The History of the World Skiing Cup on the Großer Arber

As one of the Bavarian Forest’s best-known skiers, Eisenstein-born Erhard Gattermann offered a hiker a lift in his car on his way to the Arber in the mid-sixties, he had no idea that he was laying the foundations for one of the most sensational Alpine ski events on the Arber.

As they talked during their journey, Erhard Gattermann realised that he had picked up a passionate technical skier, Pavel Bartovsky from Pilsen. This meeting ended in Bartovsky inviting Bayerwald skiers to race at Spicak. The Bayerwald skiers, of course, issued their own invitation and, despite the Iron Curtain separating them at the time, the Pilsen skiers managed to take part in a slalom race on the Großer Arber, and win.

Finally, further races also managed to motivate racers from Austria, and this little slalom competition became an international event.

In the winter of 1968/1969, the Austrians brought none other than the four-time Olympic Champion and World Champion Toni Sailer from Kitzbühel as their coach. He confirmed what Ernst Schneide, who was the department head for SC Zwiesel at the time, said about the Arber’s organisation and land: that it was suited to “higher” purposes. This path of success led to the FIS B Race, the Europe Cup race and, finally, the first World Cup race on the Arber in 1975/76.

The first World Cup race in a low mountain range - and in a country with high mountains, no less - was a worldwide sensation. The helpers’ tireless work in extreme weather conditions was rewarded with a top event. Snow-covered trees and brilliant sunshine streaming from a bright blue sky at temperatures of minus 15 degrees let around 35,000 spectators - the first were already at the slopes at 6:00 and Germany had never seen so many - and the millions of television viewers across the world see a skiing race in a real winter wonderland. Shortly before he was awarded a medal at the Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, a young Suede by the name of Ingmar Stenmark received the Arber Kiristall Pokal in front of countless enthused spectators.

This began a run of World Cup and Europe Cup races on the Großer Arber, which has since become a tradition. The list of winners includes famous names such as Ingemar Stenmark (3x), Maria Walliser (SUI, 2x), Maria Epple (GER, 2x), Erika Hess (SUI), Hanni Wenzel (LIE), Tamara Mc Kinney (USA) and Anita Wachter (AUT).

A perfect organisational team led by Harald Haase, with plenty of passionate workers from all areas, enthused spectators, while the perfect terrain on the Großer Arber makes these world-stage races a great spectacle for the whole Arberland area.