The junior hopefuls Michael Schärer and Moritz Thönen are 21 years old and both grew up on Lake Thun. They learned their tricks from scratch and first competed in the Snowboard World Cup as teenagers. At the end of January they were selected by Swiss Snowboard and will represent Switzerland at the Olympic Games in February in the Slope Style and Big Air disciplines.
Freestyle parks on their doorstep
It is no coincidence that the two Bernese Oberlanders focused on freestyle starting at an early stage. In Grindelwald-First, one of the most famous freestyle ski resorts in Switzerland is practically on their doorstep. "Thanks to the constant expansion of the snowparks, Jungfrau Railways has significantly optimised our training opportunities over the years," says Moritz Thönen. Michael Schärer adds: "Of course, we find it particularly cool that Jungfrau Railways has hired Gian Simmen to run the freestyle offer". He is not only his role model, but was also once his coach. The promotion of young talent in winter sports is central to Jungfrau Railways. This is why they have supported the two snowboarders for two years as part of a sponsorship commitment. "By taking part in the Olympics, they are important ambassadors for winter sports and for our ski resort", explains Urs Kessler, CEO of Jungfrau Railways, who hopes that the fairy tale of Gian Simmen in Nagano will repeat itself 20 years on.
Jungfrau Railways at the House of Switzerland
Jungfrau Railways will closely follow the competitions in which its talents participate. From 7 to 25 February 2018, the company will be the exclusive tourism partner at the House of Switzerland in South Korea. Jungfrau Railways' intention with this appearance is to present Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe to sports fans and get South Korean visitors interested in winter sports. A prominent contributor to this aim is Gian Simmen, the first snowboard half-pipe Olympic champion. Since November 2016, he has been working with Jungfrau Railways, and he and his team are ensuring that the half-pipe and the entire Snowpark in Grindelwald-First are in the best winter condition possible.
Pioneering achievement in Asia
South Korea is one of the most important target groups that visit the Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe. Jungfrau Railways had already started actively working with the Asian market in the 1980s as well as established a network of representatives in various countries since 1997. With this pioneering work, Jungfrau Railways has managed to establish its Top of Europe brand in Asia, particularly in South Korea, and assert itself as a market leader.