Tessa Worley: “I love the new Raptor course”
Tessa Worley of France, the defending giant slalom world champion from Schladming 2013, is working hard to return to the top in time for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships at Vail-Beaver Creek 2015. Poised for success after an excellent season start, she crashed and tore the ACL in her right knee last December, missing the rest of the Olympic season.
The Vail-Beaver Creek 2015 OC caught up with the eight-time World Cup winner in Ushuaia, Argentina, where she is currently training, to find out how her comeback preparations are progressing and what she is looking forward to at the season highlight event at Vail-Beaver Creek 2015.
Tessa, how are you doing, 8 months after your knee injury in Courchevel in December?
I'm doing well, thanks. My knee is not too painful and I'm skiing since two months now. The injury and rehab process was quite new for me and I still have to make some adjustments to my training compared to before the injury but it's slowly getting back to normal and I can train again. So I'm happy!
You were back on snow exactly 6 months after your operation. Are you happy with where you are now?
I'm going slowly in my recovery. I don’t want to do any mistakes and move too fast. I want to heal as well as I can before getting up to high intensity on skis! At first, I did two or three short ski camps and it went well. So I felt ready for a long ski camp in Ushuaia. I'm here right now. Everything is good and every day I can feel the improvements.
It is only two months until the Season Opening in Sölden: will you be there?
I cannot answer this question for the moment. I would love to be at the start at the season opening, of course. But I want to be sure to be 100% ready when I race again.
After winning gold in Schladming and having a great start into last season, you missed out on the Sochi Games – that must have been a tough time for you?
It was really tough at first. But then I made up my mind and I accepted that I would not be racing in the Olympics this year. I really focused on the healing process and taking good care of myself was the most important. My family helped a lot. And I learned patience during those six long months!
What do you think at this point can you expect from your giant slalom title defense at Vail-Beaver Creek 2015?
I don't expect anything but I just know I want to have this feeling again! If it's next year, great! If it's not, I'll be working hard for it to happen as soon and as often as possible! :)
Just before your injury, you raced at the ladies’ test events at Beaver Creek. How did you find the new Raptor course? The ladies’ GS at the Worlds, however, will be run on the Birds of Prey, do you think that bodes well for you?
I love the new Raptor course. It's a very challenging and technical course but I had so much pleasure skiing on that snow! And I think it's very interesting for spectators too; anything could happen!
The Birds of Prey is legendary. And I love skiing on men's courses. They are often more technical and that's what I like. This slope is very complete. Steep and flat parts. And it makes it so interesting to ski for us. You need to be tactical, physical and at 100% all the way down.
From racing in the US in the past you have great memories with two victories in Aspen. What is special about competing and training in the US?
I love the snow conditions, the slopes and the atmosphere in the US.
Your father is Australian, so you probably feel well in an Anglo-Saxon environment? Or do you consider yourself more French?
When I was a kid, I and my brother used to ski in France during the winter there, and then ski in New Zealand during their winter, so it was skiing all year round! My Mum is French and my Dad Australian so I guess I am 50/50 but I've been living with my Mum for many years in France and I'm part of the French ski Team for 8 years now. So, I'll say I’m more French but I like my little difference: that I have Australian roots too.
Besides being busy training and rehab/therapies, you’ve also had a chance to spend some time with your boyfriend Julien Lizeroux, including holidays on the Maldives - how was that?
This year's holidays were pretty short but we where in a perfect place to relax and forget about injuries and the hard time training. I just needed to get my mind off of my rehab for a few days and Julien needed to rest after a big season. It was perfect.
I like to travel to nice places in the world and there are so many to go to. But I also like to stay at home some times and stay in the couch. We are always travelling for skiing so it changes a bit. And that way I can see my family and friends!
The French ladies have a strong team. How important is that team spirit for you?
The team is pretty much the same for a few years now so we get to know each other very well. And this friendship helps a lot during training and competitions. We all want the same things and we push one another to get better every day.
What will make you happy after the coming 2014/15 season, when you look back at it?
I would be happy just to have fun with what I do. I think this experience made me improve and get stronger, mentally and physically. So I would love to look back and see all these changes in my skiing career.