Image: Rosmarie Knutti



«How I am supposed to get down this?"»


Up-and-coming skier Marco Kohler on his first Hundschopf experience



It was a boyhood dream that finally came true for Marco Kohler. For the 22-year-old from Meiringen in the Bernese Oberland, it was almost a home race: his first time on the Lauberhorn run with the pros. Maybe not quite in the world of the racing greats, but certainly up there with them for the training runs.

 

"Tension and nervousness hit me at the starting gate, but only because I had never skied such a long course before. The Lauberhorn is the longest downhill in the world," says Marco Kohler of his first training run. He continues: "I thought of all the key sections that I would have to overcome at racing speeds." One particular challenge is the Hundschopf. The young racing skier had to swallow hard even when he first viewed the legendary jump.

 

His initial impression after the analysis of the Hundschopf: "I asked myself why I even wanted to jump, and I had no idea how I was supposed to get down this. You're jumping out of a tiny window into nothing. Nets to the right of you, crags to the left." And yet Kohler had no reservations. He soberly recounts how he approached the Hundschopf at plenty of speed. "I wanted to get to the limit no matter how small the window for jumping was. It simply had to work."

 


Speed is only a number


Having a gut feeling for the correct speed is more important to him on the Hundschopf than a precise calculation. It worked well with his estimation of the speed. He took the preceding left curve with enough momentum for the jump to be successful. The approach was special. "But then, once I took off into the air, it felt like any other jump," Kohler relates. As if the Hundschopf were a child's game.

 

Maybe it's also in Kohler's nature – speed seems to be his "thing": "I've always only wanted to be fast on my skis. My father used to say that the thing I was worst at was braking." His lack of fear was certainly a bonus on his successful "maiden flight" over the Hundschopf.

 

It won't be the last time that he takes off in the Lauberhorn Races. He is not yet eligible for the World Cup, but he's working towards it every day. Until at some point his other boyhood dream comes true and he is able to fly over the Hundschopf with his idols, the experienced pros.