Dominique Gisin injured her left meniscus in the downhill training for the Cortina d'Ampezzo World Cup and had to prematurely end her season after beginning it promisingly with a podium finish at Lake Louise and another four top ten results. She had the knee operated on back home in Switzerland on 17th January 2012. After an intensive rehab period she has been back on the snow - initially for free skiing - since the end of March.
On her return from Ushuaia last week, Dominique took a moment to share some of her thoughts on the summer and the latest on her progress on the way back to racing.
Q. Dominique, you've just returned from a long training camp in Ushuaia (ARG) - your first time at the end of the world, how was it?
DG: It was simply wonderful. I loved that place right from the beginning. We had great training conditions and the work was lots of fun. It was real winter, I was definitely happy not to be in Europe with those high temperatures.
Q. Compared with only training on the home snow on the Swiss glaciers last year, what are the pros and cons of travelling overseas in your view?
DG: I think the biggest pro is that it is real winter there. It is easy to turn around lots of material as the ski room is just across the street from the lift station. The conditions were very World Cup-like and we had many days with poor visibility, just like during the racing season. When you train on a low altitude you can do more runs too. On the contrary, of course, it is always beautiful to train at home. Zermatt and Saas Fee are two great glaciers and we always get perfect slopes and high level training there. We don't have to travel far and can react easier to weather changes. I think a mix of both is just very nice, and you have a lot of different terrain to train on.Q. A propos training, how is your knee holding up? Are you in plan and training without hindrances, or still need to watch out a bit?
DG: The knee is really good. I'm super happy and want to thank all my medical staff especially everybody at the Rennbahnklinik in Muttenz. Again, they did a perfect job and I can train on full load.Q. Your brother Marc just also returned to snow after an injury, whilst your sister Michelle is in South America for a training camp. How do you encourage each other as the skiing siblings, all at the highest level of the Swiss-Ski structures?
DG: It is very nice that everybody is getting along so well at the moment. Of course we talk a lot about skiing. I think Marc has a great technique and I get a lot of advise from him. On the other side, I hope Michelle and Marc can profit a bit from my experience. The most important is that my entire family supports each other and we all love the sport.
Q. You have a new head coach for the Swiss ladies with Hans Flatscher (AUT). Do you see any difference in the way the team is working now and how is the team spirit - many of you are coming back from major injuries, too?
DG: Hans is a great guy. He's brought a lot of tranquillity into the team and it's great to work with somebody that was on the men's circuit for such a long time. The spirit in the team is very good. With Tina Weirather, we also have someone who had an awesome season the past year and she's pushing us every day.
Q. You are a passionate pilot - have you found any time for that or any of your other hobbies this summer?
DG: Unfortunately, the summer started off with lots of bad weather and I had to cancel many cool flying projects. It got better though, and I think so far I've spent already more than 20 hours in the air. There was also some golf and water sports this summer. I definitely had a good time.
Q. How does your plan look like for the remaining 56 days until Sölden - you are starting there, aren't you?
DG: Sölden is the goal. I hope the knees hold up and we can continue the good training from Argentina here on our home glaciers in Saas Fee and Zermatt. Additionally there will be more physical training and hopefully some more flying...
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