There’s snow place like home

02 October 2019

Lena Häcki (biathlon), Fabian Bösch (freestyle), Michelle and Marc Gisin (downhill skiing), and Marco Odermatt (downhill skiing) are promoting Engelberg as a skiing destination. Each of the high-performing athletes comes from Engelberg, apart from Marco, and they all like spending as much of their scant free time here as they can. 

Engelberg: A completely different world
So how come Marco Odermatt, who is actually from Buochs in Nidwalden, is promoting Engelberg? He loves his Nidwalden home, but Engelberg is where the five-time Junior World Championships gold medallist became the skier he is today. “I learned to ski on the Klostermatte, and spent lots of time on Engelberg’s slopes. And I trained as a racer at the Sportmittelschule.” Marco comes back to Engelberg whenever he can – to ski, mountain bike, or even to play golf. “I love the fact that a short car journey takes you to Engelberg – and into a completely different world.”

Home sweet home
Alpine ski racer Marc Gisin also loves coming back to Engelberg. He enthuses about that moment on the homeward journey when he rounds the last curve on the mountain road and the Titlis appears from behind the trees: “When I see that panoramic view before me, my body automatically starts to wind down.” That’s a feeling he probably shares with all Engelbergers. And when the Titlis and the other mountains around Engelberg are covered with white powder, the pulses of our five athletes beat faster with anticipation, as they look forward to carefree days in the snow.

Engelbergers learn to ski straight from the cradle
Regardless of the sport they have chosen to specialise in, Lena, Fabian, Marco, Michelle and Marc all learned to ski before they were out of nappies. They had their first experiences on the slopes from around the age of two. “When you grow up here, you automatically learn to ski,” says Lena. Little Lena was such an enthusiastic skier than she even left her house without permission in order to ski alone on the Klostermatte. Michelle remembers racing her father on her little legs all the way down from Rotegg to Trübsee without stopping. Marco was so young when he learned to ski that he has to rely on other people’s stories of how it was. But he does recall riding up and down the slopes for hours on end as a small child, leaping enthusiastically over every hillock.

A good place to start a family
All five of the athletes sing Engelberg’s praises. “For me it’s the place,” says Fabian Bösch. “I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. The mountains, the views, all the opportunities to do sport – it’s paradise!” Michelle loves the mountain scenery best: “It’s so beautiful. More beautiful than anywhere else. I love doing sport surrounded by this scenery.” And the athletes aren’t just trotting out these phrases for an advertising brochure; it is what they feel deep in their hearts. Lena Häcki is already thinking of the time when her world-class career is over: “I can imagine settling down here and starting a family.”

A place to unwind
People who grow up in Engelberg have good chances of embarking on a career in winter sports. But for these five athletes, it’s also the place where they feel at home, and where they feel good. A place where they can unwind. 

Tips from the athletes
If you’d like to see Engelberg the way Olympic and World Cup champions do, take a look at our ski stars’ personal tips for things to do in Engelberg: Tips of the Stars

Written by: Andrea Hurschler
Andrea Hurschler may not ski quite as fast as these five young athletes, but she shares their passion for snow, and their love for Engelberg. 
Images: Engelbrg-Titlis Tourimus