Karin HUTTARY

Karin Huttary is known as the first ski cross queen after winning the first ever World Champion title in 2005! Since 2003, Karin has been one of the most impressive ski cross athletes and has already claimed a total of 4 World Cup victories and 12 podiums. Unfortunately, Karin suffered from a severe back injury in 2007 and when she came back on her skis in 2008, she got injured again. With motivation intact, Karin returned to her top level in 2009 and was rewarded by a superb silver medal in the World Championships in Japan, as well as 4 World Cup podiums. Representing Austria in the very first Olympic ski cross competition, Karin will be one of the great favorites going for gold!

Tell us about your great come back in 2009 with 4 podiums and a superb silver medal in the World Championships?

I'm proud that I was able to come back and achieve such great results. After all my injuries it was tough coming back. You need a lot of time, patience and motivation. People don't always realize how much it takes until you're back on top again. This is an experience for life and it makes you stronger in the end, even if it's hard to see it that way during moments of pain. I've learnt to be patient while working on getting back to the top again.

Tell us about your training for next season especially with the Olympics in sight.

When it comes to preparation for next season, for sure it's all about the Olympics. It's the one race where you should accomplish your best, but it's very difficult. You train for a whole year to be the best during 60 seconds on a particular day. It's a great challenge!

What are your dreams and goals for the 2010 Olympics? And what do you think about the competition slope in Cypress?

My dream for 2010 is obviously to win a medal. The shinier it is, the better it'll be. I hope the slope in Cypress will be very similar to this year's test run. It felt like a real ski cross with good, big jumps and we had a lot of fun skiing it.

What do you think about ski cross becoming an Olympic event for the first time ever during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics?

A couple of years ago, everyone pushed so hard for it and now this dream has come true, Ski Cross is now an Olympic event. It will be very exciting to compete and great to watch. I think it was a good decision to make ski cross Olympic. Younger people want to watch younger and cooler action sports during the Olympics. So, let's go!

Tell us about your career

I started skiing at the age of three. My dad was a coach for the ski team here in Innsbruck so it was very natural that I skied a lot and became good at it. I had a typical ski racing background throughout the years I was growing up in Innsbruck.

Due to my Swedish and Austrian dual nationality I had the chance, at the age of 17, to compete for Sweden and I made it onto the Swedish national team one year later. I'll explain my mixed nationality: My mother is Swedish and came to Austria 35 years ago because she loved skiing. She met my Austrian father here and we all (I have a sister and a brother) still live in Innsbruck, Austria.

After competing and training with the Swedish national Team for six years I felt that I needed a change. So I tried ski cross and loved it from the start. I've been completely hooked on this discipline ever since! It is a very exciting and challenging sport. You need so many different skills and the course usually offers a great combination of jumps, rollers and banks... The cool thing about ski cross is that there are always four skiers skiing on the same course at the same time.

There are a couple of keys to succeed: The start is very important. If you're fast at the beginning, you avoid struggling a lot at the start. But after that, you need to be a good skier in general and shouldn't be afraid of jumping big kickers. Mental and physical strength is essential.

Sure, there are risks in this sport and all the athletes (both male and female) are aware of this, but you should never even think about injuries when doing your sport. It spoils all the fun!

What about your injuries over the past seasons and your come back?

At the end of this year, I was happy to have skied a whole season without any injury but this feeling of relief came too early. During the very last race of the season in La Plagne I blew my ACL and had to have surgery one more time. I first thought, "This is the end of my career". After a couple of days, I realized that I'd have to do physio anyway and I felt that it was worth giving it another shot. The Olympics helped me to remain motivated and having a goal to work towards made long hours of training and physio shorter and more meaningful.

What are your main interests besides skiing?

During winter, there isn't much time for anything else but skiing and I like it that way...it's a great privilege! I love to go mountain biking and play tennis and beach volleyball which is a lot of fun. I've finished my studies in "Media, Communication and Education" at Innsbruck University and started working a little for the POC (a Swedish company that makes helmets and back protections). I enjoy learning something new every day. It's important for me to train my brain too... not only my muscles.

Tell us about your home and your way of living?

I live in a flat in Innsbruck and I'm a person who needs variety every day. Doing many different sports and spending free time with my friends is what I love most.