Will the Austrians be able to win their 6th championship in a row? And will Gregor Schlierenzauer win his 3rd overall championship and therefore go into history? How will the German talents get on? And will the Fin Janne Ahonen be able to work up his old strength? All these questions will soon be answered, as it is only approx. 4 more weeks to go until the 62nd annual International Four Hills Tournament. The contests in Oberstdorf, Garmisch-Patenkirchen, Innsbruck and Bischofshofen always take place around the beginning of the New Year and attract not only the ski jumping pros, but also a large number of winter sports enthusiasts.
From the 29th of December the world elite in ski jumping, always preceded by the best of his kind, the Norwegian Björn Wikola with 10 single contest and 3 overall contest wins, will be flying through the air again, The first station traditionally is Oberstdorf, followed by the New Year’s event in Garmisch-Patenkirchen. Then on the 4th of January they move on to Innsbruck and on the 6th of January the finals are decided in Bischofshofen.
Winter sports fans will find all four stations of the tournament a great experience. Not only can they enjoy the sporty event and the fringe events all around the contest, but they will also find a great ski area surrounding each of the tournament resorts.
The “Große Schattenbergschanze” is one of the most important ski jumps worldwide, and is one the 5 world cup jumps which has been regularly in use for world cup events since 1973. Every year approx. 30.000 fans get together for the opening of the Four Hills Tournament in the Erdinger Arena, at the end of December. The ski jump is 140 metres high and has a run-in length of 105.5 metres. Oberstdorf is not only known for its ski jump though, but is also one of the most popular German winter sports centres. All around the “most southern point in Germany” there are a number of interesting ski areas to be found. 128 km of piste can be made use of in the cross-border ski region Oberstdorf-Kleinwalsertal. This includes the ski areas Fellhorn-Kanzelwand, Söllereck, Walmendingerhorn, Ifen and the Heuberg Arena. At the Nebelhorn you will also find the longest valley decent in Germany with 7.5 km length.
It looks magnificent, elegant and is seen as the new landmark for the town: the former Olympic ski jump, which was erected for the winter Olympics back in 1936, was replaced in winter 2007/2008 by its modern successor. Approx. 300,000 spectators want to experience the event every year. The ski jump is 149 metres high and has a run-in length of 103.5 metres.
Located at the foot of Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze (2,962 m), Garmisch-Partenkirchen is known as the country’s winter sports destination No. 1. Besides being host to one of the Four Hills tournaments, Garmisch-Patenkirchen has also organised Winter Olympics in the past, and the ski World Championship in 2011. Winter sports enthusiasts can choose from a range of ski terrain, from the glacier ski area at the Zugspitze to the main ski area “Garmisch-Classic”, which spreads of the local mountain, Kreuzeck and Alpspitze. A highlight: the legendary “Kandahar” decent at the Kreuzeck.
The futuristic design of the “Bergisel” ski jump tower in Innsbruck has turned into even more of sight after its modernisation in 2002. From here you have a magnificent view of Innsbruck and the surrounding mountains, due to the proximity of the ski jump to the town itself. The details of the ski jump are 130 metres in height and 98 metres run-in length. The longest flight ever on this ski jump was achieved by Seven Hannawald in 2002. Innsbruck is known as the “capital of the Alps”. It has already been host to the winter Olympics three times in the past (in 1964, 1976 and the youth games in 2012). Nine ski areas comprise the “Olympia SkiWorld Innsbruck”. All of them are within easy reach with the free ski bus from Innbruck. The closest are the Nordketten lifts and the Patscherkofel. Further there are Axamer Lizum, Muttereralm, Kühtai, Rangger Köpfl, Glungezer, Schlick 2000 and the Stubaier Glacier, the largest glacier ski area in Austria.
The “Paul-Außerleiner” ski jump is named after an Austrian ski jumper, who experienced a bad crash here in 1952, and sadly died a few days after the accident. This is the largest ski jump in the FIS World Cup. It is 125 metres high and offers a run-in length of 125 metres. Bischofshofen lays in midst of the “Ski amadé” area. Only a few kilometres away you can find St. Johann/Alpenhof and Mühlbach am Hochkönig. If the snow conditions allow it you can enjoy the 8 km long ski touring decent “Knappensteig” which leads you right back in to Bischofshofen. To Flachau and Großarl it is also not far to go.
So now it is only left to say: off you go!