Battling ski cross fever with college pressure
Many cubic metres of snow are needed to build all the turns, waves and jumps for spectacular ski cross downhill slopes. Elements in which ski crossers can prove their athletic talent, demonstrated by tactics, technique, perfect balance and enough speed to beat fellow competitors at the finish line. End result: victory and a medal! This is not all though. Yves Keller (23) from Zurich, Switzerland, had been fascinated by ski crossing since childhood. “As long as I can remember I have spent weekends with my grandparents and parents in the mountains” says Yves. Hiking in summer, and skiing in the winter. “Speed fascinates me,” admits Yves, who often went to races as a member of the Ski Club Parpan in the hope of winning a medal. He watched a ski cross race one day and was immediately hooked. Says Yves, “those races are for everyone, not just for the World Cup or Olympics”.
In 2010, “ski cross” was held as a new Olympic sport in Vancouver / Canada for the first time. The course had challenging steep curves and set high standards for the competitors to reach.
During the 2010/2011 and 2012/2013 winter seasons, Yves took part in several ski cross races . ” My best result in an individual race was probably a second and third place , as well as the fifth or sixth place in the overall standings of the Audi Ski Cross Tour “, he recalls. ( The Audi Ski Cross Tour is a national race series in Switzerland and was founded in 2009.) Unfortunately, he did not compete in any more races after that. Military service came along first and now it’s his studies at the University of Zurich which are taking up a lot of his spare time. However, Yves’ heart still beats for winter sports. Even though he did not compete in the freestyle discipline ski cross in Sochi / Russia in 2014 – where the Frenchman Jean-Frédéric Chapuis won gold in ski cross – the winter months, the snow, the mountains are still in Yves’ blood.
While Swiss professionals go to training camps in Saas-Fee (Valais), the amateur freestylers practice balance, stamina and stability on alpine slopes with slaloms and moguls. Those months with no snow are spent taking part in endurance sports such as football, jogging and sometimes water skiing, all of which keep them fit. “If there is no snow, you have to get creative!”
Finally, I wanted to know from Yves what were his dream-holiday destinations. “I love powder and deep snow. Heli-skiing in Canada, in Alaska or in the Swiss Alps would be cool.” And a summer destination? “That would be San Diego or New York; the USA in general. But I’m also happy to go sailing on Lake Zurich”.
P.S. Do you like snowy winter landscapes and winter sports? Let us inspire you for your next winter holiday