Skiing in the Principality of Liechtenstein
Skiing has a long tradition in Liechtenstein, and has delivered it's greatest sporting successes. The first success in skiing competitions was Marta Bühler who competed in slalom races in the 1960's. The real success, however, came in the 1970's when a family, originally from Germany, competed for Liechtenstein in the World Cup circuit.
This started with Hanni Wenzel who won two bronze medals in Innsbruck in 1976, and crowned it all with a wonderful medal haul in the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid in 1980, where she won a gold in the slalom and giant slalom, and was just piped into silver medal place in the downhill. At the same games, her brother Andi won a silver medal, giving Liechtenstein a very impressive medal tally. She finally retired in 1985 after those Olympic medals, two overall World Cup wins, four second places and two third places.
After she retired, Hanni married another skiing legend, Harti Weirather, the Austrian champion, and they live in Liechtenstein where their children are following in their sporting footsteps, excelling in skiing and tennis. Their daughter, Tina, has already proven herself on the World Cup tour.
Apart from Andi, Hanni also had a sister who competed for Liechtenstein - Petra - but she never eclipsed her siblings. At the same time as Hanni was coming through, another Liechtensteiner (this time Liechtenstein born) was also at the top of his sport - Willi Frommelt, but his career was overshadowed by Hanni's successes.
Since the retirement of the Wenzel's, Liechtenstein skiing has only enjoyed moderate successes, probably more in line with the true level that this small country should achieve. But, in addition to alpine skiing, Liechtenstein is now also competing at a high level in Nordic skiing.
Liechtenstein's latest success in alpine skiing comes from Marco Büchel who won a World Cup downhill in the 2005-06 season, though his strengths lie in the Giant Slalome and Super G.
The skiing facilities in Liechtenstein are all focused in Malbun, with a number of runs, and two chairlifts, four drag lifts. The resort is ideal for families as all the runs lead down to the centre of the village. The resort has two black runs for those who feel adventurous, but in general, the resort is not taxing for skiers.
For more information on skiing in Liechtenstein, please refer to the Liechtenstein Ski Federation (www.lsv.li), or Snowboard Federation (www.lsba.li). For information on the ski resort of Malbun, please refer to the ski lift website (www.bergbahnen.li) or the village website (www.malbun.li). For the latest snow report (winter only) please check the weather forecast.