Athlete in interview: Long distance specialist Seraina Boner (SUI) of Team Exspirit

06 June 2012 08:40
Seraina Boner wins Birkebeiner
Seraina Boner wins Birkebeiner -
FIS

Swiss Seraina Boner had a great season. In spite of injury, which forced her to sit out half of the season, she finished in second place in the FIS Marathon Cup 2011/12 and took six top three results in the series. FIS Cross-Country News talked to the long distance specialist.

Q: Seraina, how is your summary of last season?

Seraina Boner: I had a tough start into the season and had to sit out most of the races in January because of the back injury, which I suffered walking to the competition venue in Kuusamo. I slipped on ice and fell badly on my back. It hurt some parts of the back, and it got worse with training and racing in December until I could not move at all. To be in Val di Fiemme and not be able to take part in Marcialonga was really hard. Fortunately I had really good treatment and rehab training so from February I was able to ski all the competitions after all. When I started to race again, it felt great and I managed to be on the podium in all the races. To end the season with a victory in Birkebeiner and the Ski Classics Final was great. So I am really happy with the 2nd part of the season.

Q: You can compare preparation for long distance competitions and World Cups?

S.B.: I started doing long distance races two years ago by chance. I prepared like a 'normal' skier and won both the Marcialonga and Birkebeinerrennet. However, I could also tell that long distance skiing demands more specific training if you want to be really good. A greater focus on double-poling is required and also you need to get the body used to long hours of competing. But still I would say the basic training is similar and I train with “normal” skiers a lot. Another important factor is also how your body is built; your muscles must be working well in long distance so that they do not get exhausted. Some skiers are born sprinters, some rather long distance specialists.

Q: What is in your mind when skiing such a long competition as Vasaloppet? How does your body feel?

S.B.: I actually think a lot about what will be in my mind before the race and am a bit worried and nervous about it. But as soon as the race starts, it is all about being focused and concentrated on what is going on around you because we ski between all the guys and you really need to be careful not to fall down or damage your equipment. So I really just focus on the moment and keep pushing.

In the race and when I feel good, I hardly notice the kilometer marks. They just fly by. Towards the finish the body starts feeling tired for sure, but I just try not to think about that and work hard.

Q: Popular competitions have become more popular recently and have changed a lot. Do you like this development?

S.B.: I like the way it is now and do not know so much about how it was in the past. The races have become more competitive, which is great and there are more professional teams every year. The fact that the Ski Classics races are live on TV help to make skiing more popular and of course more important and fun also for us, skiers. People recognize and appreciate your performance much more than before. I believe that long distance skiing still has a big potential and a bright future.

Q: We are now in the middle of the training season. What are your goals for next winter?

S.B.: I would love to be really ready again next season and of course dream of winning the Ski Classics Overall again. However, the overall title comes by taking race by race and trying to do my best in every competition. Vasaloppet has a special attraction for every skier, also for me. And to be on the top in my home race, the Engadin Skimarathon, is also a childhood dream. I have a lot of goals and tons of motivation for my daily training!