The White Thrill: Legendary ski race in St. Anton am Arlberg
1,300 metres in altitude difference, 150 metre climb and a record time of seven minutes, 40.6 seconds are the forces to be reckoned with: The White Thrill cult race demands everything of its’ participants , yet most are inexorably drawn back every year to compete all over again. 555 international piste addicts will join the line-up this year on the 19th April 2014 to race down the valley to St. Anton am Arlberg – for spectators too, a thrilling sight.
Set a new record or just take part? Individual reasons for competing are diverse; however all 555 participants are aware of one thing: This race is not for everyone. When the top athletes and amateur sportsmen and women take their starting positions on the Valluga Ridge, tension is clearly written across their faces. And with good reason. Because a nine kilometre long downhill run with the most challenging conditions lies ahead of these daring participants, as well as a challenging 150 metre ascent – the “Pain Mountain” – only 30 seconds after the race begins. The starting pistol for this incredible challenge will be fired at 17 hrs. Spectators can follow the heroes of the day on a LED screen in the finish area and join the giant “White Thrill Party” after the prize giving ceremony.
Paul Schwarzacher, member of the Austrian National Ski Team training team has triumphed a record winning nine times. The fastest time of seven minutes and 40.6 seconds, however, was set in 2012 by Florian Holzinger from Germany. Times between 11 and 18 minutes are a good average, but they lose their significance once the race is over. What really counts is crossing the finishing line, amply demonstrated by the many participants who compete in fancy dress and take a leisurely half an hour to complete the course. En route, participants are fierce opponents, yet after crossing the finishing line they fall into each other’s arms, both proud and relieved – maybe already looking forward to coming up against each other again next year.