Ski pro Viktoria Rebensburg flexes her muscles.
Training is everything: the summer as a trailblazer for the winter.
What does a ski racer do in the summer? Finally sleep in peace? Eat a large sundae by the pool? Rather not. Those who want to keep the world elite in check in the winter, have to be fully committed in the summer as well. That's why one of the season’s highlights for German Olympic Champion and Vice World Champion Viktoria Rebensburg is: full power on strength and endurance training.
In the 2017/2018 season, the 28-year-old was once again the best giant slalom racer in the world, winning the World Cup for the third time in this demanding discipline. "Having won the small crystal ball means a lot to me," says Vicky: "It gives me the energy to go to the limit again this summer – to be able to start the racing season at the top of my game."
“Full leg power for aggressive radii”
Sweating in the summer
The summer days begin with 2.5 to 3 hours of strength training. "It's about building and maintaining muscle mass," Vicky explains. "In the power circle, it's important to be able to cope with a lot of hard work for a long time. Endurance is important here: How long can I hold the maximum?" Fully developed leg strength is the basis for aggressive curve radii. And for long jumps in the fast disciplines.
An afternoon session lasts up to another 2.5 hours. Here, cycling, running as well as coordination and a special core training are the focus. "I train very intensively throughout the summer," says Vicky, who has a heavenly environment for extensive bike tours at her disposal – at home around the lake Tegernsee: "It means going to the limit every day and bringing out the most out of myself!"
“An extreme workload on intensive days”
Finetuning on the slopes
From the end of July, the mountain is calling. This year, Vicky heads for the glacier in Zermatt in Switzerland. In August and September, the resources that were built up in the summer will be held and new stimuli will be set with targeted units. Then it's time to fine-tune. To be among the favorites for victory in the giant slalom at the World Cup opening in Sölden in October – just like the last couple of years.
"I prepare intensively for each of my training days and consciously take care of my regeneration," says Vicky, who is known for racing close to perfection on some days. "Giant slalom is very dynamic and requires an extremely high training load. You have to know that you are perfectly prepared. Only then your are able to go on full attack."
“It all comes down to tiny nuances in the terrain, every slight undulation. A good pair of goggles with the right lenses increases safety. They also help me to read the piste perfectly and can make all the difference as to whether or not I make it onto the podium.”
“The best ski racer of the world”
Nuances as motivation
If you ask Victoria about her goal, you will get a clear answer: "I want to become the best skier in the world." Winning the overall World Cup would be the culmination of her career, which began in 2010 like a bombshell – when the then 20-year-old surprisingly and only a few days after her first World Cup podium in the Giant Slalom (Cortina d'Ampezzo) took home gold at the Olympic Games in Vancouver.
The following two years, she was hard to beat in the Giant Slalom: bronze in Sochi in 2014 and the Vice World Cup title in 2015. Skiing is about nuances; as seen in Pyeongchang 2018, where Vicky ranked 4th – by 12 hundredths. "But that's exactly what makes our sport so exciting," she says. “And that’s what motivates me to give everything in the summer."
“Take-off with 100 km/h”
The Olympic Champion on victories, strength and falls
What encourages you more: victory or defeat?
"Both! In some races, you feel that you have made perfect turns and are at the top of the podium. Those victories drive you forward. But equally important are defeats. I keep learning from them because I reflect the reasons together with my trainers and develop strategies to become better."
Has the professional sport made you a different person?
"Maybe not a different person. But I have learned that I can handle difficult situations successfully on my own. I have learned to believe in myself and to always face new challenges. These experiences strengthen my self-confidence – and that's exactly what I need to give my best in competitions."
When was the last time you were glad to wear a helmet?
"My helmet gives me a good feeling every time I’m on my skis. The last time I really needed it was at the Super-G in Val d'Isère in December 2017. I got a hit, I flew off at a speed of about 100 km/h and landed pretty roughly. In these moments, it's nice to know that you can rely on your protective gear.”