Built For Perfection: Interview with Marco Odermatt
Handmade in Switzerland and sold the world over: skis made by Stöckli. Stöckli’s 80 or so employees manufacture in excess of 70,000 pairs of skis every year. The latter include occasional Special Editions, which are only available for a limited period. One such special edition has been developed for the coming season. And a racing athlete was involved in its design. Find out more in an interview with World Cup overall winner, double World Champion and Olympic champion Marco Odermatt.
Marco, what was your best moment last season?
The gold medal in the men’s downhill at the Alpine World Ski Championships in Courchevel will always be a special memory for me. But I’ve experienced many very intense, wonderful moments over the past season.
What are you particularly proud of?
The record score of 2042 out of 2600 possible points is for sure a milestone in my career. Winning 13 out of 26 World Cup races, finishing on the World Cup podium 22 times and then winning the overall World Cup for the second time: the past season was extraordinary and memorable in many ways.
In addition to all your races, successes and training, you’ve also developed and designed a ski with Stöckli. What kind of ski is it?
Yes, that was a really cool project and I enjoyed it a lot. It’s the Laser WRT Pro Marco Odermatt Edition, a mixture of FIS slalom ski and giant slalom ski. Super sporty and a whole lot of fun! Some of the technologies in this ski are even built into my racing skis – I think that’s really cool.
Tell us more about it. How did you get involved?
Generally speaking, Stöckli’s recreational skis are fitted with technologies that we use in racing and that Stöckli’s development team reckon are suited to the retail trade. What’s special about the Laser WRT Pro Marco Odermatt Edition, in addition to the racing technologies, is the design. I was able to work on this with Stöckli’s development team, so it has a lot to do with me.
To what extent is the design yours?
For one thing, my trademark, the lion, features on the top sheet of the ski. It’s an animal I find fascinating. A lion radiates strength and courage, qualities that a ski racer needs to be able to tackle the most dangerous slopes in the world. Then there’s a very special number printed on the ski, namely 22/23-2042. 2042 is the points record I achieved in the 22/23 season. And last but not least, the ski features various shades of brown, which I particularly like, because the color stands for reliability, authenticity and down-to-earthiness. All values that are particularly important to me personally.
What impressed you most during the development of this ski?
The dedication and passion of Stöckli’s employees. As with racing, every detail counts. And even though I’ve visited the factory a few times, I’m always in awe of Stöckli’s production process. So much is done by hand, and nothing’s left to chance. For example, 140 work steps are needed to complete a ski such as mine. I’m really impressed by that.
Would a career as a ski designer at Stöckli be something for you when you eventually take things easier?
I’m not thinking about the end of my career right now! I’m only 25 and I haven’t exhausted my sporting potential yet. But from today's perspective, I can well imagine staying connected to skiing after my active career – it would be only natural for me to contribute my know-how to the development process of ski equipment. Whether and in what form, we’ll see in due course.
The ski will only be available from October and there are only 1,000 of them worldwide. Do you already have one?
No, not yet. I’ve already seen and inspected the first few – they look great. However, I haven’t been able to take one home yet. Mine will probably also be ready in October, and I’m already looking forward to that.
Do you ever have time for recreational skiing in winter?
Once the season’s racing is over, I always take time off for a spot of leisure skiing. This spring, after the last race in Andorra, I went across to my favorite ski resort of Engelberg-Titlis, where Stöckli held its Ski Festival. You’ll also find me on touring skis now and then.
What do you particularly enjoy in terms of recreational skiing?
I just enjoy relaxing while I turn this way and that down a slope. Racing during the season involves tension and pressure, and as a competitor, I’m subject to a set schedule. So it’s wonderful when that all goes and I can just enjoy myself at my leisure.
What are you looking forward to next season?
Right now, I’m looking forward to spending as much time as possible on the lake and enjoying the summer. Once I get back to training on the snow, I’ll start looking forward to the winter and the coming season.