"The Real Ski Fans are Coming Now"
For fans of skiing, testing skis in Zermatt is a firmly established event. Even before anyone in one of the big cities even starts to think about winter, the passionate and skilled practitioners of this sport have already started to turn their way down the ski pistes. Gianni Cabassi, the head of the Ski Testing Center, then has his hands completely full. The Ski Test package is bookable from the 15th october to the 27th November 2016.
Together with his colleague Simon Kronig, Gianni Gabassi directs the Ski Test Center at Trockener Steg (2,939 m). His most important tool is his screwdriver. With that, he and his 16 colleagues fix and work on the ski bindings, which are fitted to the personal ski boots of the Test Center guests. There are 175 ski models available.
And this is how it works: You bring your personal equipment, such as ski helmet, poles, boots and pull on your ski suit. In the hustle and bustle together with other ski fans, the trip is by gondola to Trockener Steg, advice and trying out: "Most of the guests already know which model ski they want to try out," explains Gianni Cabassi. Others are happy to hear about the different types of skis. Are "all-mountain skis" requested? Or slalom, or carving? The guests often come from sports shops, which offer ski equipment. The sales staff wants to know what they are talking about. But what they all need to know is the length of the boot’s sole of the personal ski boots and their own weight – this makes the adjustment of a ski model as fast as possible.
There are often also loyal guests between 30 and 50 years old. 60 percent of them are men and 40 percent women. They want to look at things for the coming season: skis that are suitable for them. They stand on a platform so that the skis can be adjusted. Skis for fresh snow, for carving, off-piste skis, and so on and so forth. "On busy days we take care of 700 persons" says Cabassi. He points to his well-trained team: "Fitting a ski model takes less than one minute."
A Long Tradition
Gianni Cabassi knows that "the real and very good skiers are coming now." They then have the pistes to themselves. "Sometimes, a specific ski model is a real drawing card," says Cabassi. When the Swiss ski racer Didier Cuche won one race after another with Head skis, everyone wanted to ski on the same model ski. Or when Rossignol came out with a relaunch and a beautiful red ski, everyone tried to get the very same ski.
Multifaceted Winter Sport
Gianni Cabassi himself not only likes to be on downhill skis. Sometimes he likes to take the train shuttle to Täsch and take a few rounds on the cross-country track. When the ski test time comes to an end in November, Gianni can be found on the sunny terrace of a mountain restaurant. Or together with guests, who would like to use his skiing expertise as a ski teacher and skillfully run down the piste to the valley.
Ski test info
From 15th October to 27th November 2016, 175 ski models from 14 ski brands can be tested: Atomic, Blizzard, Dynastar, Elan, Fischer, Head, Kästle, K2, Movement, Nordica, Rossignol, Salomon, Scott and Völkl. The ski area of Zermatt offers the possibility to ski the entire year. In summer, on 21 km of pistes. In winter, continuously increasing up to 360 km in Zermatt and Italy with Cervinia and Valtournenche.