"Position the region as a high-quality training site for new generations"
The upgrading of the Jorasse ski slope in Les Diablerets is about to be completed. What kind of impact will these improvements have on Les Diablerets and the Vaud Alps?
Simon Rouèche (SR) : A huge impact. In terms of leisure sports, the installation of cable cars will improve comfort and will allow us to give a new boost particularly to our luge run, the longest in Switzerland. But beyond that, the improvements to the slope itself will allow us to physically separate leisure skiing from training and competition. Both will be operable at the same time and in continuity, which was not the case until now. This is a fundamental change that will put this region back on the Swiss winter sport training map and position the region as a high-quality training site for new generations. Also, the full lighting of the slope will allow new top quality evening training. It will also offer extended opening hours for leisure ski, which is a big request from our customers.
Regarding the hosting of competitions, this will mean big changes also?
SR : Absolutely. Remember that there has not been any major international competition in Les Diablerets for more than 15 years. In terms of FIS World Cup races, it goes back in time even further. Upgrading the slope will revive all this. This winter, we are already organising a European Women's Cup, which we intend to maintain over the years. We need to reinforce our event-organisation experience. I would like to take this opportunity to make a call for volunteers who are willing to help in making this European Cup a success; we will need around 120 volunteers. More information can be found on our website. Our goal in the long term - let’s be ambitious - would be to host FIS World Cup events again. This would be sensational for the entire region.
What is your relationship with the International Ski Federation (FIS)? What do they think of these developments?
SR : Our relationship is solid. I think I can safely say that they literally fell in love with this new slope. During their last visit, they told us that this was, and I quote, "a new jewel in Western Switzerland". This obviously mean a lot for the future and it’s wonderful for the team who has been working tirelessly in making this project a reality.