At 25, Ted Ligety already has Olympic gold under his belt: He was the 2006 winner in the Alpine combined. His other major victories include the 2007-08 World Cup season title in giant slalom and a bronze medal in the GS at the 2009 World Championships (the only medal the U.S. men bagged then). Now, he's concentrating on Vancouver. Ligety took time out from the run-up to chat with Outside Online.
What are your best exercises to build and maintain fitness?
In skiing, having strong legs is important, so squats are great. Core isalso key, so sit-ups with a Russian twist. Back extensions, ham curl'sto help prevent knee injuries. Also, getting outside to hike or bike isa great way to maintain fitness levels.
Any tips for getting better at skiing?
Flexing your ankles forward is key to staying balanced and to make theskis arc. Keeping your hands forward is important to stay balanced aswell. Keeping your feet apart is also important as people have atendency to pin their feet together, making them sit back and losetheir balance. Ski equipment has improved so much in the last coupleyears that a new set up will change your skiing. I recommend Rossignolbecause they're the best. And ski more. You'll get better, and it'sfun.
Favorite ski resorts?
I'm very Utah-biased. I grew up skiing at Park City Mountain Resort, so that's my favorite. Outside of Utah, I'd say Paganella in the Trento region of Italy is great. We train there a lot, and I've had one of the best powder days there ever! St. Anton is pretty epic--so much terrain to scare yourself on. Val d'Isere is a place we race at every year, but the freeskiing there goes on forever (plus, they have good cheese). Cochran Ski Area, it's owned by the famous Cochran racing family, is another favorite. It's pretty small, only a T-bar and a rope tow, but they have to have the most U.S. Ski Team-member-to-vertical-foot ratio of any ski area.
Do you cook? What foods do you eat to fuel your skiing?
I cook, but I'm by no means a nutritionist. I love steak and mashed potatoes with asparagus, and if I could get that easily in Europe that would be my optimal pre-race meal. We eat a lot of pasta on the road because it has a lot of carbohydrates to help refuel us quickly. I also love sushi, and I wish that I could eat it more often. I think anything with a good balance of protein and carbohydrates is a good pre-ski day meal.