At the end of this winter, the KÄSTLE Family celebrated the well-deserved victory of a brilliant skier. After 20 years, Lorraine Huber brought another title back to Hohenems with her Freeride World Tour victory. And this title doesn't just mean the world to Lorraine, it also means a great deal for the new chapter in the history of KÄSTLE ski brand, as the freerider from Arlberg has helped to write it and has crowned it with a new world championship title.
Kjetil André Aamodt (combination) and Tom Stiansen (slalom) both won gold medals on KÄSTLE skis in the 1997 Alpine Ski World Championships in Sestriere. This makes a total of 132 medals won to date on KÄSTLE skis in World Championships and in the Olympic Games by great names such as Toni Sailer, Anita Wachter, Hubert Strolz, Andi Wenzel and Pirmin Zurbriggen. Shortly thereafter, KÄSTLE disappeared from the ski market and was only revived in 2007 by a group of investors headed by Rudolf Knünz.
Lorraine Huber and KÄSTLE began their collaboration in 2008. The then 28-year-old state-certified ski instructor from Lech am Arlberg already had some podium appearances under her belt in freeride contests, and really took off in the following seasons in the Freeride World Qualifiers, until she won the Freeride World Qualifier series in 2013, and thus qualified for a fixed starting position in the Freeride World Tour. Even in her first season on the World Tour, Lorraine manoeuvred herself into 2nd place in the overall standings. However, the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 seasons were unfortunately marked by injuries.
At that time, KÄSTLE was working hard on rebuilding the traditional brand, and was preparing for the move to the venerable halls in Hohenems. At the end of the 2016/2017 season, KÄSTLE is again solidly anchored in Hohenems and after 20 years can once again celebrate a World Championship victory.
It's an emotional evening for everyone in the Löwensaal in Hohenems. For Lorraine Huber, whose efforts finally paid off after 10 years of hard work, injuries and rehabilitation, and for the KÄSTLE family with majority owner Rudolf Knünz, Managing Director Bernd Knünz, Director of Development Rainer Nachbauer and the employees who are continuing to write the history of the ski brand. This is also the case for Michael Zangerl, director of the sports unit of the Vorarlberg State Government, for Sebastian Manhart and sports medicine specialist Marc Sohm of the Vorarlberg Olympic Centre, who supported Lorraine in her rehabilitation phase and in preparing for competition. And we can't forget Lorraine's father, who infected her with the skiing virus as a small child, but who, considering the risks, would rather see her in an office job.
“For me the world championship title means, on the one hand, hardship, injuries and rehabilitation. But on the other hand, it also means many learning experiences, great adventures, friendships on the mountain and insane happiness. For me the title is a symbol of everything that has happened in the last 10 years.”
The peaks and troughs in Lorraine's career were expressed by Rudolf Knünz in his commemorative speech that evening. Mayor Dieter Egger characterised it as a moving moment for Lorraine and for Hohenems in his speech. KÄSTLE not only secures and creates employment in the city, KÄSTLE was also a part of his childhood and the KÄSTLE logo on the building represented a distinctive symbol. The KÄSTLE logo also represents more than just lettering and angles to KÄSTLE managing director Bernd Knünz. It tells a story. A story that began in 1924 in Hohenems, where its roots are still omnipresent.
“Successful athletes are very important ambassadors for a ski brand. With her successes, Lorraine has also bonded the team together, because everyone is with her in spirit when we watch her runs together.” Bernd Knünz, KÄSTLE Managing Director.
Lorraine Huber's Freeride Championship title in 2017 is not only the high point of the KÄSTLE athlete’s career to date, but also emphasises the rapid surge in the KÄSTLE brand in recent years. With Kylie Sivell (Rookie of the Year and 4th in the overall standings of the FWT), the next generations of KÄSTLE freeriders are at the starting gates to be hot on the heels of Lorraine.
Facts about Lorraine Huber's Freeride World Tour Championship victory in 2017.