With spiked wheels and snow blower at the Hundschopf
Aebi at the World Cup race on the Lauberhorn
When a myth is created between Hundschopf and Ziel-S on the Lauberhorn in Wengen, Switzerland, many helping hands are needed. The piste and construction work will begin as early as September. By the first race on Friday, 18 January 2019, more than 500 people will have worked on the downhill run and 230 tonnes of material for the grandstand and marquee will have been installed on the Wengeneralp alone. The goal of those responsible around race director Robert Lehmann: the race must be one of the most difficult in the World Cup calendar in order to do justice to the myth of the Lauberhorn, the longest ski race course in the world.
Note: This video is only available in German
The terrain not only challenges the skiers, but also man and machine when preparing the race piste. Today, a downhill slope must have a snow density of 580 to 680 kilogrammes per cubic metre, i.e. it must be extremely hard. One metre of fresh snow shortly before the start of the race is therefore anything but pleasing for the organisers. "That means a lot of manual work for our many helpers on the mountain," said piste manager Heinz von Allmen as recently as Tuesday. Von Allmen is particularly worried about the Ziel-S aus, which is normally frozen as hard as a pimple, but was now very soft because of all the fresh snow. The masses of snow have to be removed and pushed aside with the helpers' skis, for example. Already in previous years, equipment from Aebi, such as the TT281 with crawler track and snow blower, supported the organisers. The Terratrac, with its tracked undercarriage and an optionally available overhead winch, is also ideally suited for demanding work on race tracks. Its enormous versatility allows a wide variety of implements, such as a blower, plough, injection bar or sweeping brush, to be used on the Terratrac. The generously dimensioned tracks are particularly gentle on the sensitive surface, the all-wheel steering gives the Terratrac a high degree of manoeuvrability and the overhead winch provides a safety bonus, even on particularly steep sections.
On particularly steep sections, the helpers even needed crampons in order not to lose their grip. The Aebi Combicut with spiked wheels and snow blower, which was used for the first time this year, proved to be a particularly efficient support here. The single-axle harvester removed the snow from the slope in an experienced manner and with a secure grip. "Whether it was used on steep slopes or to move large amounts of snow in the finish area or around the grandstands: For our preparations of the race weekend, the Aebi implements are a perfect complement to the big piste guns. Without the use of such special vehicles, the preparation of race pistes for the Ski World Cup is no longer conceivable for us," says Robert Lehmann.
A race piste is good when the best athlete wins - we wish the organisers a successful final spurt and all athletes an exciting and accident-free competition.