At the letter M at Bella Lui, meet Marius Robyr, an Alpine skiing icon. He’ll tell you the history of the main skiing events in Crans-Montana, as well as some of his best memories.
Alongside his civilian activity as a secondary school teacher in Crans-Montana, Marius underwent military training and became a brigadier, the highest rank for a militiaman. In this capacity, he commanded the Brigade de Forteresse 10, and also the Patrouille des Glaciers ski mountaineering race for 10 editions. Today he is president of the Organisation Committee for the Alpine Skiing World Championships in Crans-Montana, and head of the « Crans-Montana bid to organise the FIS Alpine Skiing World Championships in 2025 ». In 2004, he received the Fondation du Divisionnaire F.K. Rünzi prize, as recognition for securing international exposure for the Patrouille des Glaciers. In 2012, he was awarded the title «2011 Sports Organiser of the year in French-speaking Switzerland » by the Swiss Management Association.
Crans-Montana is one of the most renowned skiing destinations in Switzerland, and enjoys a great tradition of organising Alpine skiing races. It was in fact on the Valais Haut Plateau that the 1st official downhill race in the history of Alpine skiing was held. Sir Arnold Lunn and his father Henry were the ones to initiate this race, which took place on 7 January 1911 on the Plaine-Morte Glacier in Montana. In 1977, Crans-Montana organised its first World Cup races, followed by many other White Circus events, including the unforgettable FIS World Championships in 1987, and the World Cup Finals in 1992 and 1998. Thereafter, for a variety of reasons, Crans-Montana unfortunately had to resign itself to withdrawing from the circuit.
The resort’s return to the World Cup scene in 2008 is thanks to Marius Robyr. The Chermignon native managed to convince the political and tourist authorities how vitally important the World Cup races were for a ski destination such as Crans-Montana. To date, since the beginning of this promising new era, Crans-Montana has hosted no less than 18 FIS World Cup races, 18 European Cup races and 5 FIS races, not forgetting the 2009 European Cup finals and the Junior World Championships in 2011. Building on this experience, the ever more successful Organisation Committee now faces two great challenges: on one hand, managing the perfect organisation of the annual ladies’ races once again, a fixture awarded to the resort by the FIS International Ski Federation in 2016, and on the other hand, successfully leading the Swiss bid for the 2025 World Championships. The total transformation of a somewhat outdated finish stadium is one of the key points in this bid. The first plans to be drawn up have been praised by the FIS. The women would compete on the magical Mont-Lachaux piste, the men on the famous Nationale piste, with a majestic departure point at Bella-Lui, just like the 1987 World Championships.
Together with Swiss-Ski, Crans-Montana/Valais wants to be awarded the organisation of the FIS World Championships for a second time on the Haut-Plateau.
A legendary place in Alpine skiing, skiers launched themselves from here in the 1987 World Championships.
Sylvie Doriot Galofaro, Samuel Bonvin and Martial Kamerzin will tell you more about the 125 years project and the history of the resort.