Lara Gut talks family, acting, new skis, Olympics and more
22-year-old Lara Gut is a good-humored and talented Swiss skier. The allround skier is particularly strong in the speed disciplines, downhill and super-G and in this interview, courtesy of Skiveltcup.tv, she talks about the beauty of skiing, Lindsey Vonn’s fall at the World Ski Championships in Schladming, her coach and father Pauli, the new material and her engagement as an actress.
Skiweltcup.TV: Lara, the 2012/13 season, including your silver medal at the World Championships in Schladming is now history, what lessons and hopes you draw from last season in view of the upcoming Olympic season?
Lara Gut: The season that just ended was truly beautiful. It generated a lot of emotion, and I was able to ski as I am capable of, however that did not always show. In any case, this season was a perfect foundation for the summer, which will allow me to work well if not better than in previous years.
Skiweltcup.TV: What is for you the beauty, what’s so captivating in alpine skiing, and could you imagine having a similarly good career in another sport?
Lara Gut: When I ski, I am alone, and I do what I love the most of all in the world. I also like other sports, but I have never gotten one to a similar level to skiing so I have no comparisons. However, I can say that I'm overjoyed that I can ski so well. (Laughs)
Skiweltcup.TV: A negative point of last year’s season is for sure Lindsey Vonn’s injury. Was it, in your opinion avoidable and do you think that the new material could also have contributed something?
Lara Gut: Sure it's never nice when someone rashes. Both Beat Feuz and Bode Miller couldn’t even start the season due to knee problems. I also remember the horror fall of Italian Nadia Fanchini in St. Moritz just before the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. In Schladming conditions were very difficult, that is correct. The snow was soft, but the visibility was better than what we had in Lake Louise, when they held me back at the start three times. Even in the super-G in Cortina it snowed more, and you saw a lot of snow on edge of the slope. Skiing is an outdoor sport and it is not always easy to find the limit of what is possible and what is too dangerous.
Anyhow, I do not think that the material had an influence in Lindsey’s fall.
Skiweltcup.TV: What does Lara Gut do at the moment and when does the preparation for the new season begin? What training camps are on your program and what you put most value on in training?
Lara Gut: Right now I am in Livigno skiing. Athletic training for the new season started in early May and it will end in late April of next year. (Laughs)
I will focus on the different disciplines. At the beginning we focus on the technical aspects and in the end, before the first races of the new season, we will work on the details.
Skiweltcup.TV: You train with your father Pauli. Is it different working in a family team, is it easier to accept criticism because they come from your own father or maybe it gives you more confidence?
Lara Gut: I work with my father, because he is an excellent coach and the person who knows me better. I see that his reviews are mostly accurate and justified. When I look around a bit, I see that even Marcel Hirscher has his father as a consultant always near him while Tina Maze is coached by her boyfriend. Thus, I believe that training in the family environment or where there are emotional ties, as is the case for me, is a good way to achieve your goals.
Skiweltcup.TV: You said that the new material would be a struggle for all. Could you tell us a few words again regarding what were your concerns about the new skis?
Lara Gut: I did not say that much. Ligety’s statements generated more turmoil and between the athletes there were many discussions. What I found out at the end of the season is that on soft snow and less groomed slopes such as the ones at FIS races, carving is very difficult. The young athletes who start in the World Cup with numbers outside the top 50 are not as physically well prepared and have therefore some difficulties, especially if the track is not in an optimal state. This is simply my way of thinking, and when I talk to different athletes, I've noticed that they also share my opinion.
Skiweltcup.TV: Many fans always want more, they always want skiers to push their limits further. Is the maximum power already achieved, or how thin is the line between the testing of the boundaries and the pressure to succeed, that often imposes itself?
Lara Gut: I think that the technology continues to evolve. If we remember the time of Tomba, it was believed that the limit was achieved with the high plates. Or we if we think of the birth of carving skis, there are always new developments in materials and changes come and go.
Skiweltcup.TV: Lara, what qualities do you appreciate most about a people?
Lara Gut: Honest, hard working people, those who are open and direct, I like to have around. I do not like lazy and superficial people. The situation is similar with people who think they are something better. I enjoy getting people around me to laugh and spreading good mood.
Skiweltcup.TV: Even if you're young, you've ventured a little in the acting world. How was that experience for you, and could you imagine going down that road at the end of your sporting career?
Lara Gut: It was a special thing that was fun and very rewarding for me. But it is not compatible with the life and the needs of an athlete. Perhaps we will speak about it at the end of my sporting career but today I think of other things. Moreover, I do not think I'm at the level to pursue an acting career.
But I am proud that the film is successful and is still represented in various festivals around the world. This is certainly an honor for the work of many people, first of all the director and my friend Niccolò Castelli.
Skiweltcup.TV: Which newspaper headline you would be happy to read about you in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia?
Lara Gut: Lara laughs and does what she can, in the best way!
Skiweltcup.TV: Do you have a tip that you got as a young skier by a family member that proved useful in some difficult situation?
Lara Gut: Fix your eyes on the ball, or ... "Focus!"
Interview conducted for skiweltcup.tv by Andreas Raffeiner