14 Oct

The Crans-Montana Ski World Cup races will take place without fans!

There won’t be any supporters present for the FIS competitions in Switzerland this winter. This is the decision taken by Swiss-Ski in conjunction with the various organisers of the World Cup races, in order to respect measures against the Covid pandemic, which is seeing a rise again all over.

For the two women’s World Cup downhills, scheduled for 23 and 24 January 2021 in Crans-Montana, there will therefore be no stadiums at the bottom of the Mont Lachaux piste, nor will there be a fan zone at Barzettes, awards ceremonies in the centre of the resort, nor a World Cup Party. There will only be an area set up for a limited number of sponsor and partner representatives, without any contact with World Cup staff and athletes. For these reasons, the live broadcast of the Crans-Montana races by the host broadcaster, the RTS, recognised as a reference in the domain, will be even more significant than usual.

This decision was taken in order to ensure that all ski competitions planned in Switzerland, including the European Cup (two downhills in Crans-Montana, on 16 and 17 January 2021) can still run smoothly, and to limit the risk of virus spread. The various organisers do however reserve the right to reevaluate the situation with the relevant authorities depending on the evolution of the crisis.

 

Swiss-Ski

Press release:
The Alpine Ski World Cup races in Switzerland will  take place without an audience

Following a detailed analysis of the situation related to Covid-19, and in agreement with Swiss-Ski, the Swiss organisers of the 2020/21 Alpine Ski World Cup have decided that their competitions will, in theory, take place without an audience this year.

The principal objective of Swiss-Ski and the Swiss World Cup race organisers is to ensure that all events in Switzerland run smoothly during the 2020/21 season, despite the challenging situation. At the same time, it is necessary to minimise the health risks for all groups of people involved. For several weeks, the organisers of the World Cup and Swiss-Ski have been in intensive and constructive discussions with the various stakeholders, in particular with Swiss Olympic.

Due to the potential risks, it was decided that the Alpine Ski World Cup races and the Ski Jumping World Cup in Engelberg will take place without an audience. Only a few guests will possibly be able to attend the competitions in person, in special zones away from the teams.

There will be no grandstands erected in St-Moritz, Adelboden, Wengen, Crans-Montana, Lenzerheide or Engelberg ; the organisers will not be setting up fan villages or marquees in the finish area or in locations hosting the World Cup races. Prizegiving ceremonies and bib draws will also take place without audiences. Swiss-Ski and the Swiss World Cup organisers will continue to follow the evolution of the Covid-19 situation, and will remain in close contact with the national and cantonal authorities. They reserve the right to modify the concept relating to spectators, depending on the development of the pandemic in Switzerland.

The joint decision to theoretically not admit any spectators to the competitions offers the organisers a certain level of security in their planning in this relatively early stage. The majority of the construction costs for temporary infrastructure can therefore be economised. However, there will be a significant loss of revenue from ticket sales and VIP offers, as well as in local sponsoring.

The fact that, in the current situation, all of the World Cup races in the different disciplines can take place as planned in Switzerland despite the circumstances is largely due to the measures taken by the Confederation to stabilise the situation in Swiss sport. On the basis of a detailed stabilisation concept, Swiss-Ski and the organisers have shown Swiss Olympic the essential role that different World Cup events play in the global snow sports system in Switzerland.

Thanks to the protection concept that they have designed together, Swiss-Ski and the World Cup organisers are convinced that the various Swiss snow sport competitions will be able to run smoothly, from both a sporting and safety perspective. « We’re working really hard alongside the organisers, our host broadcaster SRG SSR and all of the relevant stakeholders to offer snow sport fans and our partners and sponsors a high-quality audiovisual product for different platforms. We would also like to involve fans with new digital services, such as the FIS E-Game and a prediction game (Predictor Challenge), and allow them to contribute in their own way to the fascinating world of snow sports », explains Diego Züger, Swiss-Ski co-director of Marketing. « Thanks to the great understanding between stakeholders and the commitment that they are all showing, in particular our sponsors and partners, it will be possible to successfully manage this difficult World Cup season together ».

7 Oct

220 soldiers planned for the 2021 races in Crans-Montana

The organisation of the women’s races for the World Cup in Crans-Montana would be impossible without the help of the army. For the two World Cup races programmed, preceded by two European Cup races, the organisers can rely on much-appreciated support from the 14th Rifle Batallion, from the Canton of Geneva. Representing the army at the information and reconnaissance session which took place in Crans-Montana (photo, from left to right) : lieutenant-colonel Guillaume Genoud, commanding officer of the 14th rifle batallion, first officer Edwin Chapalay, commanding officer of the company for the PDG, captain Nicolas Pichard, commander of the 14/4 rifle company, and colonel Damian Walker, military involvement commander.

« On the Haut-Plateau, collaboration with the army has been working wonderfully for years », declares Edgar Gillioz (centre of the photo), who representants the soldiers within the organisation committee. « The strict and hierarchical organisation in the army allows rapid and efficient reactions ». From installing the finish structures to preparing the piste, putting two kilometres of security netting in place etc, they have many different tasks, and there will be no lack of work for the 220 soldiers enlisted from 13 until 26 January 2021. During this time, the troops will be stationed in Chalais, Salquenen and Chamoson.

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28 Sep

A great honour for the FIS World Cup races organisation in Crans-Montana

The Club5 Ski Classics, created in 1988 after an idea by the founder of the Ski World Cup, and very respected journalist, Serge Lang, is the independent world leader of top organisers of the Alpine Ski World Cup, and the races that are known as classics.

In 2016, Marius Robyr, president, and Hugo Steinegger, vice-president, managed to master the obstacles to join the Club5 and thus as a first step, positioned the Valais World Cup organisation as an "Affiliate Member" in this prestigious organisation – a member without the right to vote, but with the right to speak.

The constant improvements and initiatives in all areas of organisation in recent years have been rewarded: on 28 September, during the 2020 annual Club5 meeting (per visioconference), Crans-Montana unanimously received full member status. The Valaisans have now joined the great classics such as Kitzbühel, Lauberhorn/Wengen, Val Gardena, Val d'Isère and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. And as a "graduation gift", Crans-Montana will have the privilege in September 2021 of organising the important Club5 Ski Classics workshop, which takes place every two years, and which deals with innovative themes in the domain of competition alpine skiing.  

23 Sep

Crans-Montana has started preparation work for the new finish stadium

And we’re off ! As part of the « Barzettes 2025 » project, which includes a plan for a brand new site in order to host the Alpine World Ski Championships in the very best conditions, the demolition of the Cisalpin is advancing quickly. The old hotel, which was purchased by the municipality of Crans-Montana, was first cleared before being demolished. The completed, the land will be returned to meadows.  

This is the first step in a project that will provide Crans-Montana with an ultra-modern and multi-functional stadium, as well as top-tier sport and tourist facilities that can be used in summer as well as in winter. « We want to make Barzettes a site for four seasons», adds Nicolas Féraud, president of the municipality of Crans-Montana, as well as the strategic committee for the candidature.  

It was a ‘mayen’ first of all, then a boarding house and finally a hotel that became the main hospitality centre for the 1987 Alpine World Ski Championships, and the Cisalpin had a lively existence up until its closure in 2004. As well as being a hotel, the building also had a restaurant, La Trappe. Many national teams, for both alpine and cross country skiing, stayed at the hotel in order to train, notably on the Plaine Morte glacier. Its new look, which includes a brand new hotel, should please more than a few people.

 Vido (in french only): Laurent Morel and Johan Tachet/SkiActu

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15 Sep

New calendar for the World Cup 2020/21: Two Women’s Downhills in Crans-Montana

Due to the COVID-19 situation the FIS International Ski Federation, in collaboration with the national federations and race organisers, has been working hard on the new calendar for the 2020/21 World Cup races. In Crans-Montana, the women will compete in two downhills over the weekend of 23 and 24 January 2021. Sunday’s downhill now replaces the alpine combined that was originally planned. The organisers have registered their interest with Swiss-Ski and the FIS for a possible additional speed race, which could take place on Friday 22 January.  

The final allocation of two races - in the leading alpine discipline - to Crans-Montana reveals the great confidence that Swiss-Ski and the FIS have in the Organising Committee on the Valais Haut Plateau, and the spectacular and photogenic Mont Lachaux piste. Will the Swiss downhill skiers shine once again in 2021, as they did in February in Crans-Montana, when they celebrated two fantastic double triumphs (photos)? This much is unknown...but very much hoped for ! The question of whether ski fans will be admitted to the World Cup in our country, and if so, how many, will be clarified and communicated in the weeks ahead.  –  Regarding races next season in Crans-Montana, on 16 and 17 January, the young and upcoming athletes will be revealing their talents in two European Cup downhills, and at the end of this year, on Tuesday 29 December, there will be the attractive night slalom, featuring the best specialists in the world. 

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4 Sep

Green light for Crans-Montana

The FIS summer inspection took place on Friday 4 September on the Haut-Plateau. Despite the COVID-19 issue, preparations are well underway.

Another milestone has been reached in view of the Alpine Ski World Cup planned for 23 and 24 February next year in Crans-Montana. An FIS delegation, led by the Chief Race Director for the Women’s World Cup, Peter Gerdol, came to inspect the Mont Lachaux piste this Friday for a check four months before the races. It was also an opportunity to analyse the measures required to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, in the presence of members of the organisation committee led by Marius Robyr, FIS representatives, Swiss-Ski and Télévision Suisse Romande (RTS), the official broadcasters.

The good news is that it’s a green light for the Haut-Plateau resort. With experience, the FIS revealed that the Valais leg has become one of the most appreciated stops in the White Circus. A few details were discussed, including installing an inflatable arch before the final wall. But the much-anticipated point of the day concerned the new rules drawn up by the FIS concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

A reminder of the menu for the 2021 edition on the Haut-Plateau, the Women’s European Cup races are on 16 and 17 January (two downhills, preceded by two training sessions on 14 and 15.01) and the Women’s World Cup on Saturday 23 January (Downhill) and Sunday 24 (Alpined Combined with Super-G/Slalom) as well as two downhill training sessions on 21 and 22.01. Not forgetting later in 2020, the night slalom by invitation, programmed for Wednesday 29 December.

As for the organisation of the races, three variants are currently possible: the usual organisation of the races with no limitations on public attendance, organisation with a limited number of spectators, or organisation of the races with no spectators. The decision, in agreement with Swiss-Ski, will be taken in early October, depending on the evolution of the health situation. It is also possible at a later date that Crans-Montana could be awarded a third additional race (speed) on Friday 22 February,  and that the alpine combined could be replaced by a super G.

During the inspection, particular care was taken in regards to organisation of the departure and finish areas, as well as various improvements to the Mont Lachaux piste during summer, and security, accreditation, television, the media service and team accommodation. The European Cup was also on the agenda, with the FIS Women’s races coordinator, Jordi Pujol, present. Throughout the morning’s work, good relationships reigned between all participants, as they prepared for the 2021 edition of this Women’s Classic that is sure to be as attractive as ever.

Video (in French only): Laurent Morel et Johan Tachet/SkiActu

 

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The inspection group in the finish area led by Peter Gerdol (6th from left), race director for the FIS Women’s World Cup, and
Marius Robyr, president of the Crans-Montana Organisation Committee.

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When the professionals speak... Peter Gerdol and Markus Murmann, Crans-Montana race director.

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Presentation of the modifications underway on the "Traverse".

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From right to left: Marius Robyr, Jean-Philippe Vulliet, head of "Speed" for the FIS Women’s World Cup and Jordi Pujol,
FIS coordinator for the Women’s European Cup.

 

2 Jun

An absorbing 2020/21 season approaches!

Crans-Montana and Valais are already looking ahead to the 2020-2021 season. A season that will be launched on Saturday 3 October in Zurich, when the organisers of the 2025 Alpine World Ski Championships will be revealed, the Haut-Plateau resort is of course a candidate. Its rivals: Saalbach-Hinterglemm/AUT (favorite) and Garmisch-Partenkirschen/GER. Heavyweights !

Crans-Montana will be organising its now traditional men’s night slalom on Tuesday 29 December 2020, before continuing with the organization of two women’s European Cup downhill races on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 January 2021, then the World Cup races, one women’s downhill and one alpine combined, on the weekend of 23 and 24 January 2021.

Marius Robyr, executive director of the Crans-Montana/Valais bid and president of the World Cup races Organisation Committee, presents the various challenges to be faced next winter.  

Video (in French only): Johann Tachet/SkiActu

 

7 Apr

Urs Lehmann in the running for the FIS presidency

In an interview with Valentin Oetterli from the Keystone-ATS press agency, Urs Lehmann (51), the longstanding Swiss-Ski president, talks about being a candidate for the FIS presidency, his chances of being elected, and the person who should replace him at the head of the Swiss federation.

Urs Lehmann, you took your time to announce that you would be running as a candidate for the presidency of the FIS International Ski Federation. The time has come. Does this mean that you feel you have a good chance of becoming Gian Franco Kasper’s successor?
"I’ve analysed things and I believe that my chances of being elected aren’t bad.  We can keep the FIS presidency in Switzerland – although that’s been the case for the last 69 years already. But there’s no guarantee."

Marc Hodler from Bern was the FIS president for 47 years from 1951, and in 1998, Gian Franco Kasper from Graubünden succeeded him. And now Aargau’s Urs Lehmann could take over the helm. Some people are asking why trust should be placed in a Swiss president again ?
"Nationality, sex, colour of skin, none of this should matter. The person who is most suitable for the position should be elected. It’s up to me to convince the voters of my qualities and capacities. If at the end of the day they decide that they no longer want to place their confidence in a Swiss candidate, I’ll accept that."

During the many conversations that you’ve had during the past few months, which people and countries have shown they support you ?
"I can’t go into details. In fact, I’ve been interested in this position for quite a while, but I’ve always said that I wouldn’t do anything before Gian Franco Kasper resigned. In January, I went to see him and he was very open and transparent with me when discussing his situation - I knew a few things already, but not everything. I then made the effort to ask about the concerns of the associations who will be voting, and I thought about what I could do. As a result, I now know pretty much where I am, and which countries and regions are supporting me."

Why do you want to become FIS president ?
"For different reasons. I really enjoy my current position with Similasan (a company selling homeopathic products) and Swiss-Ski. But the FIS presidency is one of those opportunities that you probably only have once in your life. I’ve had the privilege of having such an opportunity once already in my life, when I became world downhill champion (1993). And now I’m convinced that I can make a success of this difficult and important task too. A lot of people can confirm that I’m up to the task. I feel there is great support on a national and international level."

What are the themes of your electoral campaign?
"I wrote a manifesto. It’s kind of my official electoral programme. It says, for example, that we must strengthen the sport. We have to find more enticing formats. The closer we get to this, the more athletes will have the chance to take part, and the more sponsors and money the system will create. These funds can then be reinvested into the sport. It’s an upward cycle and it’s something that we at Swiss-Ski have consistently followed. The second point is that if the sport is going to be more enticing, we have to be able to commercialise it more. For example, one subject that occurs to me is a tour in Asia. These markets are expanding – which is not the case in Europe. In real terms, there doesn’t have to be a revolution, but coherent evolution. This is important to me."

What are the other points in your manifesto?
"Governance has to be strengthened, for example, in regards to the questions of gender, and climate. Clear structures need to be created. The FIS also has to react proactively in the future. At the moment, it is still running behind on these issues, as Swiss skiing was at certain times, but we managed to regain control in order to take our destiny into our own hands.  I also want to see the FIS united and stronger. There are over 70 countries voting and in addition to this, 60 affiliated national federations, who don’t have the right to vote. Powerful federations have to stay powerful, while at the same time trying to strengthen the medium and weaker federations."

When you hear "FIS", what do you think of ?
"In my manifesto, it says: «Our future is strong». This expression has become my slogan. The FIS, as a governing body, is one of the strongest winter sports federations. Almost half of the medals awarded at the Winter Olympic Games are through sports managed by the FIS, so it has done a lot of good things in the past. The FIS has also had relatively few scandals and doping incidents in recent years. The association has a relatively positive image. Now it’s about bringing this solid construction into a new era. For me, it’s clear that things must change. At the beginning, there will be resistance, but I’m convinced that evolution is necessary and will happen."

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the FIS congress in Thailand, which should have been taking place in May, has been cancelled. The election of Gian Franco Kasper’s successor will now be taking place in autumn at the earliest. Do you regret the situation ?  
"All of the Covid-19 situation is a tragedy for humanity. For the FIS, where a change of generation was scheduled, it comes at the worst possible time. But we can’t do anything except wait and hope that the situation will be resolved before the traditional autumn meetings in Zurich."

Due to the postponement of the congress, your re-election as Swiss-Ski president is likely to take place at the delegates’ meeting in Frutigen at the end of June. Are you going to stand again ?  
"Yes, if it is possible for the delegates’ meeting to take place at that time. If I’m not elected FIS president, I’ll continue working for Swiss-Ski for another four years, but of course the association has succession planning.  At Swiss-Ski, we’re lucky that Peter Barandun (CEO and president of the board of directors of Electrolux Switzerland) is ready to take over office. But if it doesn’t work out between and the FIS and myself, I’ll remain president of Swiss-Ski, and him vice-president.

And what about Similasan?
"I’m definitely going to stay, but my role could change.This issue has already been discussed and feedback from the board of directors has been very supportive. Everything took place in the first quarter, because originally I wanted to announce my candidature at the World Cup finals in Cortina d’Ampezzo. »

Interview translation: Sarah Dunn

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 Urs Lehmann, as the letter of intent for the Crans-Montana/Valais 2025 candidature is presented to Gian Franco Kasper, the FIS president.

 

24 Feb

A thousand THANKS!

Advertising "Remerciements" in Le Nouvelliste from 26.02,.2020

2020-02-25 LORO-VS

Advertising "Remerciements" in Le Nouvelliste from 25.02,.2020

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24 Feb

Mont Lachaux: a piste worthy of the World Championships

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.

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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.