When skiing becomes a team sport.

Janick Jenal

Janick Jenal_Formationsskifahren
Skiing is his great passion. On the piste, on a ski tour or as a member of the Samnaun demo team. Janick Jenal likes the variety and the different facets of skiing. He can enjoy them all in Samnaun.
Watch Janick Jenal on YouTube.

Fresh snow. Just a few centimetres. But these are enough to give the landscape a fresh glow. Clouds rise up in the background and set the sky in motion. Janick Jenal loves natural spectacles like this. Especially when he's out and about on his touring skis.

Janick Jenal_Skitouren
Skitouren in der Silvretta Arena. Im Hintergrund Stammerspitz (im Nebel) und Piz Munschuns mit Gipfelkreuz.

Only the crunch of snow

He and his companion are on the eastern edge of the Silvretta Ski-Arena Samnaun/Ischgl. The Grivalea chairlift takes them up to an altitude of 2657 metres. There they put on their climbing skins and set off. After a few steps, they are swallowed up by the silence. Only the crunching of the snow and snow-covered mountains, one more beautiful than the next.

With an hour or two of walking, you can find great slopes and long descents.

«Samnaun is known for its many lifts and kilometres of pistes. But the valley also offers excellent touring opportunities and freeride descents," says Janick. "Only very few people realise this, and the mountain world in the border region between Tyrol, Engadin and Samnaun is simply magnificent.»

Janick Jenal_Skitouren
Aufstieg in der Silvretta Arena
Janick Jenal_Skitouren
Abfahrt ins Zanderstal

Janick's favourite thing to do is short ski tours and variants directly from the ski area. «With one to two hours of walking, you can find great slopes and long descents in untouched deep snow.» But he also likes to tackle summit destinations on the opposite side of the valley. There are no lifts there, the ascents are long and steep in the summit area, especially on the Muttler (3296 m), the highest mountain in the region. «A wild but beautiful area, you're often travelling alone here.»

Deep snow or piste? Both are good!

Born in Samnaun, he loves the feeling of freedom of ski touring, just as much as he loves swinging down the slopes and savouring the ski arena in all its size and variety. «The range of pistes between Samnaun and Ischgl is unique, and it's also reasonably priced», says the ski instructor.

Sun and long descents

His tip is not to always do the same laps, but to try something new from time to time. For example, switching to the supposedly shady Ischgl side early in the morning. «Depending on the time of year, you can find sunshine and few people at the lifts in the morning, for example on the Palinkopf.» - «Or if you love long descents, we recommend the piste through Veliltal, 1250 vertical metres in one go to Ischgl. Your legs will burn afterwards.»

Janick Jenal_Formationsskifahren
Formations-Team Samnaun ONE bei den Formations-EM.

A lot of piste skiing is important for Janick, as he is a member of the Samnaun demo team and takes part in formation competitions. Having a precise turn and a good sense of rhythm is essential.

Synchronised, compact, dynamic

In formation skiing, you ski down the slope in groups of six or eight, forming shapes and figures that are constantly changing. The distance between man and man or woman and man is sometimes only half a metre. In addition, the paths are crossed again and again, even at high speed.

Janick Jenal_Formationsskifahren

Challenging team sport

«One mistake can be dangerous, so you always have to stay focussed,» says Janick. He likes formation skiing because it's a real team sport where everyone plays their part. Otherwise, skiing is more of an individual sport.

Formation skiing is a real team sport, which I especially like.

The team is a colourful bunch of Samnaun fans: ski instructors who teach more or less frequently for the 1st Swiss Ski and Snowboard School Samnaun. Janick is the only one who lives in Samnaun all year round, where he also grew up. The Samnaun demo team is a mixed team of men and women. Janick's position is two. He can orientate himself on the one, with whom he has to ski as synchronously as possible.

Janick Jenal_Formationsskifahren
Formationsteam Samnaun
Janick Jenal_Formationsskifahren
2. Rang Formations-EM 2023

Good technique and blind trust

«In terms of traffic, it's easier to drive at the front,» explains Janick. «Because you're relatively blind in the rear positions due to the swirling snow. We set the rhythm at the front, so we have to ski technically clean and smoothly. At the back, on the other hand, we have to pay more attention to the beautiful and compact image.»

I like the variety and the contact with people.

The annual highlight is the European Formation Championships, which always take place in Samnaun in April, at the same time as the legendary spring snow festival on Alp Trida. It is the festive conclusion to a long ski season that lasts from the end of November to the beginning of May in Samnaun.

The focus is on having fun

In 2023, the Samnaun demo team took a fantastic 2nd place. «Of course we were very happy about that, but the focus is on having fun and socialising with friends.» Nevertheless, they approach the competitions with a healthy dose of ambition. They meet eight to ten times a winter to train together. They usually practise at night on the Musella lift in Samanun village.

Janick Jenal
Janick Jenal in Samnaun-Laret

Draughtsman, boulderer, vice conductor

He mainly works as a draughtsman in his father's architectural office, in winter he teaches skiing on the side and recently started working for Bogn Engiadina Scuol as an employee in the Roman-Irish baths.

Janick Jenal_Bouldern
Janick Jenal_Architektur
AT7 architektur ag

Janick is a sociable person and generally has a wide range of interests. He has set up a bouldering room in his cellar. He is also musically adept, playing the trombone in the Samnaun music society and acting as deputy conductor.

Unique ski area

We have slopes in all exposures and pistes in all levels of difficulty.

Always doing just one thing is too boring for him. That's why he appreciates the Samnaun/Ischgl ski arena so much. «We have slopes in all exposures, pistes in all levels of difficulty, we can ski in the forest and in alpine terrain. That's what makes the ski area - in addition to the many lifts - so unique.»

Janick Jenal_Skitouren
Übergang «bei der Kirche», im Hintergrund die Silvretta Arena Samnaun-Ischgl

What could be better?

Janick and his companion stand on a summit and are ready for the descent. They bang their ski poles together, nod to each other and set off. Yes, the snow is good: powdery and untouched. What could be better?


Text: Franco Furger 

Photos: Claudio Daguati

Video: ON AIR Production

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