Lena Dürr (GER)
Lena Dürr (GER)
Lena Dürr (GER)
Lena Dürr (GER)


Lena Dürr belongs to the generation "Sochi 2014" in the Alpine squad of the German Ski Association. In this exclusive interview the 20-year-old talks about her improved performance in Slalom, her potential in the speed disciplines and shares with us how it is possible to make it to the top in the world of skiing even if you have not grown up in the mountains.
(Interview: Thomas Janz / Eurosport)


You are well on the way to becoming firmly established in the World Cup. How does it feel, slowly but surely, to be a force to be reckoned with among the big names?


It's certainly a good feeling. I also notice that I no longer have the pressure of school any more. This meant that I was able to spend a lot more time on fitness training in summer and also considerably increase the intensity of skiing sessions. It's simply easier for me now and I can put in more consistent performances. With Maria Höfl-Riesch and Viktoria Rebensburg we have two of the best World Cup racers in our team. This is a huge advantage for young athletes like me.


What can a young racer learn from Höfl-Riesch and Rebensburg?


You can learn a lot from both of them simply by looking at their basic approach and the way they behave on the mountain. We talk to each other during the course inspection, for example. Then in the afternoon video analysis you always have the comparison with the top racers. This really is something quite special.


You have once again taken another big step this season in Slalom, which is your speciality. In which areas have you improved in particular in this discipline?


That's right, I've made my way up from number 54 to 16th in the Slalom rankings. That's also a result of the increased training intensity. This is extremely important, especially in Slalom. The more gates you can ski, the better it is for your confidence.


In St. Moritz you also showed what potential you have in the speed disciplines, which came as somewhat of a surprise. Did the good run in the Super-G in the Super combined event take you by surprise, too?


I hadn't skied Downhill or Super-G for a whole year. I knew, however, that I was capable of a fast time. Having said that, you have to train hard for the speed disciplines as well, of course. It's difficult to work out the ideal line during the course inspection – especially in Super-G – and gauge the right approach speed for the gates. It takes years to learn this. I think I have the necessary base speed, but I definitely still have to work on the fine-tuning. And that takes time.


Do you still plan to compete in fast disciplines this winter or was your participation in the Super Combined merely a glimpse of more to come?


I skied St. Moritz because there was a break between the technical races. I will be racing in Sochi as well so I can get to know the course for the 2014 Olympic Games. I will certainly take part in Super-G races more often next winter. You have to build up the speed side gradually though, otherwise it will backfire.


It sounds as if Lena Dürr is turning into a new all-rounder.


We'll have to see. I'm only 20 years old. My goal for this winter is the top 15 in Slalom and Giant Slalom so I can have a good bib number next season. And then we can gradually start to think about the speed disciplines, too.


Your sister Katharina is likewise in the German Ski Association's World Cup team. Is this support for you?


Yes it certainly is. We are in two different training groups but we always share a room together in the World Cup. This is definitely a positive thing because it gives us a chance to exchange information, like with other team members.


To what extent does your father Peter Dürr – who was also a World Cup skier like you and Katharina – still have an influence on the development of the racer Lena Dürr?


He doesn't influence training any more at all. Dad used to be the trainer, now he watches the races on TV like many others do. He is still with us a lot when we train. When we go out for a run he almost always goes with us. But we have the best trainers in the German Ski Association – and they really do a great job.


Did you already want to follow in your father's footsteps when you were a child, or to put it in other words, how did it happen that both daughters became racers?


We used to do a lot of different types of sport. And then we saw that it was skiing that we enjoyed most. And as everyone knows, you have to make a decision at some point. We played tennis for a long time. Kati played basketball. But as I said, it was skiing that we enjoyed most.

And that was what we decided to pursue.


You didn't grow up in Garmisch-Partenkirchen or Berchtesgaden, you grew up in the Munich suburb of Germering, where the Alps are not exactly on your doorstep. How did you manage to train as a child?


I went to school just like all other children. My parents always had to drive Kati and me to the mountains for us to train. They were certainly long distances. We wouldn't have got this far without the support of our parents. There were lots of young skiers in Munich who were indeed very talented but their parents didn't support the sport. This meant that they didn't put as much into the training for the sport. Dad knew exactly what it takes and that you have to give it everything you've got if you want to go far. And that's why my sister and I are where we are now.


You've already come close to a podium finish twice this season and demonstrated what you are capable of. Do you think you will manage a place in the top 3 this winter?


You can't force these things to happen. You have to take things as they come. You mustn't start speculating about such things otherwise it will just get more difficult. If I put in two good runs without any mistakes, top 5 is definitely within reach. For a place on the podium, a little luck also has to be on your side. I'm not going to stress myself out. If it happens, it happens!