European Cup and Swiss Junior Championships at the Hublen

Tue, 09. Mar. 2021

More than 80 racers from all over the world came to the Saanenland in January to collect valuable European Cup points in two slalom races on 21 and 22 January at the Hublen. Less than a week later, on 27 January, the Swiss Junior Championships were also held in Saanen.

More than 80 racers from all over the world came to the Saanenland in January to collect valuable European Cup points in two slalom races on 21 and 22 January at the Hublen. Less than a week later, on 27 January, the Swiss Junior Championships were also held in Saanen.

Despite the pandemic and the difficult weather conditions, the organisers, greatly supported by members of the Schönried, Turbach-Bissen and Lauenen ski clubs, put on two European Cup races at the Hublen.

Originally, Melchsee-Frutt had wanted to host the two European Cup slaloms. At the beginning of the year, however, the races got cancelled. Two weeks before the start of the race, Mike von Grünigen received an enquiry as to whether the Saanenland would like to step in and organise the two races. Eventually the race committee only had ten days left to plan them. “In our well-coordinated team, everyone knew what they had to do,” says Urs Kunz, head of the race office, explaining the incredible efficiency.

By the time the first athletes arrived, accommodation, catering, piste preparation, timetable and, above all, the Covid-19 protection concept were ready. Even a parking service was called in, which proved to be necessary. An armada of team vehicles rolled up to the Hublen.

Not even a week later, the next – equally unexpected – race took place. Meiringen had to cancel the Swiss Junior Championships due to too much fresh snow. Ski Future Saanenland stepped in again at short notice with its slalom piste at the Hublen. The base was still good from the previous European Cup races. However, due to the weather, one of the two planned races still had to be cancelled.

“An employee of Swiss-Ski was on site at the European Cup races and saw the conditions at the Hublen,” explains von Grünigen. “When he heard about Meiringen’s cancellation, he immediately asked the Saanenland. The race, in which the U18 Swiss championship title was at stake, was very close to Swiss Ski’s heart. In order not to have to cancel this title competition, in addition to all the previous cancellations, we agreed.”

Organising a race at such short notice is only possible because so many helpers are available. “We must not forget that our helpers have jobs and run households, have families. And yet they take the time and work together to ensure that the races can be run smoothly. Without them, nothing would work,” acknowledges von Grünigen.

Among the skiers were also local competitors. “It was a struggle,” is how Belinda Schwenter from Schönried described the tough conditions at the European Cup race. Unfortunately, she dropped out in the second run. Luc Herrmann from Schönried was the best-placed local skier at the Swiss Championships with 9th place. Patrick von Siebenthal finished in 11th place.

Despite the adverse weather conditions at both races, the race organisation at the Hublen proved that the piste and the organisation behind it are absolutely championship-ready – even in record time.

BASED ON AVS/JENNY STERCHI

 

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