Ski Free or Die

Updated: February 1, 2006, 8:17 PM ET
By Eric Adelson | ESPN The Magazine
Flags wave and cars line up and Nickelback blares in the streets. Thousands of fans in parkas and face paint push toward the mountain. Some cling to beer bottles, stumbling through the brown snow with red faces and redder eyes. A few fall and draw laughter, then get back up and fall again. Above, a prop plane buzzes and dives and swerves, mimicking the inebriated revelers below. It is not even 11 a.m. in Kitzbuehel, Austria, but this is the Hahnenkamm, the Super Bowl of skiing.

Eric Adelson | email

ESPN The Magazine
Eric Adelson was a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.