Strength & Endurance: Motorikweg
Sabrina Maier is a native of Saalbach and member of the Austrian Ski Team, with the discipline of Alpine speed skiing being the specialty of the 22-year-old. During an interview for Saalbach Stories in the winter, Sabrina informed me that during the summer months she often uses the Motorikweg (Motor Skills Path) for endurance and power training in preparation for races in winter. At a training session, Sabrina showed me some of her favourite stations along the Motorikweg.
The Skicircus hillsides are lush, and ablaze with colourful flowers. Joggers and mountain bikers make full use of the trails down in the valley, as well as on the mountain, but despite the early summer scenery, Sabrina Maier still has skiing on her mind and no wonder, as skiing plays an important role in the life of this young Austrian Team skier.
"After a short break I will be on skis again this week!" she announces happily as we stand in front of the closed Schönleiten lift in Jausern, which is also where the Motorikweg begins. On our way to the first station, I ask is she not happy to be out of the ski boots. Laughing and with a shake of the head, the full-time athlete who is based at the military service base in Hochfilzen, explains “I’m really looking forward to skiing again, but also I must concentrate on strength and endurance training. Summer training is important as the training prevents recurrent injuries throughout the winter months. When running in the Glemm valley, I always incorporate some training on the Motorikweg, where I am able to work on my balancing and coordination skills”.
24 stations for strength and endurance
Next to the rippling Saalach River, the Motorikweg is situated along a promenade. Even the first few stations are a challenge. With closed eyes, Sabrina tackles the obstacles and demonstrates her perfect balancing skills. Due to her high level of physical fitness, this charming athlete has sufficient breath left to continue talking to me and explains “I have been in the Austrian Ski Team since winter 2011/12. I have a fixed starting place for the downhill, due to my success in Europacup – I am yet to qualify for the SuperG.” As she makes her way between the station with slalom poles, Sabrina reveals “Slalom has for a long time been my favourite discipline, however, I have now switched to the speed discipline”. We pass stations with names such as “Kite surfing”, “Water ski wall” and stop at a station called the “Spider’s web”, where Sabrina demonstrates her prowess between the stretched cords. Sabrina exclaims “I love skiing! If I hadn’t become a ski racer, I would be a craftswoman. I also love helping out on the farm and in the meadows, but an office job would be a no-go”.
For the love of home and a place to re-energise
Through her sport, Sabrina Maier is often on the road. Also in the summer, one appointment follows the other: Training camps, courses, new kit, meetings and soon the first training camps on the glacier and in Chile …in between she spends her time at her favourite place, at home in her parents’ house in Saalbach. As we approach the area where there are stations for strengthening the muscles, I ask Sabrina where her favourite place is to recharge her batteries. “At home! In fact anywhere in the Glemm valley! I find all four seasons here in Saalbach stunning. My home place offers me so many opportunities for training. In early summer, when I am concentrating on my endurance skills, I ride for long distances on my road bike. In the late summer, I start with mountain biking and can often be found cycling up the Schattberg and in between, I am always here at the Motorikweg”.
As the exercises become more intense with rope swings and squats, I complete my interview with a wordrap, where Sabrina gives spontaneous answers to my questions.
High heels or ski boots? -> Ski boots! Otherwise, ballerinas.
Ploughman’s lunch or 4-course meal? -> Ploughman’s lunch
Golf or downhill biking? -> I have just started playing golf! A really cool sport!
Party animal or bookworm? -> Bookworm: From time to I enjoy a party, but mostly prefer to be at home.
Pick up or Mustang? -> Pick up – much more practical. I am actually more a Jeep type!
A sweet temptation that you can’t resist? -> Ice cream!
A person you would like to have dinner with? -> Bode Miller – I have always been a fan of his and would love to meet him personally.
Deer or cow? -> Cow! (an answer accompanied by an emphatic smile, as Sabrina remembers the unforgettable moment she nearly collided with a deer on a training run in Nakiska, Canada). Although I also find deer cool ;-)
With this wordrap, I say cheerio to Sabrina Maier and wish her all the best for the next season. For those who want to put their trainers on and build up a sweat on the Motorikweg, there is no excuse. The use of the Motorikweg is free of charge and is accessible from spring until the first signs of winter, in late autumn.