Experience Austria’s steepest piste
Steep, steeper, Harakiri: with an incline of 78%, the Harakiri in Mayrhofen is the steepest ski piste in Austria. Anyone daring to descend this almost vertical slope needs to have guts as well as a good amount of confidence in their skiing ability. The Harakiri is a challenge for even the most experienced skiers. I face my fears and dare to tackle this renowned Austrian piste.
Harakiri on the ‘to-do list’
159 kilometers of piste await visitors to Mayrhofen’s two skiing mountains. Although I have conquered countless slopes during my many winter holidays in Mayrhofen, the biggest challenge of all still alluded me: Austria’s steepest piste– the Harakiri in Mayrhofen. Although the term Harakiri originally refers to a form of ritual suicide in Japan, it quickly becomes clear why this slope has been given its name. With its incline of 78%, Mayrhofen’s Harakiri is not for the faint-hearted. As mentally and physically prepared as possible, I start off on my big adventure.
Ski jump vs piste
I took the new 3 S Penkenbahn gondola and quickly reach the Penken plateau. I follow the signposts and reach the top of the Harakiri in just a few minutes. Although I have read lots about the piste and prepared myself as much as possible to take it on, I catch my breath at the sight of it. From above, the almost vertical mountainside looks more like a ski jump than a piste. I watch as brave skiers make their descent down Austria’s steepest piste, sometimes skillfully, sometimes shakily. As the run clears, I dare to make my first turn.
Balancing Act Harakiri
Slowly and concentrating hard, I make turn after turn. I don’t even want to think about what would happen if I lost my balance during these first meters. Luckily, my skiing abilities don’t let me down. After just a few minutes – which felt like half an hour- I’ve done it! 1,500m of thrills are behind me. Proudly and reverently, I look back up at the mountain.
Elation at the “Finish Line”
After it starts to dawn on me what I have just achieved, I eavesdrop on the conversations of the skiers around me. I catch words such as “thrilling, adrenaline and gutsy”. They agree with me.
After taking the obligatory souvenir photo of the steepest piste in Austria, I ski, on still shaky legs, to the nearest hut. I have definitely earned some food and a schnapps!
Facts about the Harakiri in Mayrhofen:
• Austria’s steepest piste
• Incline of 78%
• Length: 1,500m
• Width: 60m
• Knowledge of the FIS rules
• Physical fitness
• Perfect body control
• Concentrate your weight on the outer ski – do not lean towards the slope
• Top quality equipment (including well-serviced skis with sharp edges and a helmet)