Ten Minutes With Ted Ligety

ted ligetybrave ski mom logoLast season, Ted Ligety ruled the ski world.

With six giant slalom wins on the World Cup tour, he brought home his fourth Audi FIS World Cup giant slalom title as well as an overall third place finish.

At the World Championships, Ligety won gold for the first time in super G and super combined and successfully defended his GS gold. In doing so, he became the first man to win three world championship events since skiing legend Jean-Claude Killy in 1968.

There is no question that 2013 solidified his standing as one of the best alpine ski racers, ever.

He’s a Good Guy, Too

Our family has a soft spot for Ted Ligety. Several years ago, my two young ski racing sons attended the Ski Camp With Ted Ligety at Mount Hood, Oregon. Ted’s a busy athlete, and a celebrity, so going into the camp, we figured the boys would be lucky if they got to meet Ted and spend a little time on snow with him.

mount hood ski camp

Mt Hood Ski Camp. My boys with US Olympic medalist Ted Ligety.

It turned out, Ted’s commitment to the camp was much deeper than that. He spent several mornings with all the young racers, offering tips, running gates and generally being a nice guy. He even took time to chat with a couple of helicopter-ski-camp moms, my friend Stephanie and me.

So last week, when I had a chance for a quick interview with Ted, I seized it.

Knowing he had a full day of media obligations, I kept it short and to the point, focusing on ski racing, advice for young racers and their parents and his tips for making the most of a visit to his home mountain, Park City Mountain Resort, in Utah.

Ten Minutes with Ted

BSM:         Let’s get right to it: what are your goals for the 2014 World Cup season?

TL:            My main goal for this season is to stay at the same level as last year. It will be hard to repeat, as last year was so great. But I hope to win the giant slalom title again and be in the running for the overall title.

Of course, the Sochi Olympics are the main focus of this season. I hope to medal in three events: super G, super combined and giant slalom. I think I can also challenge for a medal in slalom.

BSM:         Looking forward to the Sochi Winter Games, what are you most excited about?

ted ligety TL:             Sochi will be my third Olympics. I’m coming into the Olympics in the best place I’ve ever been in my career.

I’m 29 years old, which is almost the peak age for ski racing. I’m in a stronger position than I’ve been in years past and I hope to capitalize on this.

Also, because of the U.S. Ski Team’s partnership with the Russian team, I’ve been on the hill and skied the race venues more my competitors.

The mountain is really cool. It’s a big ski area, with 5000 vertical feet, so it is really huge. The giant slalom venue is similar to the one at Beaver Creek, Colorado – a moderate course with big terrain changes that suits me well. I think the slalom and speed venues are also good.

BSM:        What advice do you have for young racers?

ted ligety gateTL:            The most important thing is having fun. You need to be willing to work hard, too.

When I grew up, I had a lot of fun being out there with my friends. We pushed each other and this made it easy to work hard.

BSM:         How about some advice for ski racing parents?

TL:            My parents never really pushed me to ski race. It was my choice, something I really wanted to do. Had they pushed me, I would have rebelled. I wouldn’t have had the same passion.

All parents are different. All racers are different. But I think it is important to let your kids have independence and ownership. Let your kids do what they have a passion for.

BSM:       When you’re not skiing, what do you love to do?

TL:            I mountain bike a lot during the summer and play a lot of sports with my friends. I work on my company, Shred (think goggles, helmets and sunglasses). Shred is a good distraction for me. Still, mostly what I do is stuff around skiing, getting better at skiing and having fun.

BSM:        You grew up skiing at Park City. What tips can you share for families skiing at Park City Mountain Resort?

TL:            I think one of the coolest things to do at PCMR is to ski down to Main Street. Check out the town while you’re skiing and get lunch. Then take the Town Lift — it loads on Main Street — back up onto the mountain. Not many people realize you can do this.

My other tip? Ski Jupiter Lift on a powder day.

ted ligety vick's Many thanks to Ted Ligety for taking 10 minutes to talk with me. Ted was busy that day doing media appearances on behalf of Vick’s DayQuil and NyQuil.

Vick’s is a sponsor of the Winter Olympic Games and Ted’s weapon of choice when it comes to powering through a winter cold. Because when you’re an Olympian, you can’t afford a sick day.

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