Ski racing lost one of its purest characters with the sudden retirement of Rainer Schoenfelder. The popular Austrian competitor was dropped from the national team in the 2010-2011 season and had self-financed his career in subsequent winters. A rock star and most recently a contestant on the Austrian version of Dancing With The Stars, Schoenfelder abruptly retired at Soelden and called it quits on a lengthy career at age 36.
Schoenfelder won a pair of bronze medals at the 2006 Olympic Games and two silver medals (one a team medal) at the 2005 World Championships. He was the World Cup slalom champion in 2004 and won five World Cup races, all slaloms.
A technical specialist, Schoenfelder was preparing to expand into the speed disciplines when a series of injuries curtailed his career. He made worldwide headlines on Jan. 10, 2007 when he skied naked alongside the Lauberhorn downhill course after losing a bet with his physiotherapist.