Michelle Gisin: “One of my biggest dreams”

Michelle Gisin, the charismatic and much-loved ambassador for the 2027 Crans-Montana Alpine World Ski Championships bid, finished third in the overall World Cup standings and has once again continued to improve this winter. With her capacity for good performances in all disciplines, her future looks bright. 

It was a very emotional moment for Michelle Gisin when she took the third step of the podium in the overall World Cup ranking on Sunday. Although the skier from Engelberg is used to being part of the award ceremonies this winter, in Lenzerheide she almost took the wrong place, as she climbed up onto the second step. It’s perhaps only a matter of time before she does though, as her progress has been linear over the past few years. She has been battling it out against Petra Vlhova at the top of the rankings for a long time, but the Slovakian has finally managed to get ahead, and has now overtaken Lara Gut-Behrami, who got off to a flying start a few weeks ago.

But this season has still been “Micken’s” best in terms of results, at least in the World Cup. “Taking my place on this podium is very emotional, as I’ve been dreaming of this ever since I was a little girl", said the Swiss skier with the friendliest smile in the world. When I finished my Giant on Sunday, I was very emotional, and I was also able to share it with my family. Being on this podium, while also being 4th in the Giant and the Slalom over the season makes me very proud. It’s really wonderful.”

Brilliant despite her fatigue

And in Graubünden, Michelle Gisin ended her season with two convincing results after a more complicated weekend in Åre. The Obwaldian climbed onto yet another podium, her 6th this winter, in the slalom and took a solid 5th place in the Giant. “The fatigue is immense, she admitted. It’s been an incredible season, ending with a great result. I fought hard today (editor’s note: Sunday), it was really intense and very difficult. And Saturday was also very special. It was my first podium place in a slalom in Switzerland, it was wonderful.”

It’s hard to find anything negative about Dominique and Marc’s sister. “This winter I took a big step forward in the Giant with these first podium places, and finishing on the box four times in the slalom has been really valuable”, she says. On top of this, I’ve rediscovered really great feeling and confidence in my speed. It’s great because every time I’ve been at the start gate, I’ve said to myself: ‘you can manage something really good’. It’s an amazing feeling. “

Are your sights set on the crystal globe?

“We would have put our name to this a year ago, to see her always up there in all the disciplines", adds her coach, Denis Wicki. “She has really put in a string of good performances, and her uphill curve should mean that she can dream of the crystal globe next season. “It’s important to continue progressing", she confirms. However I don’t think about the results straight away, but rather in terms of performance.” 

A plan made with Denis Wicki should allow her to achieve more wins and reach the top of her game. “That’s where there is a difference between the top two,” says the Olympic combined champion.  “You need to be good at speed too. But as I often say, the big Globe is not a goal, it’s more a dream. There are too many factors playing a part to say whether I’m going to get there. I already want to continue skiing at my level.” 

The Valaisan coach adds: “Michelle has to win the disciplines that she is best at, and today that is the Giant and the slalom. She has to win in both, several times, and afterwards she’ll do speed, when the conditions allow. Then she’ll have the level and the credibility to win the crystal globe, but not before then. The goal is set for next year, we’ve already talked about it. We know where we’re going.” A trip to Cerro Castor, close to Ushuaïa (ARG) is already planned this summer with certain skiers from the Swiss team to prepare for next season. Provided that the pandemic allows it, of course.

Photos: Agence Zoom