In both motor racing and alpine skiing, cutting fractions of seconds can mean the difference between winning and losing, and the pursuit of aerodynamic perfection is vitally important. What do you regard as your major technical breakthroughs during your career?
PS: Motorsport and skiing have one thing in common: It’s the aim to reduce drag. However, there is another very important aspect in motor racing: down force. In this regard, the introduction of front and rear wings on racing cars marked a significant technical breakthrough.
HH: We produced a completely new three-layered Descente ski racing suit for the 1979 World Cup, consisting of a surface skin of fine yarns, bonded to an inner liner with a new foam adhesive, which, though complicated, made a substantial reduction in wind resistance, while managing to meet the FIS air permeability rules.By the fifth race of the season, in Crans Montana (in Switzerland) all three place-getters were wearing the Descente suit, and after that, everyone else wanted it too, including the struggling Austrian team. Descente instructed me to make suits for the Austrians, but the only material available at our factory in Aadorf in the right timeframe was green, instead of their national red and white colors. The turnaround in Austrian fortunes was dramatic, and Austrian skiers began returning to the winners’ podiums – all in their frog green suits. By the last race of the season the top nine racers were all wearing the new Descente suit.