Alpine Young Guns: Corinne Suter
By Michael Mastarciyan
There are two kinds of people on this planet – cat people and dog people.
Up-and-coming Swiss all-rounder Corinne Suter is a cat person - and given the need for cat-like agility and reflexes to perform well in her chosen métier – this is a good thing.
“Yes I’m definitely a cat person,” Suter says, “I love cats for the simple reason that I’ve grown up with them, we’ve always had them as family pets.”
Corinne may be a feline fan, but unlike her kitty cats, she doesn’t spend the bulk of her day napping in sunny window sills digesting saucers of cream and bowls of Meow Mix.
Nope, as we all know, the life of a ski racer is much more physically active, with constant training both on and off snow, when Suter’s not tearing it up on race courses all over Europe and North America.
Speaking of tearing it up – Ms. Suter did a lot of that last season on two continents – grabbing podiums in almost every discipline.
Last December, two Nor-Am Cup GS podiums in two days in Aspen, Colorado. A few weeks later, in Valtournenche, France, a Europa Cup victory in GS.
Then, in March, at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships in Roccaraso, Italy – a bronze medal in Combined, topped off by second place finishes in Super-G, Super Combined and Slalom at Swiss Nationals a few weeks later.
We caught up with the 17-year-old racer from Schwyz, Switzerland recently, and quizzed her about her two favourite subjects – cats and ski racing….
MM: Okay Corinne, before we talk skiing, let’s talk kitty cats. How many do you own? What kind are they? What are their names?
CS: I have 4 cats; they are all normal European cats, not purebreds. Their names are Mitz, Sina, Chili and Stampfi.
MM: Your favourite food is Lasagna – which, coincidentally, is the favourite food of the feline cartoon character Garfield also – are you fan of Garfield?
CS: No, I’m not really fan of Garfield, but I know that he is very tricky. I prefer our four cats in reality.
MM: Cats sleep 16-20 hours a day, and most of the ski racers I know love their midday naps too - how many hours of sleep do you get a day?
CS: During the day, I never take a power nap, but at night I sleep almost 7-8 hours.
MM: Some people think cats have a lot of undesirable qualities. Is there anything you don’t like about cats?
CS: No, nothing
MM: Have you ever seen the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats?
CS: No, I haven’t seen the musical, yet.
MM: What about dogs? Would you ever consider getting one as a pet or are you strictly a cat person?
CS: I love all animals, but principally cats, because I’ve always had cats. I really don’t have time for a dog.
MM: Okay enough cat chat, let’s talk skiing. You’ve had considerable success in speed and tech events – do you consider yourself an all-rounder?
CS: Yes, at the moment I’m an all-rounder. I like to ski all the different events, but I prefer the speed races, because I love to go fast.
MM: Can you see yourself racing in all events on the World Cup someday?
CS: Yes I do, but it is very hard to manage all events.
MM: Do you have a favorite event?
CS: I love skiing all events, and at the moment I don’t have a favorite one, but let’s just say slalom is my least favorite.
MM: You raced in Aspen, Colorado and had a 2nd and 3rd place finish in GS last December – was that exciting?
CS: Yes, I was very happy and very proud. It was very cool to get on the podium in the USA because I know that I am on the right track.
MM: What was your overall US experience like? Did you do a little shopping too?
CS: It was very exciting and I did do some shopping. I bought some dresses and souvenirs.
MM: Your first major victory was a Europa Cup GS win in France, what was that like?
CS: I was very proud of myself, and also a little bit surprised about the victory.
MM: Slalom may not be your best event, but you did well enough in it to capture a bronze medal in Combined at Junior Worlds in Italy, how come?
CS: In slalom it’s so easy to ski out, but in Combined at Junior Worlds in Italy everything went well, and I was happy.
MM: Does the great season you had last year give you more confidence for the upcoming season?
CS: Yes, sure. I know now that I can be a winner, and what it takes to get on the podium. I hope that I will reach it again this year.
MM: What’s the most important thing you learned last season?
CS: I’ve learned that it’s very hard to reach the top, and you have to train really hard to get there. Everything has to fit because there are so many skiers who are very good out there.
MM: What’s the best piece of ski racing advice anyone has given you?
CS: The best advice was: “Just have fun and give it your best.”
MM: What’s the plan for this upcoming season, mostly Europa Cup, some World Cup too maybe?
CS: I feel like doing World Cup, but it will be my coach’s decision. I will ski all the events, and as many races as I can, World Cup, Europa Cup, FIS races and so on.
MM: Fabienne Suter is one of the stars on Switzerland’s World Cup team, are you related to her?
CS: No, we are not related. In my region there are many people who are named “Suter”, but they are not related, perhaps a long time before.
MM: Speaking of family members, you started skiing in the footsteps of your older brothers – are they racers too?
CS: No, they are not racers. But my youngest brother was a racer, and then he gave it up. Now he has a new hobby, he’s a haymaker.
MM: Who’s the best skier in your family – be honest!
CS: Honestly, it’s me…hahaha! No, everyone in my family skis really well!
MM: Did you have any ski racing idols growing up?
CS: My idol was Hermann Maier, and now it’s Lindsey Vonn.
MM: If you weren’t a ski racer what would you be?
CS: If I wasn’t ski racer, I would be a track and field athlete, this is my second preference.
MM: Have you had any time for a vacation this off-season? Do anything exciting?
CS: No, I had no time. I had final exams at school and now I’m doing a practical course in a hotel.
MM: How is off-season training coming along?
CS: Lots of conditioning all summer and some on-snow training camps. I’ll be in New Zealand for pretty much all of August.
All photos private