Alpine Young Guns: Christina Geiger
By Michal Mastarciyan
You don’t have to be a stats wizard to see that the waters in the German ladies’ ski team’s slalom pool run deep. With a roster of podium-proven racers like Maria Höfl-Riesch, Susanne Riesch and Fanny Chmelar it’s abundantly clear that Germany’s slalom racing program has considerable depth.
The depth chart, however, doesn’t end with these racers as there is a new star rising up the German team’s slalom ranks and her name is Christina Geiger. Geiger first made ripples came when she stepped onto her first Europa Cup slalom podium with a 3rd place in Funäsdalen, Sweden in November 2008 as an 18-year-old.
Since then she’s had eight more Europa Cup slalom podiums four of which have been victories. But Geiger has made a splash elsewhere too during her young racing career. In 2010 the slalom prodigy from Oberstdorf, Germany, captured slalom gold at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships in Les Planards, France.
Then, last December, she made the biggest splash of her career yet, and proved she was ready to swim with the big fish by finishing 3rd at the World Cup slalom held at Semmering, Austria.
Now, after a spring and summer of training, she’s ready dip her toes in the World Cup pool again - but before that, a few questions…
MM: Christina, you’ve had a lot of success on the Europa Cup tour and have a Junior Worlds gold medal too, but last December you stepped onto the World Cup podium for the first time in Semmering, Austria – how did that feel?
CG: It's a great feeling and definitely doesn’t compare with a podium inuropa Cup or Junior Worlds. At first I couldn't believe it, but I was very happy about my success.
MM: Who was the first person you called after your podium in Semmering?
CG: I called my boyfriend.
MM: Success on the Europa Cup and at Junior Worlds doesn’t always guarantee success on the World Cup tour – what does it take to have success on the ultimate level of alpine ski racing since you’ve done that now?
CG: That's right. It's much harder to be successful in the World Cup than in Europa Cup as World Cup is in a completely different league! The competition is harder and the slopes are steeper. You have to train a lot and you have to take bigger risks in the races!
MM: What’s the most important thing you learned from your first World Cup podium ascent?
CG: I realized that standing on the podium can happen faster than you think (she says with a smile!). You have to risk in the races, and it's really important to transfer your training performance into the race.
MM: The German ladies slalom team is full of lots of talent – have you learned anything from your older and wiser teammates?
CG: Of course, you can learn a lot during training. You can compare yourself with the best skiers in the world and you can copy technical things and so on.
MM: What’s the best piece of advice you received last season and who did it come from?
CG: Last season was not that easy. I often did not finish races. My coaches supported me a lot by telling me, to stay cool, relaxed and concentrated.
MM: Will you be racing full time on the World Cup this coming season or will it be a mix of World Cup and Europa Cup?
CG: I will focus on the World Cup, but if I have time, I will also compete in Europa Cup races. Racing is the best form of training!
MM: Sweden’s Anja Pärson began as a slalom specialist and went onto spectacular success in all events. Can you see yourself succeeding in other events someday in the future?
CG: For sure! I will try to get better in giant slalom first.
MM: Did you have any ski racing idols growing up? How about within your own team currently?
CG: Years ago I was a fan of Bode Miller. But over the last few years I haven’t really had any idols. On our team it's Maria, who is incredibly talented in all events. She's a great skier.
MM: What have you done for off-season training this spring and summer? What is your training schedule from now until season start?
CG: First I went on a military course for four weeks. Then in May I started my fitness training focusing mostly on power, endurance and coordination. In July we went on snow. Now we are training on the Swiss glaciers and soon we’ll be moving our on-snow training to Austria.
MM: Have you had any time off? Have you taken a vacation this spring/summer?
CG: Yes in April I went to Egypt and it was great!
MM: On a completely separate topic…the German word Geiger means “fiddler” (violinist) in English - can you play the violin or any other instruments?
CG: No, I don't play any musical instruments.
MM: Do you ever listen to music before races and in between runs to motivate yourself?
CG: I rarely listen to music between runs.
MM: Do you have any race day rituals you’d care to share with your fans?
CG: No rituals, no stuff like that – sorry! (She says with a wink!)