One of the best technical skiers on the World Cup, 23-year-old Kathrin Zettel has been winning races among the world's best since early 2006. Hailing from the small but picturesque town of Gostling in Austria, Zettel was the junior slalom world champion way back in 2004 (and second in combined) and since has become the fourth best overall skier on the women's World Cup, all with just her slalom, combined and giant slalom prowess. She was poised to win the giant slalom globe last season but ended up third in the standings.
Learning to ski shortly after she mastered walking - around the age of 3 - Zettel's parents (Eva and Albert), were eager to introduce her to the sport. When ski racing began to occupy a large part of her time in her teenage years, Zettel's duties on the family farm became less consistent and she decided to stick to racing rather than becoming a chef, something in which she had a fleeting interest.
Zettel earned her first World Cup points in 2004, the same year she finished the season as world junior slalom champion. She took 18th in the World Cup slalom in Sestriere, was top 15 in GS the following season in Aspen and landed on her first Cup podium in GS and slalom in 2005, both also in Aspen, which she names - along with Soelden and Semmering - to be among her favorite slopes and where she notched her first ever World Cup victory in GS in 2006. Also in 2005, Zettel came very close to medaling in slalom at the Santa Caterina world championships, but finished fourth (sixth in combined) and went on to do the same in the 2006 Olympic combined event, finishing fourth again, as well as taking fifth in the 2007 worlds slalom and super-combined races.
With a total of 23 career Cup podiums to her name, including six victories, Zettel was on a serious roll last season. Four of her six career victories - all in GS - came in 2008-09 and Zettel also walked away with the 2009 world championship super-combined crown, wearing the metal while hoisted on her teammates shoulders and walking the streets of Val d'Isere with her mother at her side.
The young Austrian names compatriots Anita Wachter and Thomas Sykora as her ski racing heroes, enjoys traveling and loves making time for family, friends, good food and her computer.