The most visited resort of the Swiss Alps has appeared on our virtual skiing map. Located in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland, the ski resort of Wengen has inspiring mountain space and offers a unique spiritual experience. As well as reliable snow cover — the area is over than 2 km above sea level (summit is at 2,472 m, or 8,110 ft). Wengen boasts almost 400 km of skiing with 131 pistes, as its lift pass also allows skiing in the neighbouring Jungfrau resorts.
We started by transferring every turn and passage of the Lauberhorn downhill to the virtual reality with our patented technology of GPS scouting. The Lauberhorn ski races (downhill, slalom, and combined) are among the highest-attended winter sports events in the world, attracting around 30,000 spectators each year.
The downhill course is currently the longest in the world; the 4.48 km (2.78 mi) result in run times of 2.5 minutes.
The Laubernhorn race is only for the most courageous, for athletes with a perfect technique and great stamina. Legend has it that the first jump of the run, Russisprung, was not initially designed for races. It was Bernard Russi who needed a suitable jump to make a film on technique and decided to build it up here with a lot of snow. It was later incorporated into the track.
After the ‘Russi jump’, the speed suddenly increases to more than 80 mph. The waves of challenge the skier’s aerodynamics and the low position. Next comes the true symbol of the downhill race — the narrow (5 m in some of the corners!), extremely steep and rocky passage with a short landing area, putting together all the hardest elements. This section bears the name of Hundschopf.
The combinations of jumps, corners, choices of route and crazy passages was the reason to a number of prominent victims who were not cautions enough, or could not find the ideal speed.
The skis only make contact with the snow every 10 meters at times.
The bottle-neck called Wasserstation (Water Station) doesn’t let anyone enter the dark gap standing up, filling athletes with awe. And in the end, just where other tracks have finished, they have to fight a very technical passage that can change the rankings altogether. After 2 minutes on the course, one can’t negotiate it with energy to spare, the 3 sharp corners are usually icy and bumpy, hence the tactical mistakes that lead to loss of the vital seconds.
This very special character of the Lauberhorn Race is the reason we were so eager to see it in virtual reality. With a bit more security and less risk than in real mountains, any good skier will be able to feel what the best racers of all times had felt here.