A historical snapshot taken between two imposing walls of snow is restaged. The legendary jump of a skier across a
This photo has somehow always been present in the brand history of
The athlete captured in flawless pose is the Austrian ski racer Egon Zimmermann. One of the greatest of his time, he won the giant slalom at the 1962 World Championships and took gold in the downhill competition at the 1964 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck. In 2019, he passed away at the age of eighty. But “Egon will always be with us,” says his brother Karlheinz Zimmermann (71). “This image alone makes him immortal.”
The second protagonist in the picture, the
The photo of the jump with the arch subheading “On taking a shortcut” is considered the most famous work of the photographer Hans Truöl, who died in 1981.
And now a leap into the year 2021. The ski season is drawing to a close but several meters of snow still lie on the Timmelsjoch, a pass at the border between Austria and Italy. Aksel Lund Svindal, one of the most successful ski racers today with two Olympic gold medals and five world championships, prepares for a run. Conditions are ideal at the moment, with blue skies, sunshine, and not much wind. But everyone knows the weather can shift in the blink of an eye at an altitude of 2,500 meters. The film crew is therefore loath to lose time. Four camera operators take their positions and a video drone flies overhead. “Five, four, three, two, one—go!” shouts the producer through a megaphone. Up on the slope, Svindal has been waiting for the word. He starts downhill gently, not too fast, with his eyes on a launch pad made of snow a good one hundred meters away. He gathers momentum for the first attempt. “The last ten meters are the most important—you can’t make any mistakes,” says the thirty-eight-year-old Norwegian afterward. “And of course you’ve got to pick the right tenth of a second for the jump itself,” he adds with a smile. He then has to concentrate immediately on landing because the jump takes hardly more than a second. “I only have a vague idea of what’s going on down there beneath my skis.”
Below him on solid ground, Stefan Bogner is ready to seize the moment. At just the right distance in front of him, a
Svindal is not satisfied, either. “I want more speed and the posture is not quite right,” says the powerful Norwegian on examining the shots of his first attempt. “My legs should be higher and my hands further back.”
Every detail has to work if the iconic image from 1960 is to arise once again here at the Timmelsjoch. Not as a copy but as a reinterpretation for the twenty-first century. The idea is as daring as the jump itself.
“You should never rest, whether in racing or in skiing.”
“For us this new interpretation symbolizes the bridge between the past, present, and future,” explains Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman of the
Hans Truöl and Egon Zimmermann were also out to have fun when they made the original image. At the time Truöl was already an acclaimed photographer who covered not only sports events but also Alpine society at winter sports venues. The photo of the jump arose as a lark in connection with a rare opportunity, recounts Karlheinz Zimmermann. A big avalanche had blocked Flexenstraße at the time, the only road connection between the towns of Stuben and Zürs. Giant machines had to clear the road, leaving towering masses of snow to the left and right. As Zimmermann recalls, “The walls had never been so high, which was what inspired Truöl and my brother.”
The most important element in the scene—the Ruby Red
Bogner also has a personal connection to the legendary shot. “Hans Truöl took photos of my uncle and grandfather,” he says. Willy Bogner Senior and Willy Bogner Junior are among the most familiar names in German skiing to this day. “There’s a full-circle quality to the story for me too,” he says before turning his attention back to his camera.
“We’ve made history today.”
Somewhat more time goes by, however, before the circle can in fact be closed. The sun isn’t quite in the right position, or clouds are obscuring parts of the sky, or snowflakes start twinkling against the scenery. Svindal makes the jump a number of times—with the precision only a world-class athlete can command. Every attempt is accompanied by tiny adjustments to his takeoff, or his posture in the air, or the position of his skis, or the landing. “You should never rest and never be totally satisfied,” he insists. “You should always keep trying to improve, whether in racing or in skiing. This is a mindset I share with
Finally the sky clears above the chain of peaks, Bogner raises his arms in the air, and everyone takes their positions. Svindal starts down the hill again and jumps.
“That’s the one!” exclaims Bogner after scrutinizing the images. “This time it’s all there.” He is satisfied. No, actually he’s thrilled. “This is the type of thing you only do once in a lifetime.”
Karlheinz Zimmermann is thinking about his brother Egon at that moment. “If he were alive he’d be here with us today,” he says, visibly moved. “Perhaps he’s watching us from on high.”
Everyone on the set of this reinterpretation senses the greatness of the moment. “We’ve made history today,” says Board Member Meschke. “Never resting on laurels but always being ready to take another jump, always pushing the limits even further—that’s what we’re about.”
By Thomas Ammann
Photos by Stefan Bogner, Hans Truöl Archives
A film of the production awaits you online at christophorus.porsche.com