The only way is up – Competitors in their hundreds set off in a mass start for the Streif Vertical Up from Kitzbuhel, lighting up the snow with their head torches as they begin the tortuous climb to the top.
The only way is up – The lights of the competitors are blurred in a photographic trick as they charge up the Streif, with the Austrian resort also lit up below them.
The only way is up – From the chalets in the valley below, the Vertical Up -- held in February a month after the prestigious World Cup downhill ski race -- makes for an almost ghostly sight.
The only way is up – Most competitors wear spikes due to the icy conditions underfoot for the duration of the course. Others prefer to use cross-country skis.
The only way is up – There are brief sections where the course flattens out, providing a welcome relief with a picturesque backdrop of snow-covered trees.
The only way is up – Weather conditions are often very variable and, with it being a night race, temperatures are usually cold -- about -10C, often with snowfall.
The only way is up – The Streif World Cup downhill course is renowned for its virtually vertical sections, hence it's almost uphill in the opposite direction -- meaning some competitors are forced to climb up on their hands and feet.
The only way is up – The most successful competitor in Vertical Up's three-year history is Italian farmer Urban Zemmer, here leading. By day, the 42-year-old tends to his cattle, by night he relishes careering up steep climbs.
The only way is up – As if the Vertical Up is not challenging enough, some opt for fancy dress in their bid to tackle the course -- in the case of this entrant, the movie character Shrek is his inspiration.
The only way is up – There is something of a party atmosphere at the finish, where competitors are met with a warm drink -- usually followed by more alcoholic beverages as the night turns into a celebration.