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

 DEPREZphoto sa, cransmontana

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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. 

DEPREZphoto sa, cransmontana

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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

 

DEPREZphoto sa, cransmontana

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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.  

 

23 Feb

"Extraordinary, fantastic, perfect competitions"

On Sunday, at the end of the third day of competitions, Marius Robyr talked about this very special edition in his role as president of the organising committee for the World Cup races in Crans-Montana.

"It was an absolutely extraordinary weekend. We had the weather on our side, the piste conditions were excellent, and the fans were quite simply fantastic".  In all, 31,000 supporters attended the three races, while the official ceremonies and bib draws attracted 3,000 people each evening at the Ycoor ice rink.

Marius Robyr appeared happy with the whole ensemble of ski events organised in the Haut-Plateau resort this winter. "From the night exhibition slalom in January to the European Cup and World Cup races, everything was a perfect success." As he is also the executive director for the Crans-Montana/Valais bid for the World Championships, he is convinced that the smooth running of this competition is a "good sign" in view of the choice of site that will be hosting the Worlds in 2025.

"It’s important to win over the 17 members of the FIS administrative council who have to decide between the three candidates, Crans-Montana, Garmisch and Saalbach, with the best possible presentations at the congress at the end of May", he continues "The motto for our presentation is the best of the best". For Marius Robyr, "Those at the FIS making the decision have to want to come to Crans-Montana".

Video: Johan Tachet/SkiActu

 

 

 

23 Feb

Federica Brignone champion in Crans-Montana

The Italian secured a win in Valais. Thanks to her victory in the combined, her fourth in Crans-Montana, she moves to the top of the World Cup standings. The Swiss only just missed podium places.

She didn’t dare believe it as she arrived in Crans-Montana, however she managed to do it. Federica Brignone leaves Valais with the red leader bib for the general World Cup standings. The Val d’Aosta athlete won the combined on Sunday on the Mont Lachaux piste, flying past the competition from the Super-G heat onwards. It is her fourth victory in 4 years in the discipline (5 races) in Crans-Montana. Furthermore, she won the very first race of the season in the discipline in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, and is heading for the Globe in the discipline, as she is 75 points in front of Wendy Holdener, just before the last race of the season in a week’s time in La Thuile (ITA).

In Crans-Montana, Federica Brignone benefited in particular from Petra Vlhova crashing out. The Slovak, second in the Super-G, was racing against the Italian for the victory, but straddled a gate. It should be noted that she has hurt her knee.  According to a few rumours, notably amongst the RAI and RSI, the holder of the third place in the overall World Cup standing has cartilage degeneration in the tibial plateau. Although she has been advised to rest, she decided to continue her season, as she still has a chance of winning the overall Globe.

Top of the overall rankings for Brignone

The podium was completed by the Austrian Franziska Gritsch and the Czech Ester Ledecka, who took 2ndand 3rd places on the World Cup podium.  As for the Swiss, they didn’t manage to continue their winning streak after two doubles in two days in the downhill. Michelle Gisin (8th in the Super-G) took the final 4th place, just 0″11 away from the podium. Wendy Holdener (10th in the Super-G) didn’t do so well in the slalom leg, and had to make do with 5th place in the final results.  

Thanks to her victory, Federica Brignone is at the top of the overall World Cup standings, 73 points ahead of Mikaela Shiffrin. Absent in Valais, the American is recovering from the sudden death of her father. A reminder; there are four stages left in the women’s World Cup this winter (La Thuile, Ofterschwang, Åre, Cortina).

DEPREZphoto sa, cransmontana/Agence Zoom

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1st Federica Brignone/ITA  
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2nd Franziska Gritsch/ALL  
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3rd Ester Ledecka/CZE  
   
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4th Michelle Gisin/SUI  
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5th Wendy Holdener/SUI  
podium

 

Michelle Gisin: “A positive result”

Michelle Gisin and Wendy Holdener fail at the foot of the combined podium in Crans-Montana. Although this 4th place is particularly welcome for the former, the second has regrets.

After Lara Gut-Behrami and Corinne Suter’s two doubles in the downhills, the Swiss had to make do with places of honour on Sunday in the combined that brought the weekend of competitions in Crans-Montana to a close. Finishing in fourth and fifth places, Michelle Gisin and Wendy Holdener were unable to fight for victory against Federica Brignone.

This fourth place is an excellent result for Michelle Gisin, who fell on Friday during the first downhill. “It wasn’t easy after my fall, it cost me a lot of energy. I cried all afternoon. It was very positive to let it all out, as I felt much better afterwards. So I’m really pleased with my result in the combined.” She missed out on a podium place by just 0.11, behind Ester Ledecka. Dit’s a shame for the Swiss skier who made a few little mistakes both in the morning Super-G and the slalom in the afternoon.

However she isn’t concerned about it. “I took too many risks, particularly in the Super-G, where I made a big mistake. So in the slalom, I wanted to attack, as that’s all there was to do. It’s a shame that I missed out on a podium place because of these mistakes, but the most important thing was to ski well, to attack and really go for it.”

Wendy Holdener: “I was hoping for much better”

Behind Michelle Gisin, Wendy Holdener had a very different view, and wasn’t satisfied with her performance at all. “My expectations were completely different”, confirms the double champion, who didn’t find the key to the discipline on the Mont Lachaux piste, having finished in third place in the combined in Crans-Montana last year.

“I need to analyse Federica (Brignone), to see what I can do better.”

On Sunday, Wendy Holdener already missed out in her Super-G, lagging one and a half seconds behind Brignone. A huge difference, when we know that the piste had already warmed by the slalom.

Video: Johan Tachet/SkiActu

 

 

 

22 Feb

The «White Circus » welcomes the «Jodelcircus»!

The sold-out Oesch’s die Dritten concert on Saturday night in Le Régent congress centre tennis centre was a huge success. The most popular folk music group in Switzerland impressed and thrilled some 1,000 spectators. Their style is a combination of tradition, charm and virtuosity, emphasised by the crystal-clear voice of Melanie, a real yodel virtuoso. Oesch’s die Dritten combines tradition and modernity like few other groups.

It is hardly possible to imagine the national or international folk music scene without the Oesch’s; Dad Hansueli, Mum Annemarie, and their three children, Mélanie, Kevin and Mike, and their accordianist, Urs Meier. One of the highlights of the evening was the performance of the World Cup Crans-Montana anthem, initiated by Hugo Steinegger and penned by Melanie. Les Amis de Sonville, an extremely friendly group from Nendaz, had the task of warming up the crowd. Which they did, very successfully ! Natal Borgeat, a skilled flag thrower, and an alphorn trio consisting of Edward Aymon, Victor Bonvin and Jean-Claude Rion brought a touch of the mountains to the evening.

Hugo Steinegger, Vice-President of the World Cup race committee  and organiser of the two musical performances at the ice rink and the tennis centre in Crans-Montana, has already promised that there will be another musical event during the next Ski World Cup.

Photos: Luciano Miglionico/DEPREZphoto sa, cransmontana

 

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 Video: Johan Tachet/SkiActu