Pirmin Zurbriggen

Pirmin Zurbriggen ( born February 4, 1963 in Saas -Almagell ) is a retired Swiss ski racer. He is one of the most successful ski racers of all time and one of the most outstanding Swiss athletes in the 1980s. Zurbriggen won the World Cup four times, and 40 World Cup races. He is one of the few winners in all five disciplines. In his three World Cup appearances, he won nine medals ( four gold, four silver and one bronze ) in Olympic Games ever a gold and bronze medal. Today Zurbriggen is owner and president of the Valais Ski Association. His son Elijah and his younger sister Heidi are or were also skier.

Sports career

Originally from the rear Zurbriggen Saas Valley was at the age of four years for the first time on skis and denied the age of seven, the first student race. In 1976 he was at Lenzerheide Swiss Junior champion in giant slalom and repeated this success in 1977 in Soerenberg. A few months later it took the Swiss Ski Association on the junior training group. At the Junior European Championship 1980 in Madonna di Campiglio, he made for the first time attracted international attention when he won the gold medal in the downhill race.

On December 7, 1980, Zurbriggen in the downhill in Val d'Isere in the World Cup for the first time used and reached the 36th place. The first World Cup points he won on 4 January 1981 as the fifth of the combination in Ebnat- Kappel. In Wengen, he celebrated on 24 January 1982 by winning the prestigious Lauberhorn combination of his first World Cup victory. Exactly two months later, his first victory came in a single race in the giant slalom in San Sicario.

With two victories, Zurbriggen established during the 1982/83 season on top of the world. In the season 1983/84 he decided with a total of four wins the overall World Cup standings for himself and was also first in the giant slalom discipline standings. Before the Olympic Winter Games in Sarajevo in 1984 Zurbriggen counted for among the favorites, but he could not stand up to expectations. He was eliminated in the giant slalom and the slalom and missed the fourth exit the bronze medal at ten hundredths of a second.

The 1984/85 season began with a series of victories, the two downhill victories on the Streif in Kitzbühel represented the climax. However Zurbriggen withdrew it an injury to the meniscus, his participation at the World Ski Championships 1985, which took place three weeks later in Bormio, seemed at risk. In the racetrack clinic in Muttenz he was operated by means of a newly developed arthroscopic method. To the " knee of the Nation" never developed into the Switzerland -seen-before hype; the rapid healing process made ​​daily headlines. Just two weeks later was Zurbriggen the surprise of many on skis again. In Bormio, he won the world title in the downhill and in combination it came up the silver medal in the giant slalom. Based on these results, he was elected to the Swiss Sportsman of the Year.

During the 1985/86 season is Zurbriggen was able to place in all five disciplines at least once in the top five. Because of the then usual prank results, however, won the Luxembourg Marc Girardelli as the year before the World Cup. His most successful season was Zurbriggen 1986/87. With a total of eleven victories, he not only won the overall World Cup, but also four of five votes discipline, which has never been done out of it until today. In the World Ski Championships 1987 in Crans -Montana Zurbriggen was world champion in the super -G and giant slalom and second in the downhill and in the combination.

Also in the 1987/88 season Zurbriggen was extremely successful. At the Olympic Winter Games in Calgary in 1988 he won the gold medal in the downhill and was third in the giant slalom. The decision to victory in the World Cup was only in the last race of the season. In the final slalom in Saalbach -Hinterglemm Zurbriggen was fourth, while the retired Alberto Tomba leading up to that point. Zurbriggen won the discipline ratings downhill and giant slalom.

1988/89 won Zurbriggen Although the discipline votes in Super -G and giant slalom, but had to concede defeat in the World Cup Girardelli. In the World Ski Championships in 1989 in Colorado, he finished second in the Super G and third in the giant slalom. 1989/90 could Zurbriggen celebrate the victory in the World Cup for the fourth time, and he decided the discipline votes in Super - G World Cup and in the combined World Cup. The last World Cup race of his career, he played on 17 March 1990 in Åre, where he finished in eleventh place in the downhill. Two weeks later he organized in Crans- Montana a farewell race. In his career Zurbriggen was four times awarded the Skieur d'Or of the International Association of Ski Journalists.

Following the resignation

Zurbriggen married on 30 June 1989 Monika Julen, which is related to the giant slalom Olympic champion Max Julen; the couple has five children. He took over his parents' hotel in Saas -Almagell, acquired another hotel in Zermatt and made advertising for several Swiss companies. IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch honored him in June 2001 with the Olympic Order. On the occasion of the 100 th anniversary of Swiss-Ski in July 2004 Pirmin Zurbriggen and Vreni Schneider were elected to the " federal - century athletes of the ski and snow sports ."

Since 2004 Pirmin Zurbriggen is president of the Valais Ski Federation. In this role, he developed a new concept for the promotion of young talent, he is also responsible in setting up the national performance center for snow sports (NLS ) in Brig In February 2008, he announced that he would not run again as president of the association of Swiss-Ski. But he agreed to serve on the Executive Committee, to which he then belonged to a little over three years. In April 2011, he gave personal reasons surprisingly announced his immediate resignation.


Olympic games

  • Sarajevo 1984: 4th exit
  • Calgary 1988: 1st exit, 3 Giant Slalom, Super-G, 5, 7 Slalom

World Championships

  • Bormio 1985: 1st exit, 1 combination, 2nd Giant Slalom
  • Crans -Montana 1987: 1 Super -G, Giant Slalom 1st, 2nd exit, 2 combination
  • Vail 1989: 2 Super -G, 3rd giant slalom, downhill 15

Total and discipline World Cup

Pirmin Zurbriggen won the World Cup four times (1984, 1987, 1988, 1990), plus twelve more victories in discipline ratings.

World Cup wins

Overall Pirmin Zurbriggen won 40 World Cup races (11 combinations, 10 runs, 10 Super -G, Giant Slalom 7, 2 slaloms ). In addition, 26 second places and 17 third places. 169 time he binned in World Cup races in the top ten.


Super -G

Giant Slalom



Other successes

  • Junior European Championship 1980 in Madonna di Campiglio: 1st exit
  • 5 Swiss Championship (Super -G 1989 Giant Slalom 1986, 1987, 1989; combination 1989)


  • Skieur d'Or: 1984, 1985, 1987, 1990
  • Swiss Sportsman of the Year: 1985


The Swiss Punk - New Wave band The evil Bub Eugen came in 1988, the song Pirmin out, which referred to the skier Pirmin Zurbriggen.


  • World Sports Archives, Edition 18/1990 ( Munzinger archive)