Austrian talent Jessica Depauli, 20, from Kirchberg had her first World Cup season last season, a debut of highs and lows. The 2011 junior world slalom champion started a total of 29 races, travelled to 17 destinations around the globe and succeeded in picking up World Cup points on five occasions. However the girl from Tyrol was repeatedly dogged by injury and illness.
Now Jessica is in top shape and fully motivated, ready to prove what she's made of in the 2012/13 World Championship season. She spoke to Skiweltcup.TV about last season, about the messages her own body was giving her, about the speed events and the World Ski Championships in her own country.
Skiweltcup.TV: Last year you sustained an injury early in the season, in a fall in the giant slalom in Aspen. After that you were plagued by back problems and a persistent cold. At the end of the season your only triumph was as Austrian Champion in the slalom. What's your own verdict on your first World Cup season?
Jessica Depauli: What can I say? I'm not happy with the way the season went, but not unhappy either. I knew it was going to be tough, and a lot of things happened. I was already getting pain in my knees during training in Vail at the start of the season. In the giant slalom in Aspen I hit the post on only the third gate and so the season didn't exactly get off to a good start. I got boot bruises and it took a long time before I was free from pain. Then the back problems started and so it went on for the whole season. I never really gave myself a chance to recover properly. I thought it would be all right, but it probably would have been better to give things a chance to mend fully.
How important is it for an Alpine ski racer to listen to what her body is telling her, and to stay strong mentally? Do you work with a mental training coach?
Jessica Depauli: I did notice last season that listening to your body is really important, and hopefully I've learnt from that. I used to work with a mental training coach. At the moment I have my own exercises that I do. If I ever felt the need, I could, and definitely would, go back to a mental training coach. It's really important to be mentally fit and free to ski.
Last season we got to see you mainly in the slalom and giant slalom. In the super-G you only started in Bad Kleinkirchheim and Cortina d'Ampezzo. The Austrian Ski Association's ladies' head coach Herbert Mandl once described you as a wild child that knew no fear. Will we be seeing you more often in the speed events then?
Jessica Depauli: Don't worry, that's not quite true. :) I have total respect, I always have had, but no one believes me. I've shied away from the speed events a bit because of all my injury problems. I also missed out some of the slaloms and GSs because I just couldn't do them for health reasons. If I'm fit enough I'd like to have a crack at the super combined and the super-G this year.
What did you do to recover after such a stressful season? Where do you go to recharge your batteries, what's the best place and how do you go about it?
Jessica Depauli: After the season I went on holiday at the start of May, and that did me a whole lot of good.
In recent weeks a lot of skis have been tested for the new season in the wake of the equipment reform. How are getting on with the new equipment?
Jessica Depauli: You can't really say what it's like yet, but it's going to be tiring. You need a lot more strength. I hope I'll cope all right, but it will be a big change.You weren't able to start in the World Cup Final in Schladming last season. How realistic do you think your chances are of fulfilling your dream of competing at the 2013 World Championships?
Jessica Depauli: As I mentioned, this year I'm going to be doing super-G and super combined as well. Competition for spots is still smallest in the super combined, so I'd rate my chances as being best in that. It would be a dream come true if I could take part in the World Championships in my own country.
In the World Cup you room with Carmen Thalmann, and you're good friends away from skiing too. What do you like about her in particular?
Jessica Depauli: Carmen is laid-back and cool, and you can do anything with her. She's always up for a laugh.