He is the most flamboyant and well-known ski racer on the World Championship scene, but for the uninitiated, he is probably a name they have never heard of: Hubertus von Hohenlohe. Born in 1959 in Mexico to German parents — his father was working for Volkswagen in Mexico City — this globetrotter learned to ski in Austria and took his passion for skiing to a whole new level when in 1981, he created the Mexican Ski Association and made his debut on the World Cup circuit that year. He competed at his first World Championship in 1982 and his first Olympics in 1984.
Hubertus von Hohenlohe has competed at a total of 20 World Championships. He had to miss the 2007 World Championships due to a broken leg. Many thought this would end his racing career, but the German-Mexican was not easily deterred. He returned to the FIS competitions the following year and competed at another eight World Championships.
At Courchevel, France, Hubertus completed only about three gates of the Giant Slalom course and then pulled out. In an interview with Eurosport, he admitted: “I spent too much time lying in the sun in Marbella and not enough at the gym. Technically it was okay, but I ran out of power. It was really exhausting. The course was very icy, and you had to use a lot of force. But at least it wasn’t like Cortina,” he adds, with a painful nod to his crash two years ago.
Will he retire? While he thinks this may have been his last World Championship, the 64-year-old admits with a grin that he could be tempted to return for one final competition for the 2025 World Championships in Saalbach, Austria.
While von Hohenlohe has never won an international podium, ‘El Principe’ — as he is known in Mexico — has broken a few other records, such as being the oldest Winter Olympian, when he competed at the 2014 Sochi Olympics aged 55. His best World Cup result was a 42nd in the overall standings and a fourth in his first season in 1981/82. He has competed at six Olympics for Mexico — some years, he was the only Mexican contestant. In other years he competed with Colorado-born Sarah Schleper. With Schleper, who is married to a Mexican, von Hohenlohe has been working to further Mexican representation at international winter sports events, such as the Olympics. In 2022, Mexico sent a record four contestants to Beijing.
Both his parents come from old German noble families — hence the title ‘prince’ — and Hubertus has lived a life of privilege commingled with trauma. His parents divorced when he was four, and his father abducted him and his brother. Neither Hubertus nor his brother Christopher saw their mother for a drawn-out 2.5 years while the parents battled in court and the tabloids. He then grew up in his father’s five-star hotel in Marbella, Spain, but was sent aged 10 to a boarding school in Austria, where he fell in love with skiing.
Aside from his colorful ski career, Hubertus is a photographer, singer, and TV star. He designs the Mexican race suites with manufacturer Kappa. Most years, his race suit designs are a tribute to his Mexican birth home. This year’s design was inspired by North Mexican native Huichol bead art and featured the face of the Huichol mountain cougar. His famous 2014 Olympic race suit was the design of a Mariachi.
Von Hohenlohe has lived in Spain, Italy, Liechtenstein, and Austria but currently resides in Marbella, Spain, with his wife Simona, the cousin of legendary Italian skier Alberto Tomba. He speaks German, Spanish, English, French, and Italian.