Fabienne Suter: "North America is the goal"
27-year-old Swiss speed specialist Fabienne Suter scored five top ten results last season including three podiums before she was injured on home snow in St Moritz in the super combined slalom at the end of January. She was operated on her right knee in early February and has been working on her comeback ever since.
Q. Fabienne, you have now successfully completed a few ski camps – how is your knee doing?
Thanks, my knee is doing well. I can train without pain and the knee has had no problems with the first ski training sessions.
Q. Many months of rehab training, lots of physiotherapy – how hard have you been working since you were operated by Dr. Olivier Siegrist in early February?
Right after the operation I was taken care of by my physiotherapist and I visited her almost daily. She did not only treat my knee but was my support person when things were not going as well as I had hoped. In addition, she and my conditioning coach kept in regular touch with Olivier and prepared my rehab plan based on his advice. Initially I spent a lot of time in the gym to rebuild the muscles that had lost a lot of mass. Later on my training plan became more diverse and exciting through cycling, walking, hiking… This return to snow has for sure been accompanied by much sweat but I was well supported from all sides and that made the “pain” much easier to endure.
Q. Are you where you wanted to be, 7 months after operation?
Hmmm, in most areas yes, even if strength-wise I am not yet there where I was before the operation. From the ski-technical perspective I feel happy with the new downhill and super-G skis and am convinced I will also get the new GS skis to curve as they should. After all there is still time until my season start!
Q. This was not the first time you were injured – how do you get motivated time and again?
My biggest motivation after this injury was surely my good results last season. I was feeling great, was ready to give it my best and that’s the feeling I want to have again. I am super motivated to return to the very top as soon as possible.
Q. You have moved into a new apartment this summer – how do you like your new home?
I renovated the apartment together with friends and colleagues, I have settled in slowly and decorated it comfortably and now I enjoy my ‘oasis of peace’ after the team training sessions. And when it gets too peaceful I visit my family, invite my god child Jordan for a visit or have friends over for a dinner and game evening. So far it has not been boring yet!
Q. Did you also have a chance to enjoy the summer and maybe find some benefits in being injury?
In the spring we had a week of training with the team on Mallorca and since I really liked it, I returned there with my sister for another week. She enjoyed the beach while I sweated in the gym. But we also had a lot of fun and enjoyed some R&R. This fitness vacation was like balm for my soul since my teammates were in South America at the same time!
Q. How do you plan your return to racing; Sölden probably comes too early?
Right, I won’t for sure start in Sölden. The races in North America are my goal right now and I am working towards those.
Q. Let’s look forward: what can we expect from Fabienne Suter this season?
Hmm, I’d love to know that too! I am conscious that this is a sort of a recovery season for me, but I still hope to be able to return to the top in the speed events as soon as possible. I am happy to be back skiing, am ready to give it my all but I am not going to let myself be put under pressure but instead will take it as it comes.
Q. Super-G has been your best event so far. Why is that and will it remain so?
Maybe it is so because in super-G you can really carve the curves. My technique and speed just suit this event really well. Whether that will remain so? I hope so but I would also like to be consistently fast and score top results in the downhill.
Q. Finally a word on the Swiss ladies‘ team: how do you like it there and will you be in a position as a team to challenge the US and Austrian ladies in the speed events again?
I feel well in our team. We are a group of young women who are cheering each other on, always ready for some fun times and despite some internal competition ready to support each other when needed. If all stay healthy and can deliver in the races what they show in training, we will surely put up with the other nations in the speed events. In the super-Gs at Beaver Creek and Bad Kleinkirchheim we already showed what we can and that is exactly what we want deliver as a team anew. Hopp Schwiiz! (Smile)