The 2011/12 season was the best for Hannes Reichelt in his career. The Austrian all-rounder is confident about the coming season and the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2013 in Schladming, just around the corner from his home town of Radstadt.
Hannes, you had your best season ever last season, finishing 5th in the overall rankings and in the top 8 in the event rankings for downhill (4th), super-G (8th) and giant slalom (5th). Is it easy to motivate oneself for the long training season after such a success?
HR: After such a good season as mine was last year it is actually especially easy to begin preparations for the new season and be motivated to train. The knowledge that your hard training and discipline delivered great success last year helps you take on the summer and autumn training, as opposed to seasons when you failed to meet your goals despite all the hard work.
How have you been preparing yourself since the snow melted?
HR: After the season I went surfing in Bali for two weeks. That sport helps me relax after the tough season. Thereafter I started to work on my fitness again. Besides road biking on Mallorca and training units such as hiking and strength exercises we had a special training session with the "Cobra", the special unit of the Austrian Police. We had to rappel from a gondola, complete a fitness parcours, drive a car blind and so on. After two months on dry-land training, we returned to snow. In July we were on the Swiss glaciers and then from mid-August until mid-September I was in Portillo (Chile) for speed training and after that in Ushuaia (ARG) for GS and SG training.
We gather that besides skiing you also enjoy biking, surfing, climbing and flying. Have you had any time for those or any time to just relax this summer?
HR: Besides surfing on my holidays I spend my free time flying. I received my private pilot license two years ago and whatever time I have besides my training I try to focus on flying and furthering my piloting skills.
You had some problems with your knee at the end of last season - is that now all taken care of?
HR: After the season I had some more examinations done and those revealed that although the knee is a bit damaged there is no need for an operation. I did a lot of physical therapy in the spring and the knee reacted well. That is why I can ski without pain again now.
For someone born in Altenmarkt, resident of Radstadt and a former student in Schladming, the Schladming 2013 Worlds are truly outside the house door. Is that an advantage or in fact a disadvantage with all the pressure that it brings, especially in Austria?
HR: I consider it to be an advantage for me that the Worlds will be practically held on my backyard. I know this area, its snow and the courses well, and this only happens once or never during an athlete’s career. That’s why I enjoy the situation and try not to let the pressure get to me.
You will be defending a silver medal in the super-G in Schladming - some considered your 2011 medal a bit of a surprise, but after last season another medal would pretty much be expected, or what do you think?
HR: Of course people expect a lot from me in Schladming. For me personally the Garmisch medal was very important as I no longer have the pressure to demonstrate that I can win a medal at a title event. This was taken care by my winning the super-G silver. And it is especially important in Schladming, because I can now concentrate on what counts, namely skiing.
Your family is in a tourism business and runs a hotel in Radstadt. Are you going to be taking over the family business at some point?
HR: A hotel is an exaggeration; we have an apartment house. I don’t know who will take over the family business. But at the moment I do not need to even think about it because my parents are still very fit and like what they are doing. It makes no sense to spend time on thinking about this now since it will only be a topic in a few years.