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Marco Odermatt’s love for Engelberg

22 October 2018

Positive comments abound when people talk about ski racer Marco Odermatt: young, gifted, exceptionally skilled, destined for greatness – yet easy-going, affable, frank, and down to earth. How does the 22-year-old deal with all that praise and all that pressure? And what role does Engelberg play in the life of this Nidwalden native?


Marco Odermatt is currently the greatest hope of the Swiss ski team. Marco grew up in Buochs in the canton of Nidwalden, and learned to ski on the Klewenalp near his home as well as on Engelberg’s Klostermatte (see the blog “There’s snow place like home”). He first competed at age six, and at the age of eight he won the Grand Prix Migros, the world’s biggest ski race for children and teenagers. Then, aged 20, he won five gold medals at the Junior World Championships. Last year, he closed the season with two podium finishes in the World Cup. “Once you’ve stood on the podium, you really want to do it again,” says Marco with his typical impish grin. He had a great summer, he’s feeling fit, and he’s ready for the start of the season in Sölden on 27 October.


Praised highly, but keeps his feet on the ground
While Marco’s goal for the season is to gain more spots on the podium – and maybe even to win gold at the World Cup – he points out that “the most important goal is to stay fit and well.” Marco has already suffered injury in his young career – in 2017 he had a meniscus tear. The fact that he prioritises his health is evidence of how grounded this young man is. He even managed to stay down to earth after recently retired Austrian superstar Marcel Hirscher made an electrifying statement last season: “He could be the overall World Cup winner, the Olympic victor – anything he wants to be.” Marco’s father criticised those comments on television, saying they were exaggerated. But while Marco feels very honoured by the praise, he adds: “I don’t let the pressure get to me.” Marco has stayed true to himself – good-tempered, open, honest: “Just because I can ski faster than other people, that doesn’t affect my personality.” He may be an exceptionally skilled giant slalom skier and have won an unprecedented five gold medals at the Junior World Championships, but he is still just a really nice guy: “My parents brought me up to be modest about my achievements, and didn’t go overboard with the praise.”

 


Goosebumps from the national anthem
Marco is a patriot, proud to be from Nidwalden, and proud to be Swiss: “This August I was at the Swiss Wrestling and Alpine Festival in Zug. It’s an amazing experience to be in a stadium and hear 56,000 people singing the Swiss national anthem.” Marco gets to travel all across the world, but he loves nothing more than coming back home: “Nidwalden may be small, but it has everything you need.”


A lifetime visitor to Engelberg
So how come a patriotic man of Nidwalden is promoting the ski resort of Engelberg-Titlis, which is in Obwalden? “Engelberg is where I became the skier I am today,” says Marco. He attended the Sportmittelschule in Engelberg for five years, graduating in 2017 with the third-best Matura results of his school year. “I have only good memories of that time,” he says. “I always felt at home in Engelberg.” Even as a young child he spent many hours skiing on the Titlis, with Skiclub Hergiswil. And even today he can be found in Engelberg when he has some free time. In winter he comes here to freeride, and in summer to go mountain biking or play golf.

Visit Engelberg and profit from guaranteed snow and excellent ski slopes just like Marco Odermatt: winter campaign

 

Written by: Andrea Hurschler
It has to be said: journalist Andrea Hurschler from Engelberg is a big fan of Marco Odermatt. She isn’t only impressed with his skiing technique, she also thinks he’s a really lovely person. 
Images: Engelberg-Titlis Tourism