A short shop talk about racing, the BILSTER BERG and the fitness factor – with world-class skier Lisa Agerer

A recent visit to the BILSTER BERG: South Tyrolean giant slalom specialist Lisa Agerer – top athlete of the Alpine World Cup circuit. The speed-savvy racer visibly enjoyed her debut on an asphalt slope. We took the opportunity to talk shop with Lisa Agerer about racing and the factor of fitness.

As an active athlete in the Alpine Ski World Cup, you are obviously used to high speed and fast turns. How big was your personal thrill on your first visit to the BILSTER BERG – does high speed in a racing car present any challenge at all for you?

It would be a lie to say that racing on asphalt is not a challenge. There is undoubtedly a certain similarity to ski racing, but of course I haven’t internalised and automated many processes on four wheels in the same way as I have on two skis. Going to the limit always has its thrills – no matter what the sport.

After your first fast laps on the BILSTER BERG, can you also see one or two parallels between ski racing and driving around the track in a racing car?

Definitely. The high speeds in the curves and on the straights have already been mentioned. In addition, there are many similarities – especially the choice of lines and the possibilities for acceleration. I’m thinking especially of the turn-in points at the entrance to the bend and the earliest possible acceleration at the exit of the bend. A lot of intuition, confidence in one’s own abilities and in the equipment play an important role here. The mental component is also hardly any different from ski racing: One hundred percent concentration at every moment, a lot of courage and a certain degree of craziness are something like the basic requirements for going faster than others – whether on snow or asphalt.

Thanks to its special topography, the BILSTER BERG is considered a very multi-faceted and demanding course. Do you recognise any similarities to alpine race courses or to slopes on which the speed disciplines of downhill and super-G are skied?

In the Alpine Ski World Cup, too, every course, every slope and every mountain have their own special characteristics and peculiarities. In my eyes, the BILSTER BERG can be compared quite well with the World Cup downhill in St. Anton: Not necessarily a high-speed downhill – but one where there is no lack of pitfalls either. Many terrain transitions, blind curves and a varied course, where gliding passages alternate with some really tight curves, characterise this course. Personally, I see the greatest similarity in the notorious Eisfall – one of the key sections of the descent from St. Anton. Just like the mousetrap on the BILSTER BERG, you stab down a very steep slope before you are pushed into a compression and immediately afterwards have to master a sharp curve at high speed.

Is there any way to compare the feeling of skiing and riding on four wheels?

Of course. The compressions, the centrifugal forces in the curves, the acceleration and of course the adrenaline – it’s all similar in ski racing.

What significance does the factor fitness have for you – in addition to other factors such as driving sensation, technique and courage? How important is the racer’s psyche?

Since every professional is now pushing himself to the limit, fitness is of course a crucial component. For us ski racers, athletic training is meticulously planned, monitored and evaluated during pre-season preparation. Injury prevention is just one of the keywords. If you are fit, this brings further advantages. You feel more confident, are more courageous and are prepared to take more risks. I would therefore rather speak of the importance of physical fitness for the psyche.

After your experiences today, do you think that the physical fitness of the racing driver is just as important in motorsport as in other types of racing?

Definitely. I experienced first-hand today how exhausting it is!

Do you consider the BILSTER BERG to be a course that is particularly physically demanding for the driver due to the numerous varied passages and is therefore also particularly well suited for improving fitness?

A perfection training on asphalt, as I was able to do today, is also suitable for ski racers in the preparation phase at any time as a good training unit for in between. The track at the BILSTER BERG is especially predestined for car racers to train their physical fitness and endurance.

Could motor sport be a substitute drug for former female ski racers?

A definite yes! This adrenaline rush in combination with the necessary concentration, the overcoming, but also the tactics and the technical driving skills are all core elements of racing. A ski racer’s eyes would always light up at these aspects. Even more so under such professionally secured conditions as we find here. In racing, despite all the precautionary measures, there is still enough residual risk – so the corresponding thrill always resonates here too.

(Editor/Photos: ramp.space)

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