15 years after the retirement of Mike von Grünigen, another local skiing ace from Saanenland conquers the world cup: Mike’s son Noel von Grünigen.
There have been situations when Noel would have preferred his last name to be Meier rather than von Grünigen. “Because of my dad’s enormous success, I was under a lot of pressure from an early age at the children’s races.” But the young man, now 23, was able to meet these expectations in most cases. This is why he is now part of the Swiss national skiing team himself. In retrospective, Noel regards the heritage of his father Michael’s two giant slalom world cup victories more as a blessing than a curse: “My dad opened many doors for me. Thanks to him, I always had very good material right from the start. And growing up, I had the best skiing coach in the world as well.”
A dream comes true
Noel von Grünigen normally trained with his famous father on the local mountains near his village Schönried, the Rellerli or the Hornberg. From the Hornberg, Noel casts a dreamy glance towards the Wasserngrat. “That’s the steepest training slope in our region. I feel especially comfortable on steep terrain today because I used to train there regularly as a child.” A stroll through the pedestrian zone of Gstaad also evokes memories in the native of Schönried: “During my apprenticeship as a carpenter, they let me work on the construction of a 35 million chalet.” The giant slalom and slalom specialist is now ready for the next step. The legendary Adelboden world cup race awaits him, the venue where he can prove himself to the home crowd.