Crans-Montana was once again the scene for sensational races this weekend. And the very least that can be said is that the World Cup skiers were charmed by the Mont Lachaux piste, and had great praise for it. As for the president Marius Robyr, the organising committee received congratulations from all of the White Circus for races which were «worthy of the World Championships ».
Corinne Suter, who had already been in third place in the Crans-Montana Downhill in 2019, had high praise for the Haut-Plateau piste. «It has everything that gives a downhill piste its strength, and it would of course be perfect for the World Championships», declared the 25 year old from Schwyz. The top Downhill skier this winter was extremely happy to have secured the crystal Globe in the discipline in front of the Swiss public on Saturday.
For Lara Gut-Behrami, it hasn’t exactly been love at first sight from her first competition on the Mont Lachaux piste - she didn’t finish the Downhill in 2014, and despite several successful training sessions, she wasn’t ever able to impose in a race. But she finally managed to remedy that this year, by winning two Downhills in 24 hours ! «I definitely appreciate this piste a lot more now ! », joked the 28 year old from Ticino. The Comano local admitted that she would be more than satisfied if the World Championships take place in Valais in 2025.
And what about Federica Brignone, who talks about Crans-Montana as a «magical place»? The Italian won the Combined, her fourth in four years on the Mont Lachaux piste.
Even Austria’s Nina Ortlieb, third in Saturday’s Downhill greatly appreciated it. "I love races in Crans-Montana and I’m really grateful to everyone who prepared the piste. It’s thanks to them that I was able to finish on the podium despite my number 20 race bib and the high temperatures.»
The next rendez-vous with the Women’s World Cup in Crans-Montana is 23 and 24 January 2021. Once again, there will be a Downhill and a Combined.
Ester Ledecka: “This piste is going to become my favourite.”
Finishing on the third step of the World Cup podium on Sunday in Crans-Montana, Ester Ledecka has once again surprised the White Circus. The Olympic champion in snowboarding parallel giant and alpine ski Super-G in PyeongChang continues to fine-tune her talent, watched by the general public. While until now she was known for speed disciplines, the 24 year old athlete was able to make her mark in the slalom on the Mont Lachaux piste, finishing in the 5th best time in the heat, and on a particularly demanding piste.
While she is still going to alternate between alpine skiing and snowboarding until the end of the season, and has already won in both sports, Ester Ledecka still has the smile and motivation that she is known for. Interview after Sunday’s success on the Haut-Plateau.
Ester Ledecka, was finishing on the Combined podium a surprise for you ?
Everybody was surprised, even my trainers, but it was a great surprise. To be honest, it’s just magical. I can enjoy myself anywhere. It was a challenge because I never train on a piste this steep, and I only have 5 days experience of slalom.
It has been very warm in Crans-Montana. How did you manage the situation ?
I was here four years ago, and I was only able to do a mini-training due to the unsuitable weather. I have to say that this time the organisers have done an incredible job preparing this extraordinary piste during the three competition days. I don’t even know how it was possible to have a piste in such good condition with these kind of temperatures. I’m really honoured to have been able to benefit from their work.
Will you be back next season?
Yes, of course I’m going to put these races on my calendar. It seems like this piste is going to become my favourite.
Has your snowboarding experience helped you ?
I don’t know. I haven’t trained in snowboarding much this season, so I hope that it’ll work the other way round too, because I’m in the line-up for the parallel slalom at Livigno (ed: 10 March).
Do you prefer the slalom on skis or snowboard?
It’s very different, but I enjoy both.
You’re capable of winning in snowboard and skiing too. How do you recover ?
I don’t recover, I’m a robot (laughs). No seriously, I have to take care and I have to use a lot of oil in my system, it’s mechanical (laughs). No really, I do all I can to relax in the short breaks between races, but it’s not always easy. Of course I do two different sports, but a lot of girls compete in all the ski disciplines and that’s just as difficult, or even more so. You’re on the road for six months. But I really love that.
In view of the 2022 Olympic Games, are you aiming for skiing and snowboarding ?
Of course (smiles). I will be trying to win in every race I compete in, as always. But I’m not the only one who has this state of mind. I’m going to do everything I can to win, I can’t do much more.
You’re brilliant in snowboarding, speed skiing and now even technical too! What are your limits?
I have no limits for the moment (laughs).