While BMW-driving Bavarians flock to Kitzbühel for its understated charms, the traditional Tyrolean village comes alive every third weekend in January for the infamous Hahnenkamm, the wildest downhill ski race on the World Cup circuit. In excess of 60,000 ski-mad Austrians, cowbell-clanging Swiss, and hard-partying Scandinavians descend upon the small town to watch the world's fastest skiers hurl themselves down the Streif, a course so steep, bumpy, and dangerous that it's not uncommon for rookies to experience panic attacks in the starting gate.
Gnarly, sure, but the skiing pales in comparison to the drinking. The street-wide party kicks off as soon as the first can of Gösser is cracked shortly after sunrise Saturday morning and doesn't end until the wee hours of Sunday in The Londoner, a proper British pub in the heart of Austria.
After opening its doors in 1976, the no-frills drinking establishment cemented itself at the center of Hahnenkamm fever when the Canadian downhill team hopped behind the bar and started serving beers in the 1980s. Today, tradition mandates that the day's fastest downhillers – be they Swiss or American – end their evenings shirtless and slinging drinks for an already over-served bar of ski-racing aficionados. In fact, The Londoner can get so rowdy, some might argue it's riskier than the race itself – Olympic downhill champ Tommy Moe derailed his 1997 season after sustaining an injury during a particularly wild night. If you can make it past the bouncer and through the tight door, expect to be doused in schnapps by the fastest skiers on the planet.