out as planned. “I live off my name and thus travel about six months per year. I get engagements as a ski-guide from large companies and also appear in commercials” says the former ski racer.
His first victory on the Saslong dates back to March 1975, immediately before the historic World Cup Final on the Ronc slope in St.Ulrich. Two downhill victories followed in 1976 up and his last victory on the Saslong course was in 1982. He was the only racer who won three times in a row on the World Championship course of 1970.
“I fondly remember my victory in 1975. It was my third in a row after Val d’Isère and St. Moritz. I felt great and was very motivated when I came to Val Gardena-Gröden because Saslong was one of the classic runs in the World Cup.
Klammer outwits Müller
Two downhill races took place in 1982. “I was chatting to my Masseur on the lift up to the start on the day of the race jokingly saying that I had had a tough night of partying with hardly any sleep. Well, unbeknownst to us and eavesdropping into our conversation was Swiss-born Peter Müller, one of the favorites to win the race. I went on to win and he approached me afterwards insulting me for telling such a lie. It wasn’t true. I responded that it wasn’t my fault that he is so gullible.”
The Camel Humps – my nightmare
Mr. Klammer enjoys the Saslong: “From the Start to the Looping it is your best bet to prepare early for your turn and gain the speed necessary to pull you through the flat section. The Looping was a tough spot that threw you off the skies and into the air. And there is where I got caught one time. It first spun me around and then I came to a fall, the one and only time on the Saslong.
The jump at the Sochers Wall was not to be underestimated but it was Camel Humps who did not agree with me at all. I never jumped over them – too afraid – and once during a qualification run I bit my tongue so hard it bled. I placed fifth the next day.
I liked icy conditions the best. Bumpy, rough and uneven is when I felt the best. My thing was the corrugated Ciaslat section where you had to show stability to resist the spinning around.
My strength on the Saslong was the ability to pick up speed everywhere.
We were always hosted by Peter at the Hotel Wolkenstein. The atmosphere was legendary. And nightlife wasn’t a problem as long as you performed. There was nothing Charlie Kahr could do if you brought home the medals.