Alois Engl, chairman of the Kirchberg Skiing Club, Mayor Helmut Berger and TVB chairman Paul Steindl together initiated the project "FIS Ski Worldcup Kirchberg*". The long-term aim is for the Kichberg Skiing Club to become a regular host of alpine ski worldcup races in the disciplines of giant slalom and/or (parallel) slalom. The races are to be held as night races on the Sportberg Gaisberg.
On 20 June 2013 as part of the ÖSV states' conference, the Kirchberg Skiing Club officially applied to host FIS World Cup races. This application was unanimously supported by the local council of Kirchberg as well as the board of TVB Kirchberg.
The race course Gaisberg
Hosting the Europa Cup races allowed us to gain valuable experience as an organiser of international races in recent years. But the great potential that Kirchberg and the Gaisberg have for World Cup races was also recognised:
-The course on the Gaisberg offers everyting a World Cup course should offer: gliding sections, steep sections, transitions and crests. It is considered one of the most difficult courses of the Europa Cup and is more than just world cup suitable. The routing has the potential to become a classic like the Gran Risa in Alta Badia or the Chuenisbärgli in Adelboden. The lift runs directly from the finish to the start, thus facilitating transport and logistics and ensuring expeditious progress of the race. It's not for nothing that the Gaisberg has been a coveted practice slope for the world cup teams from USA, Canada, Norway or Germany for many years.
-The racers, TV, audience and the FIS as well as the ÖSV (Austrian Skiing Association) as the organiser favour night races. Night races attract on average 68 % more spectators than day races and TV ratings are 33 % higher on average.
-The existing floodlights need to be upgraded to provide lighting suitable for TV and will then offer spectacular scenery along the entire length of a giant slalom race. This would allows us to establish ourselves as the only regular host of FIS World Cup Night RTL-races.
-Because of the length and variety of the course, women's as well as men's races could be held. In addition, races in the disciplines of giant slalom, slalom, parallel slalom and the increasingly more popular team event could also be held.
-The Gaisberg offers spectators who are on site live racing from start to finish along the entire race course. This would be unique as with other races the spectator area is often interrupted by forest and/or rocks thus not allowing continuous spectator access.
-The finish area by the Gaisberg provides unobstructed views for the audience at the finish and on the stands along 50 % of the giant slalom course (equal to 35 seconds of racing) and along 100 % of the slalom course.
-Right in the finish area, a natural hillside next to the stands allows thousands of spectators unobstructed views of the course, the AUDI Videowall on which the races are broadcast live and the finish area. This natural arena, combined with the stands, is sure to provide a goosebump atmosphere with corresponding spectator influx.
-With a possible counter slope camera below the Maierl lower terminus of the lift, spectacular shots of the entire course could be captured, perfectly suited to the popular analyses by TV commentators.
-The exposed location of the race course and ski lift Gaisberg, detached from the rest of the ski area, allows public skiing to remain virtually unaffected by the event. Regular daily tourist skiing can thus proceed unhindered during the race in the entire ski area.
-In case of a (possible) awarding of the race during the Hahnenkamm Week in Kitzbühel (e.g. Tuesday, Wednesday evening) there would be numerous synergistic effects that could be benefited from.
Kirchberg in Tirol
-With its location and easy accessibility, the existing hotel business, the infrastructure and the local conditions, Kirchberg meets all the requirements by the FIS and the ÖSV. The press center, race office and the teamster meetings can all be housed in the school building. This would allow the entire organization to be compactly housed just a few minutes walk from the finish area.
The hotel industry with more than 22,000 beds within 10 km makes many world cup hosts green with envy. Parking is abundant in and around Kirchberg, mainly thanks to the proximity of the large parking lots of the many cable car operations. The railway station in Kirchberg also allows the majority of spectators to arrive in special trains provided by the ÖBB.
-An elaborate traffic and transport concept channels the influx of spectators from the parking lots and railway station to and from the finish area by the Gaisberg.
-An environmental and disposal concept allows for the least possible strain on the environment. The floodlight concept is also considerate of the fauna on the Gaisberg and will only be implemented following official inspection by the relevant authorities.
-According to analyses by other World Cup hosts, 36 % of guests come for the sole purpose of watching the world cup race.
-By regularly hosting FIS World Cup ski races, Kirchberg would consolidate and expand its image as a winter sports resort. Kirchberg would become even better known in the strong Ski World Cup countries of Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Sweden as a winter sports resort.
-The advertising value and detour profitability can be seen in multiples of the investment value. All hosts of FIS World Cup races stress the lasting and exclusively positive effects on the region.
Kirchberg has been successfully hosting international FIS races since 1976, and also Europa Cup races since 2010 in which future stars of the Ski World Cup compete against each other. Recent years have seen big names such as Hannes Reichelt (AUT), Alexis Pinturault (FRA), Kjetil Jansrud (NOR), Jens Byggmark (SWE), Thomas Fanara (FRA and Marc Berthod (SUI) start at the Europa Cup races in Kirchberg. names which today dominate the Ski World Cup. In the 1980s, there were FIS World Cup races in Kirchberg on no less than three occasions. The winners back then included the great Ingemar Stenmark twice (82, 84) and the unforgettable Rudi Nierlich once (89).
The FIS race calendar for the next three years is already set. For this reason, and in order to make use of any opportunity that arises, Kirchberg has declared itself ready to be available as an alternative location at short notice for any cancelled or postponed World Cup races in the disciplines of giant slalom, slalom and parallel slalom by hosting daytime races.
Floodlights suitable for TV will only be invested in following long-term inclusion in the FIS race calendar. The aim of Kirchberg is to become a fixed feature in the FIS race calendar within the next 4-7 years.
This coming winter, Kirchberg will once again host the women's Europa Cup race in the FIS race calendar on 20-21 January 2014. Spectators will have the opportunity to watch the agile legs of Mikaela Shiffrin, Lindsey Vonn, Anna Fenninger and Marlies Schild and cheer them on loudly. Hoping that these young sportswomen will return to Kirchberg with good memories in a few years as renowned Wolrd Cup stars.
*FIS=International Ski Association