Coming off the first World Championships gold medal in 15 years of competing, Switzerland’s Christoph Kunz is ready to take himself to the next level in time for the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
“I’d like to ski my best, and then we will see what works,” he said. “I don’t want to ski for the podium or just to win; I want to ski to find my limit, I want to ski to really push my limit and to see what’s possible.”
Kunz, the men’s giant slalom sitting Paralympic champion, won gold at the Worlds in Tarvisio, Italy in January. His best performance before that were bronze medals in both 2011 and 2013.
“The title in the super-G was above all,” he said. “It was a really cool experience for me.”
Now the Swiss will go for World Cup titles at the PyeongChang 2018 Test Event from 12-18 March as the leader in super combined and super-G. In the hope of continuing his great form, he will ski until July and then hand bike.
“Next year, everything is focused on the Paralympic Games,” Kunz said. “We have World Cup races, too, but everyone wants to be in best form for the Games in March. Everyone is focused on that event.”
While his competitors may make adjustments in the offseason, Kunz is not interested in making too many of his own. Instead he will be tweaking his current mono-ski, which he bought two years ago in Switzerland.
“[I] don’t want to make too many changes now because my set-up is really good,” he said. “I don’t want to change too much.”
Kunz said it was challenging last season to adjust to his new equipment and its soft shocks. But after working with a specialist, he has found a formula for success.
“From the beginning, I felt really confident on this ski, but on the level we ride the skis, it’s also a really small difference that made a big difference,” he said. “It was a big change and a big challenge, but now I’ve really re-adapted the skis how I like them.”
He said he feels as if he has reached the peak of his recent years.
“I think I’m on a higher level than before, and I even have a few ideas what we can do even better,” Kunz said. “I’m really happy I changed.”
When it comes to PyeongChang 2018, double Paralympian Kunz said there is some pressure to succeed. Plus, he said, it could be his last Games, before potentially retiring after the 2019 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Obersaxen, Switzerland.
“The pressure mostly comes from myself, because I train hard for the goals I have and also the delegation of Switzerland,” Kunz said. “We would like to compete in the best manner, and we would like to bring home some medals.”
The World Cup Finals, which will also be the PyeongChang 2018 Test Event, will begin with downhill on 12 March and includes a full programme of technical and speed events.
Live results for both events will be available at World Para Alpine Skiing’s website.