Nolan Kasper is back on skis after hip surgery
Nolan Kasper, the 22-year-old American skier was first introduced in our Alpine Young Guns series, even though with his rather impressive results he needed very little introduction.
Debuting on the Slalom World Cup tour in the 2009/2010 season, with only 17 World Cup starts and 17 Europa Cup starts in his skiing career, Kasper achieved a fair share of impressive results. He won the 2011 Overall Europa Cup slalom title (reaching the podium 6 times), stood on the podium at the Slalom race in Kranjska Gora (he got second, behind Austrian skier Mario Matt who is 10 years his senior), scored his first FIS Alpine World Ski Championships top finish with a 15th place in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and reached the top 15 four other times last season. Amazing numbers for someone with just two seasons of the Tour under his belt.
It was all looking great for Kasper; with a great season behind him motivation was high to enter the next one even stronger. This is when an injury set him back and messed with his summer training plans. He is finally getting back on skis and took a moment to answer a few questions about the past season, the injury and plans to come back.
Q: After an amazing season you were forced to a break due to hip surgery, what happened exactly?
A: I'm not really sure how it happened. I started having pain in my hip and it got worse and worse throughout the summer. I went and had an MRI taken and found out that I had a torn labrum and gluteus medius.
Q: How did the rehab go, are you close to being 100% fit again?
A: Rehab has been going really well since surgery in August. I'm not 100% yet but I am working as hard as possible to get myself in good shape for the season.
Q: You achieved your first World Cup podium and Europa Cup title all in the same season and were kind of on a high roll. What was the hardest to deal with when you realized an injury was going to mess with your summer training plans?
A: Injury is part of our sport. It's never good to get hurt but you take what you get and work to get back to where you were. I was pretty bummed not being able to ski but I am confident that I can be 100% healthy pretty soon.
Q: You are one of the very few skiers WC skiers that still goes to school, how much of a challenge is balancing the two?
A: I have a lot of fun when I go to school. I go straight from U.S. Nationals to school and fully focus on that for two months. Having that outlet to go to at the end of the season makes the grind a little easier during the season.
Q: Did having something else to focus during rehab help, keeping your mind off the fact you were not skiing?
A: I had nothing else to focus on during rehab because it was the end of the summer. Guys were off skiing in New Zealand, Chile and Europe while I was in Park City trying to get healthy.
Q: Spending the summer at home must have been something you haven’t done in years, what was the best part and did you do anything fun?
A: I haven't actually been home much this summer. I've probably spent a total of two weeks in Vermont since the ski season. All of my time was spent in Park City rehabbing and working out.
Q: Last season, after competing in a couple of World Cup races, you decided to go back to EC to boost up your confidence. What did you find to be the biggest challenge when switching between the two?
A: Going to the Europa Cup circuit isn't really a confidence booster. I was lucky enough to ski well early on and get some great start positions so that when I was struggling a bit, I could go back and have those opportunities to do well. The competition is extremely difficult in both.
Q: Looking to the new season, any plans and goals?
A: My goals for the season are to get back to 100% healthy.
by Ana Jelusic