Alpine Young Guns: Bostjan Kline

01 August 2011 16:10

By Michael Mastarciyan

On June 25, 1991 Slovenia declared its independence to the international community and severed its ties with Yugoslavia. Just three months earlier, in the picturesque town of Maribor, Slovenia, Darinka Saksida & Vladimir Kline announced the birth of their baby boy Bostjan to friends and family.

Earlier this year, just a few weeks before his 20th birthday and a few months before the 20th anniversary of his homeland’s declaration of independence, Bostjan Kline made his own declaration of sorts to the international ski racing community by capturing gold medals in both downhill and Super-G at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships at Crans Montana, Switzerland.

Kline, who grew up watching Slovenian racers like Andrej Jerman, Tina Maze and Andrej Sporn make alpine skiing history, says he’s ready now to make a little history of his own on the slopes.

“I think every athlete wants to be good - if not the best in his or her sport, so I hope I will someday be as good as Jerman, Sporn or Maze,” Kline says.

Recently, Kline – who is known to friends as “Klainy” - took a little time out of his busy summer dry-land schedule to answer a few questions about his experiences over the past year and what lies ahead for him in the not too distant future.

MM: Bostjan, Slovenia declared independence the same year you were born, so you are the same age as your homeland. How proud are you when you hear your national anthem when you step onto the podium?

BK: Every time you step on podium and hear your national anthem it’s a special moment for sure, but I have to say that I think it would be just as special if I was born in 1990 or in any other year.

MM: Who was your favorite ski racer growing up?

BK: Alberto Tomba and later Herman Maier. I think every athlete wants to be good if not the best in his sport, so I hope I will someday be as good as Jerman or Sporn or Maze!

MM: You captured Gold in Downhill and Super-G at the World Junior Alpine Championships at Crans Montana earlier this year. What did it feel like to win both speed events?

BK: After my downhill victory I was really happy and it felt really good when I was standing on podium. After the second medal it got really exciting and I was really pumped at taking a second gold medal – I kind of got lost in the moment and things kind of went into a blur for me after that.

MM: How did you celebrate your victories? Did you receive a big reception when you returned to Slovenia?

BK: I celebrated after the first medal victory with my teammates and coaches in Crans Montana, and then we celebrated again, this time for both medals when I got home with friends and family at a very nice reception. It’s always great to celebrate with the people you know so well at home - it’s something I will never forget.

MM: You’re really dialed in to the speed disciplines. Is there a secret to skiing speed events well?

BK: I think every athlete has his or her own secrets and feelings that only they know, so it is hard to speak about how to ski fast for everybody – I think it’s something you have inside you as a racer and it’s different for everyone.

MM: Did you gain any confidence from your World Junior victories that you can use elsewhere?

BK: For sure it gives you a bit of self-confidence and some motivation when you win. For me the self-confidence and motivation from Junior Worlds have carried on into the offseason into the training camps that we have now over the summer. I think it pushes me to work harder.

MM: You had the opportunity to ski at the WC Finals in the downhill - did you learn anything from this experience?

BK: It was a cool experience and I think the biggest thing I learned was that you have to train a lot if you want to beat the best guys in the world. I think I also found out that you have to train your mind as well as your body to be successful at the top level – mental training is very important to compete at an elite level.

MM: Do you think you are ready to ski on the World Cup tour full-time next season?

BK: My coaches will decide on that so we’ll see. I do think it’s better if I go step by step and be patient rather than rush it though.

MM: What's the most important lesson you learned last season?

BK: That you have to keep up your head, even if things aren’t working out sometimes.

MM: What's the best piece of advice one of your coaches has given you so far?

BK: That you have to keep things simple.

MM: The Slovenian National Ski Team has some very talented and experienced veteran racers - have you received any useful advice from your older/wiser teammates?

BK: No advice but I know they are always there for me and open to questions if I have any.

MM: Younger members of ski teams often have to be "initiated" by older members to gain acceptance as fully-fledged team members. Have you been "initiated" yet? What did "initiation" involve? Carrying the team bags, carrying teammate’s skis? Something more interesting perhaps???

BK: Fortunately nothing “more interesting” – only small things like you said, carrying bags, carrying skis ant other types of lifting and carrying – haha!

MM: How has your dry-land training been going this off-season? What kind of training have you been doing?

BK: We started at the end of May with a training camp in Croatia, on the island of Iz - - mostly cycling, weightlifting, running, and core workouts.

MM: Are there any other sports you enjoy outside of skiing?

BK: I really like playing tennis and I played it a lot when I was a kid. I also play a lot of soccer.

MM: Have you had any time for a holiday this off-season? Have you been to the beach or anywhere warm after a long cold winter skiing?

BK: No nothing special, but I am planning to go to Croatia for four or five days for a little break and to rest a bit.

Bostjan Kline getting first touches with snow