Last year, he was at the top of the leaderboard for a long time. At the end, he missed the podium by 26/100 but scored important points towards his biggest achievement thus far, winning the Downhill World Cup. Peter Fill is from Castelrotto/Kastelruth in South Tyrol, Italy and spoke with www.saslong.org about his turbulent last year and his goals for the new season.
How does feel to compete in a home race as the World Cup champion?
It is of course a good feeling because I fulfilled a big dream of mine. This boosts my self confidence and one goes at a race quite differently.
Do you feel more pressure or motivation compared to other years?
The motivation always stays the same, that hasn’t changed. The pressure from the outside, however, is perhaps a big stronger, because more is expected from me. Ultimately, I put the pressure on myself because I want a strong performance here in Val Gardena/Gröden. I hope the pressure will not be too great and I can withstand it.
Do you expect any special support from your friends and family in Castelrotto/Kastelruth which is only 20 minutes from the Finish Line?
One is too concentrated to even notice the audience during the actual. But of course, if I’m fast we can celebrate together afterwards and that would be nice. Already during the past few years, there have been many more fans her in the valley and we would have liked to get together but unfortunately that was just not possible. That should change and I would like to recompense my fans for their support.
How did you experience the summer? Was it more difficult to prepare for the season?
It was by no means easy. Shortly after winning the World Cup, I had many commitments such as television appearances, invitations and awards. And then my second son was born which of course I also wanted to enjoy. It was so stressful and not always easy to find the time to train. Nevertheless, I can say that I succeeded: the first race went well and now I feel fit and ready for the next.
So any time for hobbies?
Yes, that isn’t easy at the moment either. I try to spend a lot of time with my family and otherwise I’m training. My wife and my friends sometimes come up short.
How important was it to confirm the great success of the last season ten days ago in Val d’Isère?
That was my goal! I wanted to add to the consistency of last season and it made me very happy that I succeeded. I extrapolated on the energy from last year and hope to continue to ski at the top and maybe even land a gold or two.
What is the goal on the Saslong?
My goal is to ski fast, give my best and finally celebrate with my family and friends. I was never able to pull that off in a home race. Last year’s fourth place was very important and also very nice for me. This year I’d like to reach the podium. That would be a dream come true and I am ready to do anything for it.
Does the name Herbert Plank mean anything to you?
He won the Saslong in 1977. He was the last and so far only South Tyrolean winner on the Salsong and it would be about time to change that. Our team has some hot shots and I truly hope that one of us we’ll get there.