This spring, Mirena Küng was catapulted straight into the Swiss-Ski A squad, despite never having belonged to any of the Swiss-Ski squads before.
Meanwhile, she has had time to catch her breath and to train with experienced World Cup performers such as Dominique Gisin. Here she talks about her initial experiences in a Swiss Ski squad.
1. What sort of preparations have you been doing so far this summer?
In May I went to two training camps at Kaunertal in Austria. After that it was off to Mallorca for a week of fitness training. There were other training weeks in Magglingen and on Kerenzerberg. Preparation basically consists of team fitness training sessions and personal training at home. The emphasis is on building up your strength and stamina, and working on your coordination and balance. Then we had the first ski trainings in Zermatt in July. Then on 28 July we flex to Ushuaia, in Argentina, for several weeks of intensive training on the snow.
2. What's the biggest difference now from the time before you had any involvement in a squad?
One big difference is definitely the financial aspect and the whole way everything's organised. Also, I train regularly in a group now. Before I was in a Swiss-Ski squad I either used to train on my own or with the regional association, the OSNK (Oberengadiner Skinachwuchskader). And I had to arrange everything myself too – training times, accommodation, travel, and so on. Now the coach does all that, or Swiss-Ski.
3. Have you already benefited from the experience of World Cup athletes like Dominique Gisin?
Definitely, I've learnt from everyone in the speed team. It's a massive advantage to be able to train with the best skiers in the world. I can learn a huge amount from Dominique, Fabienne, Fränzi, Marianne, Martina and Nadja just by watching them.
4. What are your targets for the coming winter, and what are your long-term aims?
One target is to score consistently in the World Cups. And to remain healthy of course. In the longer term I'd like to win medals at the Alpine World Ski Championships and Olympic Winter Games some day.
5. What's the special appeal of your job?
Being a skier means being able to do my favourite hobby as my job. The appeal lies in being close to nature, the sense of freedom you get, the speed, the challenges you face on the mountain, the travelling and all the variety that goes with the job of being a ski racer.
6. And what's the downside?
The risk of injury is obviously a downside. But I try not to think about that too much.
7. What are your favourite events, and why?
My favourite event is downhill racing. I love the speed, the jumps, and the fact that there are always two training runs on the course before the race.
8. What do you do in your free time?
I play music and meet up with my colleagues. Sport is also very important to me in my spare time. I also spend a lot of time outdoors enjoying the countryside.Mirena Küng: a short biography
A rapid rise for the 22-year-old. Mirena Küng was selected into the top Swiss squad based on the excellent results achieved in the 2011/12 World Cup season. Speed specialist Küng made her World Cup debut in Tarvisio at the beginning of March 2011. She won her first World Cup points on 4 December 2011 in Lake Louise, achieving 29th place in the super-G. Her best result came in her home World Cup in St. Moritz (23rd place). Last season, Küng, who hails from Appenzell, succeeded in getting among the points a total of three times in twelve World Cup starts. In the Swiss Skiing Championships, in Veysonnaz, she came second in the Downhill. In her free time Mirena Küng plays local Appenzell folk music and occasionally performs with her brother and sisters in the Geschwister Küng group.