Pirmin Zurbriggen

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Pirmin Zurbriggen
Alpine skier
Pirmin Zurbriggen.JPG
Zurbriggen in 2014
DisciplinesDownhill, Super-G,
Giant slalom, Slalom,
Born (1963-02-04) 4 February 1963 (age 57)
Saas Almagell, Valais, Switzerland
Height1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
World Cup debut4 January 1981 (age 17)
Retired17 March 1990 (age 27)
Teams2 (1984, 1988)
Medals2 (1 gold)
World Championships
Teams4 (1982, 1985, 1987, 1989)
Medals9 (4 gold)
World Cup
Seasons10 (19811990)
Overall titles4 (1984, 1987, 1988, 1990)
Discipline titles12

Pirmin Zurbriggen (born 4 February 1963) is a former World Cup alpine ski racer from Switzerland. One of the most successful ski racers ever, he won the overall World Cup title four times, an Olympic gold medal in 1988 in Downhill, and nine World Championships medals (4 gold, 4 silver, 1 bronze).


Zurbriggen was born in Saas-Almagell in the canton of Valais, the son of Alois, an innkeeper, and Ida. His father competed as a ski racer in local competitions in the 1940s and 1950s, but quit the sport after his brother was killed in a training accident.[1] Zurbriggen made his World Cup debut in January 1981, a month before his 18th birthday. With his victory in the downhill at Kitzbühel in January 1985 at age 21, he became the first to win World Cup races in all five disciplines. (The fifth discipline, Super G, was added in December 1982.)[2] Incidentally Marc Girardelli, the second to enter this exclusive circle, won his first downhill race four years later at the same venue.

Zurbriggen retired from international competition after having won the 1990 World Cup overall title – his fourth, which was then the most overall titles won by a single racer, reached only once before by Gustav Thöni in 1975. Again it was Marc Girardelli who followed him in 1991 with a fourth overall title, and Girardelli added another in 1993 to become the only male racer with five overall titles in World Cup history.

Zurbriggen grew up in the remote village of Saas-Almagell, near Saas-Fee. With a total of 40 World Cup victories over nine years and five gold medals, he belongs to the "All-Time Greats" of alpine skiing, ranking fifth in all-time wins and having 169 Top Ten finishes.[3]

Zurbriggen left the World Cup tour as a hero to start a family; he was married the previous summer (30 June 1989) to Monika Julen (the sister of his best friend on the Swiss ski team, Max Julen),[4] with whom he has five children: Elia, Pirmin Jr., Maria, Alain and Leonie, who have all competed in ski racing.[5] He is the older brother of Heidi Zurbriggen, a winner of three World Cup downhill races, and a distant cousin of Silvan Zurbriggen.[6]

Zurbriggen now runs the "Wellness Hotel Pirmin Zurbriggen" with his parents in Saas-Almagell and another, "Apparthotel Zurbriggen," in Zermatt.[7] In addition, after his World Cup career had ended he partnered with Authier Ski company on a line of signature skis.[8]

World Cup results[edit]

Season standings[edit]

Season Age Overall Slalom Giant
Super G Downhill Combined
1981 18 31 17 not
1982 19 11 33 6 7
1983 20 6 21 4 not
(w/ GS)
26 3
1984 21 1 24 1 10 2
1985 22 2 14 2 5 9
1986 23 2 6 10 2 11 1
1987 24 1 21 1 1 1 1
1988 25 1 9 4 1 1 4
1989 26 2 15 1 1 4 3
1990 27 1 11 6 1 3 1

Season titles[edit]

  • 13 titles (4 overall, 2 DH, 4 SG, 3 GS) plus unofficial 3 K
Season Discipline
1984 Overall
Giant Slalom
1987 Overall
Giant Slalom
1988 Overall
Super G
1989 Super-G
Giant Slalom
1990 Overall

Race victories[edit]

  • 40 wins (10 DH, 10 SG, 7 GS, 11 SC, 2 SL)
  • 83 podiums (40 wins, 26 second place, 17 third place)


Date Location
11-Jan-1985 Austria Kitzbühel
12-Jan-1985 Austria Kitzbühel
16-Aug-1986 Argentina Las Leñas
05-Dec-1986 France Val d'Isère
10-Jan-1987 West Germany Garmisch
25-Jan-1987 Austria Kitzbühel
07-Mar-1987 United States Aspen, CO
09-Jan-1988 France Val d'Isère
29-Jan-1988 Austria Schladming
06-Dec-1989 Italy Val Gardena

Giant slalom[edit]

Date Location
24-Mar-1982 Italy San Sicario
11-Jan-1983  Switzerland  Adelboden
05-Mar-1984 United States Aspen, CO
13-Jan-1987  Switzerland  Adelboden
20-Jan-1987  Switzerland  Adelboden
15-Feb-1987 West Germany Todtnau
29-Nov-1988 France Val Thorens


Date Location
10-Dec-1984 Italy Sestriere
23-Feb-1986 Sweden Åre


Date Location
19-Dec-1983 Italy Val Gardena
20-Mar-1984 Norway Oppdal
07-Dec-1984 France Puy-Saint-Vincent
17-Mar-1985 Canada Panorama, BC
28-Feb-1986 Norway Hemsedal
08-Mar-1987 United States Aspen, CO
27-Nov-1988 Austria Schladming
12-Dec-1989 Italy Sestriere
06-Feb-1990 Italy Courmayeur
10-Mar-1990 Norway Hemsedal


Date Location
24-Jan-1982  Switzerland  Wengen
22-Dec-1982 Italy Campiglio
29-Jan-1984 West Germany Garmisch
11-Jan-1985 Austria Kitzbühel
19-Jan-1986 Austria Kitzbühel
23-Feb-1986 Sweden Åre
18-Jan-1987  Switzerland  Wengen
25-Jan-1987 Austria Kitzbühel
22-Dec-1988 Austria St. Anton
12-Jan-1990 Austria Schladming
21-Jan-1990 Austria Kitzbühel

World championship results[edit]

  Year    Age   Slalom   Giant 
Super-G Downhill Combined
1985 22 DNF 2 not run 1 1
1987 24 DNF 1 1 2 2
1989 26 DNF 3 2 15 4

Olympic results Olympic rings without rims.svg[edit]

  Year    Age   Slalom   Giant 
Super-G Downhill Combined
1984 21 DNF1 DNF1 not run 4 not run
1988 25 7 3 5 1 DNF SL2

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Johnson, William Oscar (January 27, 1988). "The Swiss Golden Boy". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  2. ^ victories of Pirmin Zurbriggen on fis-ski.com, sorted by date, retrieved December 30, 2011
  3. ^ Most Valuable Racers – Top 50, retrieved February 22, 2010
  4. ^ Harvey, Randy (February 8, 1988). "PIRMIN ZURBRIGGEN: The Pride of the Swiss Mountain Country Is an Often Humble, Yet Daring Young Man Who Could Win Three Gold Medals in Skiing". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  5. ^ Despont, Christian; Monnard, Bertrand (December 28, 2014). "Les enfants Zurbriggen arrivent en force" [The children of Zurbriggen arrive in force]. Le Matin (Switzerland) (in French). Retrieved March 4, 2017.
  6. ^ Lang, Patrick (December 18, 2010). "Silvan Zurbriggen on Pirmin's footsteps". FIS-Ski.com. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  7. ^ Zurbriggen Homepage, retrieved November 22, 2007
  8. ^ California Ski Company (2003), The Authier Story, archived from the original on December 27, 2007, retrieved November 19, 2007

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Switzerland Étienne Dagon
Swiss Sportsman of the Year
Succeeded by
Switzerland Werner Günthör