By Hubert Schriebl
If you are born in Austria—as I was—skiing and ski racing are almost in your DNA. When I was young, skis were a luxury, especially for farmers’ kids like us. But my father was a Gebirgsjager in the mountain division in the Dolomites in World War I, and brought home a pair of skis. Fortunately for us kids they were still in the attic— very simple skis with only toe pieces and straps for around the heels. One size fit all!
We could only go straight down! Four brothers used them before me. Turning was difficult, but I didn’t care when it was my turn in the late 1940’s.
Every boy wanted to be like the great Italian ski champion, Zeno Colo, a lumberjack from Tuscany. He was the top ski racer in the late 1940’s and early 50’s, winning many titles, including in North America. He won Gold medals in downhill at the World Cup in 1950 and at the Oslo Olympics in 1952. After he died in 1993, an asteroid, Zenocolo, was named in his honor.
As a youth, I also did some ski racing. Friends always said I looked good but was not fast enough! I did win the championship of the Alpine Youth Clubs— we had to climb up a mountain, set the course on the way up and race down!
My love for skiing and ski racing never left me. It became my favorite sport to photograph. Having photographed many big races such as the Olympics and World Cups, I often endured extreme weather conditions to get the best pictures.
I still enjoy photographing young racers and appreciate their successes when their hard work and dedication pays off!