Heidi Voelker

1968 Pittsfield, Massachusetts / USA, today lives in Park City, Utah / USA

This US ski racer was part of the US American National Ski Team for twelve years and took part in the Winter Olympics and World Championships three times. She was amongst the top ten in the Ski World Cup six times. Since the end of her active career in 1997, Heidi Voelker has been an Ambassador for the ski resort Deer Valley in Utah/USA, and an Ambassador for Mountain Force since 2013.

You ended your professional career a few years ago. How often are you on skis in winter now?
I’m very lucky that I get to ski 5-6 days a week. So I get to still ski a lot. My position at Deer Valley Resort is to be on the ski slopes.

How important is skiing to you today?
Skiing has been my life since I was two years old. Skiing is still very important to me because it’s my job and our family sport.

You represent Deer Valley in Utah. What is so special about the region?
Park City, Utah is a special spot because it has three major ski resorts in town. It is also very easy to get to from the Salt Lake City airport, only 32 miles. Approx. 50 kilometers.

Do you have a favourite piste?
I enjoy all the slopes at Deer Valley. It depends on the day and the conditions as to where I ski. If it’s a powder day, then Empire or Mayflower bowl; if it’s a sunny groomed day, then Bald Mountain. If there’s flat light, I’ll be skiing the trees.

What sport do you do in summer?
During the summer time, I hike with my dog and ride my road bike. I also spend a lot of time watching my sons play lacrosse.

Are there skiing regions where you would like to go again?
I would love to go back to Europe and ski in the summer time on the glaciers at Zermatt and Saas Fee. In the winter time, I dream about Cortina and St. Anton.

Where do you keep your cups and medals?
I haven’t displayed my trophies or medals. I think it’s better so my kids do not feel they have to do the same.

What kind of ski clothing do you like?
I love to ski in a ski parka and ski pant with a little bling! For example, this coming season I look forward to Mountain Force Rider III Jacket and Rider pants.

What do you like about Mountain Force?
Mountain Force keeps you warm without the bulk and the lines are very flattering.

Martina Ertl-Renz

1973 Bad Tölz, today lives in Lenggries

Martina Ertl-Renz was one of the leading athletes in international skiing over the course of ten years. She is among the world’s most successful ski racers. The resident of Lenggries won three Olympic medals, 14 World Cup races in three different events, and she was twice World Champion and fourteen times German Champion. She had competed in a total of 430 World Cup races when she retired from professional sports in 2006. Today, she manages a special business for sports clothing with her husband in Munich and is a sought-after co-commentator for television broadcasts of skiing. Since 2012, she is a Mountain Force Ambassador.

You retired from professional sports in 2006. How much time do you still spend on skis?
I still ski quite often. I enjoy skiing with my children. They are five and seven years old, but ski quite well, and it is fun for them.

Did you teach your children how to ski?
My kids wanted to go skiing with mama, and I gladly did it.

Do you do other sports, e.g. in the summer?
I do many things – I gladly like to go running, mountain biking, road cycling, on mountain tours. It doesn’t matter the sport, I enjoy being active three to four times a week. That keeps me fit for the winter.

Do you have a favourite slope?
I like to ski at home on the usual slopes. Where I would also gladly like to ski again is Vail, Colorado in the USA. I remember the area well. When the children are big enough we will take them there.

Your Ertl-Renz business in Munich, where you make sports shoes to measure, is known far beyond the German borders, and many international top athletes and even music & film stars seek your advice. Are there any personal highlights here?
Yes, every now and then we have prominent people here. My personal highlight was the visit by Javier Martinez. He had only just switched to FC Bayern and come into our shop on the second day. It was simply a very nice conversation. He wanted to know more about Munich and the best places.

Where do you keep your medals and trophies today?
The crystal globes from the World Cup and the medals are discretely in the living room in the corner, not splendidly decorated. The rest is in the attic by mama.

What type of ski clothing do you wear in the winter? Do you prefer to go skiing with or without padded jacket and pants?
I like it when I can wear different layers over each other, because I am very flexible with that. As a woman you feel cold more often and faster, and then a thin down jacket which can be packed up small is ideal.

What do you like about MF?
The great materials, the unbelievable wearing comfort with the 12-way-stretch. I have really learned to appreciate the high kidney protection on the pants. You constantly have to bend down when you are on the slope with two small children! The look is also very fashionable, so I am very delighted!

Peter Runggaldier

1968 in Brixen, South Tyrol/I, today lives im Grödnertal, South Tyrol/I

South Tyrolean ski racer Peter Runggaldier was among the international top athletes in the downhill and Super-G events in the 1990’s. Acclaimed by his fans as “Runghi”, in 1991 he was runner-up World Champion in the downhill and in 1994/95 won the overall World Cup in the Super-G. Since the end of his professional career, he runs a ski training centre in Val Gardena in the Dolomites. He has been a Mountain Force Ambassador for several years.

You retired from professional sports in 2000. How much time do you still spend on skis?
Starting in December I am on skis almost every day, either privately or with my customers as a ski instructor or leader of ski safaris.

In the winter of 2013/14, you started as forerunner during the World Cup downhill in Val Gardena. How did you like it to sniff the air of competition again?
I was forerunner for the first time at age 14, and I stopped with the World Cup 14 years ago! That was really an experience to be able to ski on a course after all those years which was just prepared for me, where you could do real jumps – 6 metres high and 50 metres long! Something like that is not possible on a normal slope. Naturally it is not about speed, but you have to be able to ski well, otherwise you cannot test the slope.

Do you ever have a desire to be part of the old ski racing circus again?
Yes, of course. But you would need so much training, particularly also to freshen up all the finer points again. I have no great hopes here and also essentially no longer want it. You simply risk too much. You also see that the International Ski Federation (FIS) often has great difficulties finding someone who wants to closely scrutinise these slopes as a forerunner, because it is so dangerous. But it was fantastic.

You frequently ride a mountain bike in the summer. That is also not entirely non-hazardous …
But I only ride for my own pleasure. I do not ride any races. I prefer to organise them, such as the “Sellaronda Hero” mountain bike marathon in Val Gardena.

Do you have a favourite slope?
No, actually I like to ski everywhere. Gladly also in the Dolomites, there are so many possibilities that you do not have to ski any slope two times in one day. But is really has to be winter and not on a glacier.

Where do you keep your medals and trophies today?
Simply in the house! My mother also has a few. I am not a passionate collector and also do not have a display case or something like that. For example, only the World Cup globe is in the parlour.

What type of ski clothing do you wear in the winter? Do you prefer to go skiing with a padded jacket and pants or with thinner shells?
I don’t like it so warm. I usually do not need a thick jacket or pants, only if it is really ice-cold. Otherwise, I prefer to wear thinner shell parts which I simply take off if needed according to the multi-layer principle and can put on again.

What do you appreciate about Mountain Force?
I really liked the pants from the very beginning. They are comfortable and compared to others you are not tired in them. Other pants are often so heavy that in the evening after a whole day on the slope you have the feeling that a real weight is now falling off. That really makes a difference after seven hours of skiing.

Alexandra Meissnitzer

1973 in Salzburg/A, today lives in Salzburg/A

The Austrian ski racer was among the elite of international skiing in her professional career, which spanned more than ten years. Despite injuries, she repeatedly made it to the forefront as double world champion, overall World Cup winner, repeated Olympic and World Championship medallist, and was chosen twice as Austria’s Athlete of the Year. After the end of her active period, she switched to the industrial sector and works as a moderator and motivation coach. Since 2008, she has accompanied international skiing as a co-commentator for ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation) and is an Ambassador of Mountain Force.

You retired from professional sports in 2008. How much time do you still spend on skis?
In the winter, I still travel a great deal as an ORF co-commentator for skiing and also naturally go skiing. I would say that I am on skis just as often as in my active period. You also have to be fit if you ski down the slope with a helmet camera on your head and explain the difficulties of the course to spectators!

You also provided commentary for the Winter Olympics in Sochi. How was it there?
The ski area in Sochi is super – at least the slopes which we got to know. The sincere friendliness and openness of the people who live there was surprising for me.

Do you have a favourite slope?
I would say that we are extremely well-positioned with outstanding slopes in Austria. I could not even mention a special favourite slope or a special ski area here.

Are there regions where you would gladly like to ski again?
I would not have to go so far away for that. But I do not know South Tyrol so well at all, for instance. Heli-skiing is something that I would absolutely like to do again. I have not gotten around to that yet, and I imagine it to be very interesting.

After your sports career, you switched to the industrial sector and work as a moderator and motivation coach nowadays. What is your message? What can the industrial sector learn from sports?
Essentially it is always about the same thing: motivation and willingness to take risks. That is why a person has to decide. This applies to all areas, for sports as well as for profession and everyday life. From sports I have learned to make a high demand of myself and to pursue a goal that I also call the “golden thought.” For example, I think nobody wants to have a relationship that feels like a third place. If you have high goals and are willing to do something for that, then everything is possible. Sports convey exactly that thought. Everyone can achieve everything in sports. Money or relationships do not play any role here. That is also the beautiful thing about sports.

You are also co-owner of the restaurant “Genussprojekt” in Salzburg. How did that come about?
It simply happened – a good friend asked me and I accepted. That was still during my active period, but it was my first project outside of skiing. I myself am an epicurean and that is why I found that it fits me well.

How do you keep fit in the summer?
I still do a lot of sports – lots of endurance sports such as running and cycling, and I do strength training in a fitness studio. I need that, otherwise I am unbearable! After all, I like to eat and I am an epicure, so I also have to keep fit. Everything else would also be careless with camera tracking shots at 200 kilometres per hour.

Where do you keep your medals and trophies today?
I dare not say that at all… Well, the most important awards such as the World Cup globe are with my parents. The gold medals are in a bag in my commode. Sometimes I need them for photos. Naturally I am proud of what I have achieved, but I do not have to see my trophies every day. But what I have set up in my home is the Romy, (i.e., the Austrian film and television award.) It also looks beautiful as an object, and it is not commonplace to receive this award as an athlete.

What type of ski clothing do you wear in the winter? Do you prefer to go skiing with or without padded jacket and pants?
It must be warm. I get cold quickly. Last year in Canada I was on the slope at -36 °C. A good padding and a high collar are important to me.

What do you appreciate about Mountain Force?
Mountain Force is incredibly stylish – one of the few companies which really manage the balancing act of being athletic and fashionable. The fit of the pants is also super. Any woman will enjoy that.