We are only a few days away from a season that will undoubtedly go down in history, and preparations are in full swing for this weekend’s Ski World Cup Opener in Solden. Nevertheless, our very own Slovakian Giant Slalom standout Andreas Zampa squeezed us in for a coffee and a chat between workout sessions to talk about training, Covid-19, and expectations for the 2020/2021 season.
Spyder: The 2020/2021 season is about to kick-off in Solden, Austria. I’m sure your training and preparation for the event looks a little different this year. Has Covid-19 affected your routine in any way?
Andreas: Yes, Solden is just around the corner, and I honestly can’t wait to get things started. I think it will be an exciting event, even though no one really knows how it will pan out for the fans with all these social distancing restrictions.
Training this year also looks a little different than in previous seasons. As a team, we had to change our approach to training. I know that some athletes spent a lot of time on the slopes just as they always have, but I also talked to others that barely spent time training outdoors and opted for more workouts in the gym.
I guess this will be new territory for everyone, and as long we don’t know how long this virus will impact our routines, we just have to make the best out of it. I think this year, it comes down to how well we prepare ourselves mentally. The race calendar is still not a sure thing, and changes are likely to happen, so it will be crucial to filter out all that external noise and focus on what’s necessary; to ski fast!
S: You already mentioned it. The race calendar for the 2020/2021 season will be like no other, with events canceled or waiting to be confirmed. Did this level of uncertainty have any effect on you and your routine?
A: My goal was to take advantage of the situation and manage the things that were in my control. The lockdown actually worked in my favor because I found time to fully recover from injuries I was carrying with me from previous seasons. I also started with my training routine well before the 2020/2021 season was even confirmed. My mindset was always that the world cup season would happen, and I wanted to be ready for a possible start.
Perhaps the thing that affected us most as a team was that we didn’t travel to the Southern Hemisphere for Summer training due to travel restrictions, and we ended up staying in Europe for the first time in 10 years. Not too bad either, though!
S: With pretty much all US events already canceled for the upcoming season, is there a race you’re particularly sad about that you won’t get to compete in this year?
A: No doubt, I’m sad that I won’t get to compete in Beaver Creek this season. It’s a fantastic event, and the organizers are doing a tremendous job prepping the slopes to guarantee excellent conditions for all athletes, no matter if you run first or last. It is really a shame because it almost feels like a home race for Spyder and myself, with the Boulder HQ only a few miles away.
That being said, it’s hard for me to pick a favorite race. I’m not just saying this, but all Giant Slalom races are unique in their own way, and I appreciate them all. On the plus side, almost all events are happening in Europe, which adds extra motivation to perform well. I feel like that with everything that’s happening right now, many underdogs will surprise, and I’m confident that I’m going to be one of them.
S: How much has life changed for you since Covid-19?
A: It involves way less traveling! I spent my holidays at home, hiking around the Tatras Mountains. A fantastic experience with spectacular views! But sure, like everybody else, I had to adjust to life and its restrictions. It definitely taught me a thing or two about my organization skills. I accepted that there are things I can’t control and worked with what’s possible.
During the lockdown, I turned my garage into a gym (like every other professional athlete I know stuck at home). I was able to train every day - even though we had to get a little creative to mix up the routine.
S: What’s the goal for the upcoming year?
My goal is always the same; deliver two perfect runs for a great result! And, of course, to stay healthy and injury-free for the season.