Switzerland Team Preview

The Alpine nation of Switzerland, not surprisingly, has a very strong winter sports tradition. Looking at the Winter Olympics they have a collected a total of 167 medals, enough for 8th most all time. Breaking that down further, 101 of those have come in what we could call skiing disciplines including alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, biathlon, etc. Of all 101 skiing Olympic medals just two of those are from biathlon. All of that tells the story of a winter sports nation that is hungry for success in a sport where it has been difficult to find.

The good news for Switzerland is that as of last season they had their best male ever and their five best women ever all competing at the same time. The bad news is both their winningest man, Benjamin Weger, and their winningest woman, Selina Gasparin, retired at the end of the most recent season. This leaves Switzerland in a little bit of flux. Ready to take the next step towards success in biathlon but a little unsure of where that is going to come from. So let’s check out who is going to be competing for Switzerland this year and in the years to come!

Men

Quota: 5 athletes to start

We’ll start with those that we expect to see most on the World Cup level. Then we’ll look at group of athletes who might primarily be IBU Cup members but we might see in the World Cup as well. We’ll finish up by looking at some younger members of the IBU Cup and Juniors that I’m keeping an eye on. Not all of these biathletes will be stars but just a few names to keep a look out for for the future!

Jeremy Finello – 30

Finello is solidly in the middle of his career. Since entering biathlon he’s been able to hide a bit behind the successes of Benjamin Weger. And though I may miss Weger’s glorious beard, Finello may miss more Weger’s ability to carry the weight for Switzerland.

Over the last five years Finello’s career has been up and down to say the least. He’s had three overall finishes between 45 and 55 but then he’s also interspersed 75th and 105th. The calling card for Finello has been solid ski performances but being held back by misfires on the range. He’s been generally trending faster and faster on the skis. In his last full season of racing 2020-2021 he was 24th overall skiing on the World Cup.

Prone %Standing %Total %Shooting Time
2017-201886.784.285.432.2
2018-201985.67680.831.4
2019-202094.365.78031.1
2020-202182.158.670.428.7
2021-2022100507531

The shooting though continues to be a major hinderance. Over the last six seasons or so his shooting has been on a downward trajectory. This holds true looking at both World Cup and IBU Cup statistics. His last full year on World Cup he shot 70% overall. That included a really quit terrible 58% standing shooting. Throughout that time shooting times have remained steady mostly around 31-32 seconds.

Finello raced just 3 times total last year. Once on World Cup and twice on IBU Cup. What can we expect from the Frenchman turned Swiss biathlete? Honestly it would be a fools errand to try and predict. His career trendlines were showing improving skiing and worsening shooting. If he can get his shooting to turn around and aim back towards his career averages and still maintain his ski abilities then he has a chance to get back towards a 40-50th overall finish. Fingers crossed!

Joscha Burkhalter (26)

While Finello might be the elder statesman of the group there are several young men who are pushing up towards the top for the Swiss and will in all likelihood end up being the leaders of the squad. First up for us is Joscha Burkhalter, the otherwise most experienced of the Swiss men.

Over the last five years Burkhalter has spent two full seasons on the World Cup and three further seasons primarily on the IBU Cup. Burkhalter’s overall rankings took a dramatically leap up from 90th in 2019-2020 to 59th in 2021-2022. That jump is almost entirely attributable to his shooting time. No significant improvement in ski times, shooting percentages almost exactly the same from 80.8% to 81.5%. Shooting time though went from 28 seconds to 25.6 seconds. Small margins leading to major changes.

Looking at his IBU Cup data can give us an idea if any further progression can be expected? At age 26 its hard to predict how much improvement is left. Well on the IBU, particularly his last few years, his ski ranks were almost all 30s-40s. His shooting percentages showed mild progression up to the low 80s, or about where he is now on the World Cup. And his shooting times were all closer to 30 seconds. Looking at those numbers you would think that he can definitely improve his ski ranks on the World Cup level. Now he has to put the hard work in to keep improving. If I had to guess I would guess that we see his shooting percentages inch up to the mid 80s as overall his trendline is pointing in that direction. Put those together and maybe creep into the 40s overall.

Sebastian Stalder (24)

Just three names down the list and we already see the dramatic youth of the Swiss men’s biathlon team. Stalder became a full time on the World Cup level for Switzerland two years ago after just one full season on the IBU Cup. Over those two years he made a fairly dramatic leap up the rankings from dead last to 40th last year. Should we expect to see consistent leaps like that straight to the top of the standings? Well let’s take a look at his past.

Looking at his individual attributes there was no dramatic improvement in ski speed, shooting, or shooting time. Skiing moved up marginally, overall hit rate was within .5% from year to year. His shooting time did improve by about a half second which moved him up about 20 places. None of that would indicate a huge leap up the standings.

What really happened is he just raced more races last year than the year before. In 2020-2021 he wasn’t qualifying for the Pursuit races and was bumped back to the IBU Cup. Last year he was consistently finishing top 60 in the Sprints so he stayed on the World Cup. As a result he gathered up more points. The difference between consistently finishing in the 60s and 70s in the Sprint to the 50s or even 40s doesn’t seem like much. Just a handful of places sometimes. But at the end of the year it can make a huge difference in standings.

Looking back to get an idea of what may be in his future we can see that on the Junior level he was usually top 20 for ski rank. He was even consistently top 30s-40s on the IBU Cup. This indicates he should be able to make at least some further improvement there. His shooting was always mid 80s so not much different than where he is now. Hopefully he can bump that up a touch further but this may be who he is as a shooter. He did have 11 top 10s as a Junior so my bet is that we haven’t seen the best from Stalder yet. Not by a long shot.

Niklas Hartweg (22)

Speaking of young Swiss men on the biathlon World Cup, it doesn’t get much younger than Niklas Hartweg. At 22 years old he made the leap directly from Juniors to the World Cup level, something you might normally see from the powerhouse nations. This was done for good reason, his last year as a Junior was the 2019-2020 season when he finished almost every race in the top 5 and was the #1 overall Junior male in the final standings. Yes, you read that correctly. Niklas Hartweg of Switzerland was the #1 overall Junior.

Since then he’s had two seasons on the World Cup. Being one of the youngest men on the World Cup level he actually has shown the improvements you would hope to see. He came out of Juniors as one of the top 20 fastest men but that wasn’t really his calling card. Still his skiing improved from 111 to 88 year over year. Being just 22 definitely expect to see that even better the next few years.

His shooting though is where the greatest leap on the World Cup level can be expected. As a Junior he was not only one of the most accurate, shooting nearly 90% every year, but also always one of if not the fastest. So far he’s still been relatively quick but his shooting accuracy has dropped considerably, hitting only around 80% of total shots both seasons.

Hartweg is a potential future star for Switzerland. He’s shown flashes including a 17th place finish last season. If he can find that 90% shooting accuracy again he doesn’t need to be the fastest man in the world. His model is going to be Simon Eder. That’s a high bar but honestly he’s got the skills to reach it. Shoot clean, shoot fast, and do enough on the skis. Eder used that to collect a handful of wins and finish as high as 5th overall twice. If we look back in 20 years and Hartweg was able to do that all involved would be pretty dang happy.

IBU with World Cup Aspirations

If you’re keeping track you counted four athletes above. That leaves at least one open spot open on a regular basis not accounting for poor form, injuries, or sickness. This next group of men are going to be the guys who have a chance to fill that spot. And maybe when given the opportunity they might grab it and not let go.

Sandro Bovisi (25)

Bovisi has become a IBU Cup stalwart over the last four seasons. Probably not where he would like to be while watching younger men like Stalder and Hartweg pass him by on the way to the World Cup. The problem for Bovisi is he keeps hitting his head against a ceiling for him that appears to be in the mid 30s. He is consistently finishing 40s and 50s with occasionally into the 20s or 30s. Still with four full seasons he’s only been top 20 one time. As a result he’s still awaiting his World Cup debut.

Over that period his skiing has moderately improved. Three years ago his overall ski ranking was 196th and he improved it all the way to 85th. His shooting though hasn’t quite made the same improvement. He’s always averaged out to the mid to upper 70 percent range. If he wants to move regular to the World Cup he’s going to need improvements both in skiing but especially in shooting. We’ll see if he can do it.

Sefarin Wiestner (32)

At 32 years old Wiestner has as much experience as anybody on the entire Swiss biathlon roster. Due to that he may get the first opportunity to replace Weger at the World Cup level. However, also being age 32, and decidedly on the downside of his career, he isn’t likely to stick there for too long.

From 2014 onward Wiestner was on the World Cup roster every season until last year. Last year he got bumped back down to the IBU Cup. Over the prior four years his overall ranking had slipped to the very bottom of the standings. While at age 32 you might expect to see deterioration in his ski form it really wasn’t happening as much as you might expect. Last year on the IBU Cup he was still consistently finishing in the top 30s in course time rank.

Unfortunately though a shooting percentage in the upper 70s and shooting times entering the low 30s wasn’t enough to justify keeping Hartweg and Stalder off the roster and I agree with that decision making. As I said Wiestner may get the first chance to fill the open spot. But at age 32 there are younger options on the way up that will likely keep bumping him out.

Gion Stalder (23)

Gion Stalder is coming off of two years on the IBU Cup where he has made steady progress up the rankings. Seriously go and look at his finishes. Almost every race on the IBU Cup the last two years he’s getting better and better. He reached a peak right at the end of last season with seven straight finishes at 31st or better. His last three races were 15th or better. And he finished the season with a career best 7th place. Even with a very slow start to the season he still finished 32nd overall.

Throughout the year he was improving in both skiing and shooting. In the 2020-2021 season his ski ranks were anywhere from 80-100 per race. He started out there last season as well but he got faster almost every single race. His course ranks the last four years were in the top 30. A similar story with his shooting except not quite as dramatic. Average shooting was around 75% for total hit rate in 2020-2021 and by the end of last year was up consistently up to a bit over 85%.

He’s just 23 and showed HUGE improvement last season. I don’t possibly expect him to do that again. If he continues on the IBU Cup full time next season and doesn’t improve at all, so he stays with a top 20-30 ski rank and shooting just over 85% that would make him a top 20 overall athlete on the IBU Cup. Definitely a season high. Fortunately for him I don’t think spending a full year on the IBU Cup is really in the cards for him. He should get at least a few chances on the World Cup level this season. Without having seen anything else yet I would put Gion Stalder as my favorite to take over a regular full time role on the World Cup level.

Laurin Fravi (23)

Similar to Gion Stalder, the 23 year old Fravi spent most of the last two seasons primarily on the IBU Cup with juniors racing before that. Fravi though hasn’t quite seen the meteoric rise (yet) that Stalder has had. They both were fairly similar athletes on the Juniors level. Averages finishes in the 40-60 range, total hit rates usually in the 70s and course time ranks in the 40-50s.

Last season he showed almost exactly those statistics on the IBU Cup. Most all of his finishes were in the 40-70 range, but he did have 3 top 20 finishes. Skiing showed some mild improvement with course time ranks into the 30-50 range. Shooting though remained in the mid 70s.

Fravi should spend next season full time on the IBU Cup. He needs to see consistent improvements across the board to make a push for anything higher.

Dajan Danuser (26)

Danuser made the leap over from Cross Country skiing last season and spent his first season of biathlon finding his way on the IBU Cup. It is always expected that former FIS Cross Country skiers will come in and be blazing fast. But as we’ve discussed before it’s a new technique skiing with a rifle on your back and learning how to enter and exit a range.

Danuser was fairly quick though finishing top 30 every race in course time with several top 15s. Shooting though is still a work in progress. He only reached 80% two times. His season average was 63% and he was one of the slowest shooters on the IBU Cup at 37.7 seconds per trip to the range.

I’m sure that he’s been spending a tremendous amount of time on the range this summer. Hopefully we see some improvements. He’s got amazing potential with that ski form. Shooting isn’t easy though. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for him. To be fair to him I don’t think we should expect to see Danuser on the World Cup level this season unless something wild happens with his shooting.

Juniors

Yanis Keller (20)

With three seasons of juniors level racing to look at we are starting to get a bit of a picture of who Keller is as a biathlete. Almost all finishes are in the 20’s with a handful above and below that range. He appears to be a fairly average skier at this early stage with course time ranks in the 30-40 range. His shooting though gives him potential. He’s almost always mid 80s up to the mid 90s with his shooting percentages. And he has shown to be a fast shooter as well, almost always top 15. If he can get that skiing to match his shooting even a little bit then we’re looking at something good. I’ve mentioned this before, and this is a HUGE stretch for somebody so young and with so little experience, but Simon Eder is his model.

Silvano Demarmels (18)

Silvano Demarmels has just one season and nine total races to look at. In that time though he does already have a 2nd place finish in a Sprint race. At Youth Worlds he went 11, 19, and 20th. This should be another season of experience. Let’s see what he can do this year before starting to make any projections.

Mathis Profit (19)

Profit, like Demarmels has just one seasons of racing to look at. He did a little better at Youth Worlds going 5th, 6th, and 18th. However he wasn’t quite able to match Demarmels’ 2nd place finish. In this limit number of races Profit did appear to be a very accurate shooter. We’ll see this season if that continues or if it was just a small sample size.

Felix Ullmann (19)

Ullmann has juniors level races spread across two different seasons but still just ten total races. Almost all of his finishes have been between 30-50th. His performance at Youth Worlds last year was a little bit better with finishes of 16, 12, and 35th. No distinguishing characteristics yet. We’ll see how this season goes for him.

Women:

Quota: 5 athletes to start

We’ll start with those that we expect to see most on the World Cup level. Then we’ll look at group of athletes who might primarily be IBU Cup members but we might see in the World Cup as well. We’ll finish up by looking at some younger members of the IBU Cup and Juniors that I’m keeping an eye on. Not all of these biathletes will be stars but just a few names to keep a look out for for the future!

Lena Haecki-Gross (27)

Stolen from Facebook…but with a couple this good looking how can you not?

At age 27, the recently married Lena Haecki-Gross, was already the top active woman for the Swiss biathlon team and now she is sliding into what should be her peak years. With Selina Gasparin’s retirement the weight of leadership now rests even more heavily on her shoulders. While the rest of the squad will help carry some of that Haecki-Gross will still be the standard bearer on a weekly basis for this team.

Over the last four seasons she’s never been lower than last seasons 32nd overall placement. Check out the graph above real quick. That ski rank is basically a straight line except for the 2019-2020 season when she leapt up to 17th. That corresponded with a 22nd overall finish for the year. Looking down at the table below you can also see where that was the worst shooting season of her career. Now it’s easy for me to say that she should sacrifice some of the improved shooting accuracy of the last two years to regain some of the speed, but maybe she should?

Prone %Standing %Total %Shooting Time
2017-201875.577.476.527.2
2018-201975.47977.225.4
2019-202068.672.970.726.4
2020-202181.278.179.725.3
2021-202282.38081.127.2

With the Russians and Belarusian athletes out of the picture, and likely entering the peak of her physical abilities, the next year or two might be her best window for a very high finish. We’ve seen what she can do and I think that a top 20 finish isn’t completely out of the picture. Let’s hope that she can keep that shooting around 80% and get a little ski speed back I think that is absolutely attainable. Something else to watch for is only one prior career podium. Is this the year she can add another one or two to that total? I am hopeful!

Elisa Gasparin (30) & Aita Gasparin (28)

This may be the only time in this entire exercise we do this but we’re going to discuss Elisa and Aita Gasparin together. First of all they are sisters so why not. But also because they are so remarkably similar. Now you could figure that because they share genetics that this should be the case. But this is a little startling. Look at the two graphs below. Really look at them.

The finished with 1-2 overall places of each other the last two seasons. Their ski rankings are both in the 60-70s range. Shooting percentages in the mid to low 80 percent rage. Appropriately Elisa Gasparin being slightly faster is just a little bit less accurate on the range than Aita Gasparin. Just about 3% lower hit rate both seasons.

ElisaProne %Standing %Total %Shooting Time
2017-201884.382.183.228.6
2018-201984.879.382.131.7
2019-202087758130.7
2020-202191.97080.930.8
2021-202293.371.182.230.6
AitaProne %Standing %Total %Shooting Time
2018-201976.38078.127.7
2019-202087.982.18528.2
2020-20218582.183.628.2
2021-202291.88085.929

That’s wild isn’t it? Well maybe I’m losing my mind a little bit because of how much data I’ve looked at recently. But it blew my mind a little bit. What do we expect next year? Well why not more of the same? Just the pure fact that the Russias and Belarusians won’t be in the standings should bump them up a bit. So let’s predict mid 40s overall, no major change in shooting, and the corresponding improvement in ski ranking without any significant change in actual speed.

Irene Cadurisch (30)

The last time we saw Irene Cadurisch there was a scary moment at the Beijing Olympics. She has been training this summer and working towards a comeback so I’m going to proceed as if she will be racing.

Irene Cadurisch has been a solid if not spectacular member of the Swiss women’s World Cup team for the last several seasons. Outside of the 2020-2021 season where she had the best ski season of her career she has almost always split time between the World Cup and IBU Cup every year. That’s held down her overall season rankings. However it speaks a little to the liminal biathlon space in which she operates. Right on the edges of the World Cup.

If there is one distinguishing characteristic for Cadurisch, one thing that keeps her hanging around the World Cup more than anything else, its her shooting speed. In the 2017-2018 season she averaged a wild 23.2 seconds per trip to the range. Last season that time had increased all the way to nearly 27 seconds but was still good enough for 12th fastest on the World Cup. That always makes her useful on relays.

Prone %Standing %Total %Shooting Time
2017-201880.774.877.823.2
2019-202080747724.7
2020-202186.17379.725.8
2021-202285657526.9

Her skiing and shooting have always been fairly middle of the road. Her shooting is usually in the mid 70s but could be better if she worked on her standing shooting. As you can see from the table it’s gotten a little worse every year but last year took a huge drop off.

Let’s assume that Cadurisch is able to maintain her skiing level where it has been. If that’s the case what’s the best we can hope for? Well if she can boost that standing shooting back to the mid 70s at least while maintaining her prone shooting in the mid 80s, and no further deterioration of shooting speed… That would leave her as probably still on the lower end of the overall rankings. It would make her a more valuable relay member though and that might be her best ability to contribute at this stage in her career.

Amy Baserga (22)

At just 22 years old Amy Baserga is part of the future for the Swiss women. A future that I actually have some hope for. She did spent last year primarily as a member of the World Cup team so we already have some idea of what she can do against the best in the world. Last season that resulted in some decent showings with a career best finish of 28th. Last year primarily served to highlight her shooting as the strength of her skills, shooting near 86% overall.

The Swiss have very high hopes for her. In her last full Juniors year of 2019-2020 she finished #1 in the overall rankings. Except for a brief mid season dip she was tp 6 in almost every single race that season. Two years ago, while primarily racing on the IBU Cup, she went back to Junior Worlds and cleaned up with two wins in Sprint and Pursuit to pair with a 4th in the Individual. Throughout her Juniors career she showed impressive shooting from 85-90%. Her skiing over her last few seasons as a Junior averaged to 15th place course rank, so while not the absolute fastest, she wasn’t losing huge time by any means. And when it comes to shooting time getting faster every season.

When you look at her attributes as a Junior she looks a lot like a Lisa Hauser type to me. Not the absolute fastest but she can keep up, and makes up a lot of ground on the range. She’s just 22 and Hauser, has only just come into her own over the last three years. Let’s give Baserga some time to grow and find her legs. This season we will hopefully see her go from a overall finish of 71 to maybe cracking top 40-50. The big key to watch for her is we want to see some continued progression in her ski times. But definitely a big one to watch for the future!

IBU Regulars and World Cup Fill Ins

This next batch of women contains a mixture of young up and comers who are getting ready to push for time on the World Cup, and a few who are in the middle if not the latter stages of their careers. Either way most of these women are in the range of likely IBU Cup regular that we’ll see from time to time on the World Cup. If I had to guess the younger women get the call up to the World Cup if any of the top five miss races for any reason.

Flurina Volken (29)

At age 29 Volken has just six solo starts on the World Cup level. She’s really become a stalwart of the IBU Cup circuit for the Swiss team. She’s been a steady and reliable option for them almost always finishing in the middle of the pack.

With Volken there really just isn’t a lot to say. You can get almost the whole picture just by looking at her results. Even if you squint really hard to try to find some missing piece it’s not really there. Everything adds up to what she has shown to be, a middle of the road IBU Cup athlete. Middle of the road skiing, hit rates usually in the 70s, and inconsistent shooting times. I don’t want that to sound mean or harsh. She’s miles better than I could ever be and so many athletes who set out to become biathletes won’t come close to what Volken has accomplished. But for the purposes of this exercise, looking at who might make an impact at the World Cup now or in the future, there just doesn’t seem to be a path for Volken right now outside of a total surprise.

Susanna Meinen (30)

Susanna Meinen, like Volken, has become a near constant figure on the IBU Cup for team Switzerland. Unfortunately over the last year or so she has started to show a general decline in skills, particularly skiing. Now is this the beginning of the end or just a one year dip its hard to figure. But at age 30 you don’t anticipate too terribly much long at this level for Meinen.

Just for perspective her average finishing place (just an easy way to judge how she’s doing?) has dropped 24 to 50 over the last four seasons. It’s really an across the board drop too with slowing ski speeds, a dramatic fall off in prone shooting, and slowing shooting speeds as well. It just isn’t a great combination at this stage in the game.

Ladina Meier-Ruge (30)

Meier-Ruge is the last of the three women in this category who are closer to the end of their careers than the beginning. Not to belabor the point but at this point in a career a biathlete is usually either at the peak but nearing the end (like Eckhoff and Roeiseland) or is starting the drop off. Meier-Ruge is just sort of holding on to the last of her peak it appears.

She hit a career high of 36th overall on the IBU Cup in 2015-2016 and has been sliding a bit almost every year since then. The last three seasons have been a holding pattern with last year a bit of a bounce back as her ski performance and shootings times returned to near career averages while her shooting accuracy continued to fade. Once again, she’s on the wrong side of 30 to be looking for a career resurgence and her best benefit to Switzerland as a biathlon team may be in her ability to help mentor the young women on the way up about the weekly grind of training and performing.

Lea Meier (21)

leameier.com

Just 21 years old Meier is on the opposite end of the career spectrum from the three women who proceeded her. She progressively spent more time on the IBU Cup the last few two seasons as she transitioned out of the Juniors level. Looking over the last two seasons on the IBU Cup she hasn’t made any tremendous growth…yet.

Her IBU Cup ski ranks from year to year are nearly identical and her hit rate dropped by 5% as she dropped her standing shooting time by nearly two seconds. However when she performing against Juniors, even though more rare, she continued to have success with 4 top 8 finishes in just seven races over both seasons.

So comparing Juniors stats to IBU Cup stats where do we see room for improvement? Well definitely shooting. Last year she was down to around 75% overall. On the Juniors though she’s more consistently in the low 80’s. She’s also a top 5 skier on the Junior level but hasn’t started to show that potential on the IBU Cup yet. What I want to see from Lea Meier the next year or two is just more racing. More growth. Let the shooting come back to where it always has been and hopefully push it towards 85% total. Continue building on her solid foundation of ski talent towards being a top 20 skier on the IBU Cup. If she can do that in the next two seasons Meier has potential to be a solid contributor on the World Cup level for Switzerland.

Flavia Barmettler (24)

First of all Flavia Barmettler has maybe the best name of anybody in biathlon. It’s just a lot of fun to say. I will be honest before this project I am not sure I had ever seen her race. For her name alone I’m going to be a huge fan of hers going forward. This is also part of why this project took so long. I kept running across Flavia Barmettlers.

Barmettler, like Meier, has raced on the IBU Cup full time starting in 2020-2021. Looking solely at her IBU Cup statistics there are few trends to really like. She came into the IBU Cup and immediately had two top 30 finishes in her first two races. Since then she has only been 55th or better eight times. Five of those eight happened in the last five races of last season so that is a positive.

Did she actually make an improvement there? Well her skiing did mildly improve with course time ranks moving from the 80s to the 50s. Her shooting stayed only around 70%. Neither of those are amazing and her standing shooting was…awful Her standing shooting last year was 60% total for the entire season. But her shooting time improved to sub 28 seconds! Okay so that’s not everything and she clearly has some big areas to improve. Should we expect more? It’s hard to say. Her Juniors racing showed moderately better shooting, especially the end of her Juniors career when she was in the upper 70s. I am a little worried about her long term potential though. I’m going to say what I have a habit of saying, hope is free. And you know what? She’s got a new fan in me.

Juniors:

There are three women we’ll highlight that are currently full time Juniors, or have been for the last three seasons anyway. There isn’t actually a lot to say about any of them, but just some names you might see pop up the next few years.

Seraina Koenig (21)

Seraina Koenig has the most racing experience of the three of these women. At the start of 2021-2022 it looked like she was really on her way. She had five straight stop 25 finishes boosted by significant improvements in skiing and shooting that was over 80% every race. However that faded off significantly as the year went on. We’ll see which version was the “true” Koenig this year, the woman that started the year looking like she might be able to contend or the one we saw at the end of the year.

Chiara Arnet (19)

Arnet at just 19 years old has 14 career Juniors level races, almost all last season. Unlike her senior partner Koenig though, she has shown more consistency. Almost every single race she has been between 15th and 44th. While she hasn’t shown any breakthrough high finishes it is reassuring that she also is showing a fairly high floor. She’s generally been a solid shooter almost always in the 80% range. Her skiing almost always in the 20-30’s for course rank. She’s just 19 so hopefully we see another year of improvements this year.

Slessia Laager (17)

The youngest of the three Junior Swiss women is also my favorite of the bunch. At Youth Worlds last winter she went 23rd, 12th, and 18th meaning she already has the highest career finish of the three of these women. Her skiing has consistently been top 30 even at her young age. She’s extremely young but let’s keep an eye on Laager. Fingers crossed in a few years we are talking about her making her World Cup debut.

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