Versatility now goes hand in hand with consistency for Michelle Gisin, our ambassador

By claiming her second podium this winter in Åre, Michelle Gisin has proved – if any further proof was needed – that she is back on top form. It is now certain that she will continue to ski in all disciplines right to the end.

It's something we’ve come to expect this winter, but once again Michelle Gisin was smiling at the finish line of a World Cup slalom, this time in Åre. As well as claiming her second podium of the winter after Lienz, the skier from Engelberg confirmed her status as one of the world's best slalom specialists. Currently fourth in the discipline rankings, she has only finished outside the top 6 on three occasions in ten races this season.

The first course by Swiss coach Denis Wicki obviously suited her, but the second, staked out by Livio Magoni, could have cost her dearly. However this wasn’t the case, as although she let Mikaela Shiffrin - in her 'comeback'- streak ahead, and the great Croatian hope Zrinka Ljutić also got ahead of her, she managed to beat Germany's Lena Dürr and Sweden's Anna Swenn-Larsson by 0.01 and 0.02 respectively.

Brief but efficient training

"It's just so cool," she exclaimed. "There was also a bit of luck involved today because I don't have much of a margin over those chasing me, but it's quite incredible to be able to be so consistent. I'm really surprised by this consistency." It has to be said that last summer, Michelle Gisin had planned to put slaloms on hold. She didn’t train very much in the discipline, in all she ended up with three days in Ushuaïa, two in Diavolezza and a few runs in Levi before the start of the season."But I was lucky, especially in Ushuaïa, where we had great conditions," says the double Olympic combined champion. "And I just needed to do a few turns to get my feeling back."

There's now no question of drawing a line under this discipline which has given her so much (notably 9 of her 21 World Cup podium finishes). "I'm not going to give up slalom, that's for sure," she confirms."Obviously, it would probably be better to do just three disciplines, but I really don't know which to stop. Giant is my least favourite discipline at the moment, but I'm sure I'll be able to get back to my best level. Besides, it's the foundation, so you have to do it anyway. And my second worst discipline at the moment is downhill, but I love it and you have to do it for the super-G so...I'm not going to put anything aside, I'm too 'old' for that. Besides, I'd rather ski in a race than train during the winter."

"I managed to hang on in there when things weren’t going so well."

Michelle Gisin has made up her mind. She just has to hope that her versatility continues alongside her consistency.

"My season has been extremely positive so far," she continues."Last year, I managed to hang on in there when things weren't going so well, and that's paying off today. I'm very proud and happy.I fought hard, and I'm back in the top 10 overall (editor's note: 9th). And her injury in Cortina d'Ampezzo didn't affect her that much in the end."I didn't think I'd be able to come back so quickly, but I've worked hard for it, and my whole team has helped me in the process."

Without getting ahead of herself, the skier from Engelberg is already looking to the future, and is delighted to be continuing to evolve with the speed team, which she joined last summer. "Also there's a way of putting together a group that will focus a little more on the Giant. Jasmina (Suter) is truly a queen of the Giant, Priska (Nufer), Jasmine (Flury) and Corinne (Suter) are also capable of going fast in this discipline. They all know how to ski really well. " We haven't heard the last of Michelle Gisin's exploits, and that's excellent news.

Photos: Agence Zoom