GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The ups and downs of the financial world are the language of daily news, but in 10 days there will be a literal twist to it, with one of the top winter networking events in the financial world moving to Switzerland from its Italian home of the past 12 years. The resort of Crans-Montana, which just hosted the Men’s World Cup championship races on its National run, has tugged the City Ski Championships from Courmayeur, across the border.
Some 250 financial industry workers from 40 Swiss and European financial institutions, including virtually all of the big names in the business, will compete and party from 15-18 March in Crans-Montana.
The celebrities attending include Antoine Dénériaz, 2006 Torino Olympic downhill champion, stars’ chef Heston Blumenthal, former British skiers Konrad Bartelski and Graham Bell, actor Nick Doody and BBC presenter Matt Schilton.
The event is co-sponsored by the Financial Times and for the resort, this implies that long-term plans to build the event into a major attraction and increase visibility in the UK will have strong support.
“Thanks to the partnership with the Financial Times, the Valais region is assured to have great media coverage in the most important British media in the economic world,” says Bruno Huggler, assistant director and marketing manager at Valais Tourism, a sponsor. “Additionally, we are expecting the 20 best British reporters specialized in the winter season.”
Crans-Montana in a statement about the event, notes that “It is still possible to subscribe to the event; for Friday and Saturday, daily cards can be bought for CHF 190 per person including ski pass, ski competition, lunch and entrance to the Après-ski Festival”
The news comes on the heels of a decision by the resort not to host the 2013 Women’s Ski World Cup races, which were moved to February, in the middle of the Swiss school holidays. The decision provoked criticism from some quarters, but hotel keepers and others in the tourism industry were reluctant to block all the beds in the resort for the event, during what is normally their peak time. The women’s event doesn’t draw the same crowds as the men’s, which pulled in 45,000 visitors for a three-day weekend at the end of February.