When the lifts close in the afternoon of 25th April, things really heat up on the slopes of St. Anton am Arlberg. This is the day of the „White Thrill“ – the cult ski race which drives its participants to their absolute physical limits every year. The atmosphere is electric, even during the day: a large proportion of skiers are already dressed in racing attire and try to conceal their mounting nervousness with jokes in the gondola or by looking uber-casual about the approaching event. Things then start getting serious at 17 hrs, when 555 skiers, snowboarders or telemark skiers assemble on the Valluga Ridge for the mass start.
The now legendary „White Thrill“ alpine ski race attracts thousands of winter sports enthusiasts every year to St. Anton am Arlberg from all over the world. Anyone can take part, although many know from experience that this race is not suitable for all. Just choosing the right starting position at the mass start can win a few crucial seconds for later. The real challenge, however, follows shortly after on “Pain Mountain”. Those who hurry up this 150 ascent too fast, will pay for it with burning lungs. Those who take it too easy will fall behind the leaders. The unprepared slopes demand high levels of skiing skill and dexterity. Paul Schwarzacher set a new record time of eight minutes and 14 seconds over the maximal distance in 2011, which is now the benchmark to beat. Times between 11 and 18 minutes are a good average, but for most it plays only a minor role. The main thing is just to get over that finishing line. Spectators can also look forward to the flamboyantly attired participants, who roll in around half an hour later. By then at the latest it becomes clear that fun does not fall by the wayside during this particular race.
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