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Bergisel Innsbruck

The Olympic ski jump on the Bergisel ? an architectural attraction

The ramp is an object lesson in bridge-building, the cement tower is high-rise and the tower top cantilevered steel ? Innsbruck’s rebuilt ski jump on the Bergisel, which was completed in 2001, brilliantly combines all aspects of architectural expertise. Responsible for this masterpiece is the Iraqi-born architect, Zaha Hadid, who lives and works in London. Among the other showpiece designs upon which Hadid has indelibly left her artistic mark are the Tomigaya Zaha Building in Tokyo, the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati and the extension to the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. The architect also won international acclaim in 2004, when she took the Pritzker Prize for contributions to architecture, thereby becoming the first woman to be presented with this award. The Bergisel stadium elegantly blends jump tower, café and approach ramp into a striking, signal-like unit, and a piece of sculpture with functional value. What other city can boast such a versatile work of art?

Towering majestically above the Olympic city of Innsbruck is the ski jump on the historic Bergisel, a hill that had special importance for the Tyrol and Innsbruck, for about 200 years ago, brave Tyroleans under their leader, Andreas Hofer, fought for the freedom of their homeland on its slopes. And then, as early as in 1925, the first ski jump was built on this revered soil. On three occasions – and that too the world of sports hasn’t seen before – the jump was used in the Winter Olympics. It was here on the Bergisel in both 1964 und 1976 that the Olympic flame burned on the occasion of the Winter Olympic Games, while in 2012 it burned for the 1st Winter Youth Olympic Games. Other spectacular events took and still take place in the arena: in 1988 Pope John-Paul II celebrated mass in front of 60,000 faithful followers, while every year the best snowboarders of the world arouse the enthusiam of their audience when they show their breathtaking acts during the Air & Style Festival.

The Bergisel Arena is not just a winter-long meeting place for ski-sport athletes and their fans ? one important event is the International Four Hills Tournament. This venue is an FIS competition complex and also a year-round training centre with a mat ski jump. When there is no snow, the skiers takes off from a special porcelain-lined ramp and the landing track is covered with cushioned fibre matting.

One of the most up-to-date ski sports complexes in the world can accommodate over 28,000 spectators and is dedicated almost entirely to the ski-jumping event, but this new symbol for Innsbruck is also a tourist attraction in its own right. It attracts those wishing to enjoy the fine view, some come to drink coffee in the panoramic café. Then there are the technically-minded, and of course many admirers of fine architecture also make the trip. The whole complex, including cabin lift, tower lift, panoramic café and viewing terrace on the jump tower, is open for the general public every day from 9.00 to 18.00 (November to May from 10.00 to 17.00). The Olympic ski jump can be reached easily with the Sightseer & Club Innsbruck Card. A visit to this popular attraction is just one of the many bonuses holders of the Innsbruck Card can benefit from.

Some 255 steps or a few minutes in the modern diagonal lift separate the tower entrance to this spectacular structure from the 47m-high 360? view of the mountain scenery that includes Patscherkofel, Nordkette, Hohe Munde and Serles ? whatever the time of year. The breathtaking view can be enjoyed not just from the roof terrace, where there is space for 180 people, but also from the viewing platform in the Café at the Tower where hot food is served all day. The restaurant has seating for 120 and can be hired out ? including cable and lift transport ? from 19.00 to 1.00 for private events, such as incentives. The best way to avoid the throngs of visitors is to use the special car and coach park.

Opening hours, more information and events: Bergisel Ski Jump

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