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SKI

Swiss skier Gut: ‘I’m not in a hurry, I want to come back strong’

Swiss alpine skiing star Lara Gut says she found balance and made peace with herself during the latest lengthy lay off in her injury-blighted career.

Swiss skier Gut: 'I'm not in a hurry, I want to come back strong'
Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP
The 26-year-old was the poster girl for the 2017 world championships, but she badly damaged knee ligaments in Saint-Moritz in February as her only reward was a bronze in the super-G.
   
“I learned the importance of being at peace with oneself during those six months,” she told a press conference on Tuesday after starting training in early September.
   
“It's always been my greatest challenge finding a balance between what I have to do and what is good for me,” said Gut, who missed the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver after a dislocated hip.
   
If fit, all rounder Gut would be a favourite to finally clinch a gold medal at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games in February.
   
“This winter I'll take more breaks and find more space for myself,” promised Gut, who admitted that she was unhappy before her latest injury.
   
“I did everything I could as an athlete, but not enough for me as a person.”
   
Gut though will skip the season-opening giant slalom on October 28th at Soelden, an event she won last year, delaying her return until late November when the World Cup heads to North America.
   
“Soelden is special. Normally I ski already in July. I'm not in a hurry, I want to come back strong,” said Gut, who will look to wrest back her title from Amercian sensation Mikaela Shiffrin.

SKI

Switzerland heavily criticised for welcoming foreign skiers

Italy has hit out at Switzerland for failing to prevent foreign skiers from hitting the slopes. Some have gone so far as to blame Switzerland for the spread of virus mutations across Europe.

Switzerland heavily criticised for welcoming foreign skiers
The mighty Matterhorn lies on the border with Italy. Photo by AFP
Italy's government last week blocked ski resorts from reopening, the day before skiing was due to be allowed for the first time this winter season due to coronavirus restrictions.
There is also a ban on non-essential travel until February 25th.

“It's a disaster. For a week now, we have been readying the slopes for the opening and preparing the health protocol,” said Denis Trabucchi, an Italian ski instructor. 

But the ban has not stopped Italian snow enthusiasts from hitting the slopes on the Swiss side of the border, as Switzerland has kept its ski infrastructure open despite the pandemic.

Many Swiss and Italian pistes lie close to each other so it is an easy commute from one resort to another.

The mayors of Italian border towns are annoyed that local skiers are ‘emigrating’ to Swiss ski slopes, according to the Provincio di Como newspaper.

“Cross-border skiers are not as numerous as cross-border workers, of course, but ski traffic has increased,” said Massimiliano Tam, mayor of Villa di Chiavenna, a town in Lombardy.

He said that despite bans on such border hopping, many Italians rent apartments on the Swiss side of the frontier so they can ski.

Roberto Galli, the mayor of Livigno, a ski resort in the Italian Alps, is also livid at the “cross-border ski mobility”.

“Customs controls are really limited” he said, calling for more rigorous checks “especially for Italian cars with ski racks and snow on the roof”.

Italian authorities even went as far as blaming Switzerland for the spread of the pandemic across Europe. 

Walter Ricciardi, the head of the Italian government's coronavirus task force, said Switzerland's decision to keep ski slopes open throughout winter, while neighbouring countries shut down theirs, allowed the British strain of coronavirus to arrive on the continent.

READ MORE: Is Switzerland to blame for Europe’s third wave of coronavirus?

A similar situation occurred in December, when French skiers tried to sneak into Switzerland to ski.

France’s authorities quickly announced that French residents heading abroad to ski would have to self-isolate for seven days on return and that border checks would be stepped up in certain areas. 

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What are the Covid-19 rules for skiing in Switzerland this winter? 
 

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