The three-time world champion and former figurehead of the Austrian Ski Association (ÖSV) talks about successes, the art of getting up after defeats, her role in the development of the JOY women's ski from Head and valuable lessons learnt from her active time.
Anna Veith: It's not easy to pick a highlight of my career, because every victory has its own significance for me. My victory at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, where I won the gold medal in the super-G, was definitely a special milestone. This victory showed me that hard work, perseverance and teamwork can lead to great success. Ultimately, winning the Olympics fulfilled my big childhood dream. Having achieved this allowed me to ski very freely, and winning the overall World Cup twice followed.
Anna Veith: In addition to technical ability, success in the ski circus requires above all mental strength, perseverance and the willingness to learn from setbacks and leave your comfort zone time and time again. Every athlete needs the talent to learn quickly, a very strong will and, above all, perseverance in difficult phases in order to reach the top. A strong team and the support of your family help you to keep pushing your own boundaries and to have the courage to go your own way and break new ground.
Anna Veith: After setbacks, it was important for me to never lose faith in myself. My important environment of coaches, physiotherapists and family helped me to get the right support on my way back to the top. My passion for the sport and the will to ride at the highest level again also spurred me on. Basically, however, it was simply the very hard and consistent work I put in that brought me back to the top. Accepting the changed situation and always taking a positive view of the small steps forward in order to achieve the big picture were absolutely crucial.
Anna Veith: My athlete mindset has taught me to be persistent in working towards my goals and to tackle challenges with determination. This mentality helps me today in all areas of my life. As a mum, I can use my experiences to teach my son values such as discipline, commitment and self-belief, although as a mum I learn something new every day anyway 😉. The stamina and long-term view certainly help in my supportive role at the hotel.
Anna Veith: Skiing has developed a lot during my career and also afterwards. The development of equipment in particular has been extreme. This has also made it necessary to constantly develop physically. Due to the constant increase in cornering speeds, the G-forces acting on an athlete are getting higher and higher. And thus the stress on joints and structures. The focus on athlete health and safety has become a central issue, although there are no clear-cut solutions for many topics.
Anna Veith: The radii that were achieved through the construction of the skis had the biggest influence for me personally. It makes a big difference whether you have one metre more or less time between the gates. Above all, the radii have a huge impact on the G-forces. A larger radius on the ski means that you need more power to make a tight turn, which in turn means that more G-forces act on the entire body. In GS in particular, the change in radius was a huge step forward for the entire technology.
Anna Veith: I continue to follow the ski circus with great interest. Even after my active career, skiing remains an important part of my life. I use my experience to give advice to young talents and support the sport in other ways. I am currently mentoring a young athlete who is currently competing in the European Cup.
I was able to contribute my experience and expertise to the development of the HEAD JOY line. I worked closely with the HEAD team of experts to ensure that the skis fulfil the needs and requirements of female skiers in the best possible way. It was important to me that the women's ski was also built with performance in mind, i.e. the radius was increased and the construction made more stable. The "feedback" from the ski has been significantly improved as a result. This makes it easier to cut turns and the ski remains stable on the snow at higher speeds.
Anna Veith: Women's skis must be tailored to the biomechanical and anatomical characteristics of female skiers. An optimum balance between control, manoeuvrability and stability is crucial. Specifically, the weight of the skis has been adapted to the lower body weight of women. Through the targeted use of carbon, a lighter construction was achieved while increasing the necessary stability. The radius has been increased so that the ski does not turn too aggressively, but the turning ability is still there. In my opinion, the design is very minimalist and tastefully chosen so that it matches a wide variety of outfits and every lady can find her own individual style.
Basically, the skis do not differ from the basic idea - the highest quality materials are always used to ensure the highest possible ride quality and, above all, fun. The women's models are lighter in weight and have adapted lengths and radii to cater for physical differences in the best possible way.
If you find the right ski for you, it's simply a lot more fun. My ideal ski should optimally support my skiing ability and physical conditions. The better tuned you are, the longer you can enjoy a day on the snow and the more you can feel the centrifugal forces in the bends.