Q&A Michelle Gisin
Michelle Gisin, you are currently training in Argentina. This training camp is an important milestone in the summer preparation. Can you tell us about it?
Is travelling to the other side of the World for skiing something you like in summer?
Yes I really do like it. The southernmost place to ski in the world is very beautiful and I enjoy the nature and being back in winter down there.
Could you collect enough windsurfing moments? How was your summer?
I can never collect enough windsurf time. But I had a great summer and I could spend as much time as possible with Luca (de Aliprandini).
Summertime is also dryland season and this training requires lots of discipline. Is this something natural for you?
I love dryland training and being in the gym. It amazes me how far one can push oneself and one's body. It’s fascinating to see the progress because after the season and some time off, I always start step by step back into training so every week there’s lots of improvement.
What do you enjoy the most when you get back on the skis?
The freedom on snow and simply the feeling on my skis.
There is another burning question: which disciplines are you training and focusing on?
You started your World Cup career focusing on slalom. What make you choose this discipline?
My mom and my siblings. No I always loved slalom and I had my breakthrough in European Cup in this discipline. I wanted to focus on it because after my ACL injury I had troubles skiing well in GS (my best discipline back then) and I was better in slalom. I am convinced that it was important for me to find my place and get experience in one discipline before I was ready to start in the other events.
Last season, you started in your first World Cup downhill and scored a 7th place right away. How do you explain this?
Still sounds crazy to me. Speed is something we talked about a lot about in my family. It’s now that I start to understand many of the things that have been said. I’m sure that hearing my siblings analyze their races helped me a lot when I started for the first time in Val d’Isère. They taught me the right amount of respect and how you work on your own fear to turn it into that respect of the course. Also they put me into the right tuck position when I was around ten years old so…
In which discipline do you think you could be the most successful?
Hard to say. Somehow, I still want it to be in slalom, but I think it is going to be downhill. But let’s see what the future holds.
Which one is your favourite discipline?
As I read this question every single one popped in my head for another reason. So I say skiing is my favourite.
Being an all-rounder comes together with a pretty intensive World Cup season.
To what extend do your different disciplines benefit from one another?
Speed helps me find my freedom, my joy. Slalom sometimes breaks your heart because if you are just 0.02 off per gate (what can be only a few centimeters) you feel terrible. In downhill you can make a great turn even if you’re some metres further on the right or the left side. But slalom teaches me the mental strength and the technique, just like giant slalom.
What do you like the most when you’re on the World Cup Tour?
Seeing the world and being able to compete at the highest level is awesome.
The 2016/17 season was indubitably the most successful you had so far, with a first World Cup podium, and a silver medal at the World Championships in alpine combined.
What’s your most memorable moment?
For sure the World Championships in St. Moritz. The home crowd was wonderful and I enjoyed it so much.
Was there anything special in your preparation?
I changed my spring training to finally get rid of my hip problems. This helped me a lot and gave me a lot of stability.
Would you have thought before starting the season that you would reach that level?
You always work hard and hope for it to happen, but it also takes some luck. So I’m lucky and happy I reached it.
2018 is an Olympic season with PyeongChang 2018 and we can imagine that the good results of last season inspired you for more.
In which disciplines do you hope to participate?
Hmmm all of them? Just kidding. I want to qualify for slalom and combined at first for sure. It won’t be easy for me in the other disciplines but downhill would be the next and most exciting discipline for me because I fell in love with the downhill track in JeongSeon right away.
Regarding your great results there, how confident are you for those races?
I’m looking forward to it and I hope I can build even more confidence with every training run.
To what extend can you benefit from the experience of your sister, who became downhill Olympic champion in Sochi?
She helps me a lot right now to know how to plan and to get along with the increased amount of races I will face this season. Also how to handle a good preparation without getting lost in too many details.
The environment you live in is a decisive factor for success. You are surrounded with passionate people, deeply involved in ski racing.
How is the spirit within your team? Are you friends or rivals first?
We are athletes first. Which is the perfect spirit in my opinion. We are training together in order to get better and improve every day and I’m lucky to be in such a focused team. As soon as training is over, we are having a very good time together and are good friends. So there’s no rivality in the sense of envy, jealousy or something. But we are for sure pushing each other to ski faster, which is great.
Dominique and Marc, your two siblings, are also successful World Cup skiers. What can you learn from them? Or what’s the best piece of advice they ever gave you?
My siblings are the first ones I ever looked up to and I am their biggest fan since day one. My brother always told me that rest is a weapon and my sister showed me that even if all odds are against you, you can still go through it with grace and succeed.
Your Italian boyfriend Luca DeAliprandini also became an important of your life. How is it to be together with another World Cup skier? Do you manage to see each other during winter?
It is not the easiest relationship I guess but it’s very much worth it. We don’t see each other often during the season, but the great thing is that neither of us has to be at the office from 8:00 to 18:00, so we can spend whole days together in summer. When we’re training, we’re doing almost everything together. Or to be honest, I’m running behind him, trying to keep up without having a heart attack.