A passion for flying
Dominique Gisin joined the World Cup for the first time in 2005 starting the Downhill race in Lake Louise. Her passion for speed took her a long way, and eight years and many injuries late she counts three victories, a second place and three third places on the World Cup Tour among her career’s biggest successes.
But if skiing started as a passion and turned into a career for Gisin, another activity went the opposite way. Unsure whether her injuries would unable her to be competitive in ski racing at a high level, Gisin applied for a program to become a military pilot, and got in.
“The story of my passion for flying goes hand in hand with the story of my injuries. There was a time in my life when I thought I was never going to make a career as a ski racer. The passion was there but injuries keep setting me back and I decided I needed a backup plan – I enrolled to become a military pilot and learned to fly.”
But in 2007 things change for Gisin as she lands her first podium, a second place in the Altenmarkt-Zauchensee Downhill and her pilot career falls into second plan.
“I had to choose if I wanted to ski or go into the military, I couldn’t do both and I chose to ski but I wasn’t ready to give up plying just yet. So I decided to pursue becoming a pilot of little planes and two years ago I finally got my license. It took me quite a few years because after the initial selection I didn’t fly for many years and as I was getting better results in World Cup it was hard to find the time to fly.”
How does one combine a fulltime job as a ski racer with studies for a pilot license? Well, Gisin found a way to make it work.
“I have always been a bigger fan of the flying part then of the sitting in a classroom part of getting my license. But I had to do both and it’s great that that part is over and now I can just go out and fly. I get about 25 hours of airtime during the year and it’s a great way to relax during the summer. Speed, nature, being fully exposed to all of it when in the little plane is so similar to what I do on skis. I love the tranquility and freedom flying gives me.
Now an established name on the Tour and one of the leading names of the Swiss Team, Gisin is once again coming back from an injury. After a nine month break due to the latest knee injury, Gisin was finally healthy again and ready to face the new season – four top 10 result that followed the surprising fourth place she achieved in Soelden give her hope that soon she might be shooting at a podium once again.
“All I wish for is that my knees stay healthy and if that is the case I can take things one day at the time, the focus now is the WM in Schladming and I can’t wait to see what i can do there.”
by Ana Jelusic