What's your favourite hill?
Whistler, absolutely Whistler, because it's home. I know the mountain. I know where to ski. When I'm there, I think I'm a kid again, bombing around. I make sure I find my mom (a Whistler ski pro), who can take me into the ski school line so I get up the hill faster! Maybe I shouldn't say that…
What's the most daring run?
Spanky's Ladder on Blackcomb is always a challenge. Spanky's and the World Cup downhill at St. Anton, which is pretty daring. It's fast and steep and such a thrill. The course has this amazingly steep chute. When I ski it, I feel like I'm free-falling.
What hill scares you the most?
The World Cup downhill course at Altenmarkt in Austria. It's quite open at the top - steep but open - so you pick up a lot of speed. Then midway down you get into the trees and it goes completely dark, it's all in the shade, and then there's a fence, like, right there. It's so scary. I have to grit my teeth and just go for it.
Where do you avoid?
The bunny hills at all times. I avoid all high-traffic areas. You're just asking for trouble when you have to weave in and out of skiers, especially at the end of a busy ski day. The trick is to get down the mountain early. Like when I'm skiing Whistler Mountain: I live at Whistler Creekside, so I start early and finish early so I get down before everyone else. I like to be the first in at Dusty's.
Where's your favourite backcountry?
Backcountry? I've never really been in the backcountry. I've got no time. I'm always training or racing. Skiing the backcountry is something I'll do when I stop ski racing and that day hasn't come yet, so don't start any rumours! But retirement is getting close. I've been racing for 13 years now. ... I need to ski some backcountry.
Your favourite après-ski?
I've got a few of those. My No. 1 favourite has to be Dusty's at Whistler Creekside. I run into all my friends there, we share stories, we catch up. My second choice would be Pinky's Hut at Kitzbuhel in Austria, or really any après-ski spot in Europe. Any place you can find a decent gluhwein (mulled wine) is a really good spot.
Where was your ah-ha moment, when you realized, "I want to be an Olympian"?
My ah-ha moment came the day I finished in the Top 30 for the first time in a World Cup race. I'd been struggling for so long and then I did it. I was so happy. It was at that moment that I told myself: "I can do this. I can make it on the World Cup. I can make it to the Olympics. Now I'm in!"
It's always tough to pack up and leave home to go on the World Cup circuit, but once I get on the road, it's fun. And I always love travelling to ski in Europe. I no longer need a map to get to Salzburg, Austria, I just do it by rote - it's such a fantastic feeling to know a foreign place so well. What a great opportunity: to travel and experience all these different ski cultures. It's awesome.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Special to The Globe and Mail
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