THE PRENNERHANG: THE PISTE EVERYONE KNOWS

There’s a slope which every skier who’s ever been skiing in Ischgl is sure to know. The Prennerhang, the last part of the downhill run to the Pardatschgratbahn cable car. If you ski it late in the afternoon, it might not always be quite so much fun. But you can see the most fantastic performances on it too – this evening, for example.

Some people say that on the Prennerhang at 4pm, the experts and the amateurs go their separate ways, those who just ski and those who fly. Because the Prennerhang at 4pm is truly brutal, it’s natural selection in action. Even people who can carve with both legs up on the mountain have been seen making a plough turn here, and for every person who takes short turns down to the valley at this time of day there are three pizza slices, two sliding on their bottoms and one who’d rather carry their skis behind them. At least.

Well, we have to admit it, this isn’t really skiing for fun. The Prennerhang is mostly either as hard as stone or brutally icy, and the later it gets, the bumpier it becomes. From midday onwards the snow here is pressed together, around 4pm even relatively tall people already feel as if the humps are far bigger than knee-height. Especially now in spring, when it’s getting warmer and the slope lies in the sun the whole day long, there’s no way of avoiding it. Because statistically speaking around 50 percent of all the people who ski in Ischgl ski down the mountain down the Prennerhang – it’s the final section of the 1a downhill run. From the Prennerhang you reach the Pardatschgrad cable car and the Fimba cable car, you reach the hotels next to both cable cars and all the other houses at the northern end of the town, as well as the tunnel which takes you back to the ParkingLounge car park or the ski bus.

So there really is a lot going on at the Prennerhang, which adds to the piste. In particular, because it’s a relatively selective, steep downhill run. At its steepest point, the slope has a gradient of 49 percent, and on average it’s no less than exactly 30 percent, which is more than a normal car could manage going uphill. The slope is 573 metres long, with a difference in altitude of 155 metres.

There’s been skiing here for a long time now. The Prennerhang was laid out as a piste in 1970, so next year it will celebrate its 50th birthday. And the Prennerhang is also the pioneer of artificial snowmaking in Ischgl: as far back 1982, an artificial snow machine was set up and supplemented with a snow cannon, so it’s been possible to cover a part of the slope in artificial snow then. It happened for the first time in the 1983/4 season – back then, though, it had to be at least 5 degrees below zero for the equipment to be operational.

In theory, you could then ski down the slope really quickly, and this does in fact happen a couple of times a year – in the town championships, for example, which Ischgl traditionally stages on the Prennerhang. The piste, running down through the natural stadium between the cableways and the hotels on the edge of the slope, is after all ideally suitable for it: not only is it illuminated, but you also have a really good view of the slope.

But of course we know that – not least because the popular Ischgl Ski School demo shows also take place on the Prennerhang. And they’re back again today. Here’s a couple of impressions from our photographer, Max Kropitz.

These are the really spectacular images, and even more spectacular stunts, which the experts will be conjuring up out on the snow this evening. But if you’re after entertainment a little bit earlier, you can always stand out by the Prennerhang this afternoon and have a look up the slope. Because at 4pm, the Prennerhang gives you natural selection – between the experts and the amateurs.

The Ischgl Ski School Demo Show is this evening at 7pm at the Prennerhang.