Interviewing Lindsey Vonn and discovering she’s even cooler in person

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on November 20, 2009 3:31 pm

Made a sojourn to Copper Mountain on Tuesday where the U.S. Ski Team was holding a week long training session.  Lots of cool stuff happening, but the headline event for Team Ski Channel (Kate Donnelly, Sean Flannery, and me) was the Thursday shooting of an episode of Moguls with Lindsey Vonn.  I’ve interviewed lots of ski stars for Moguls — Tanner Hall, Simon Dumont, Glen Plake — and I was beyond excited to have a sit down pow-wow with the great Lindsey Vonn.

To work at The Ski Channel is to wear many hats.  We are a lean operating skiing machine.  On Wednesday and Thursday morning, I put on my cameraman hat and headed up onto Copper Mountain with The Ski Channel’s cameraman extraordinaire, Sean Flannery.  At 6:45am.  Ouch.  Want to be a ski racer?  Better get a good alarm clock.

Rode the lift with Erik Fisher one time, and Scott Macartney another time, two of my favorite racers.  This will be the break out year for Erik Fisher.  Bank on it.  And there are few stories in skiing as inspiring as Scott Macartney‘s, whose bravery in overcoming a horrific crash at the Hahnenkamm demands maximum respect.

Since Mr. Flannery is the messiah of capturing cinematic beauty, he camped out mid-course to get the action shots, while I hung out at the starting gate.   Super fun seeing all the ski team stars in their element, and at the starting gate is where their personalities shine.  Bode Miller, Ted Ligety, and Lindsey Vonn with lunch pails in hand, workin’ for a living.

You always wonder if the personality you see on TV or read in interviews is really representative of who that person really is.  Well, with Lindsey Vonn, she’s even cooler, funnier, and more real in person. 

In other sports, kudos is given to an athlete who is great in the locker room.  Someone with the gift of making the daily grind more fun and enjoyable simply by force of personality.  Lindsey Vonn is great in the “locker room.”  Up at the starting gate, Vonn lightens the mood, jokes with teammates, and elevates the mood by just being Lindsey.  Even though she is the superstar of the U.S. Ski Team, Vonn is also the ultimate teammate, freely offering advice to other racers.  She does this while shouldering all the pressures and hyped expectations heading towards the Winter Olympics

Lindsey Vonn is everything you’ve seen and read about, only more.  She is a dream for the U.S. Ski Team, a once in a generation athlete who transcends her sport.  She is Tiger Woods.  She is Michael Jordan.  And that ain’t no hyperbole.

The Mogul’s interview on Thursday afternoon was awesome.  It was a real treat to probe the mind of Lindsey Vonn.  I’d love to spill the beans about the show, but you’ll have to wait for the episode when it debuts on The Ski Channel.   I will say there were lots of laughs interspersed with genuine moments of reflection.  It was all real, and it was all Lindsey.

Zeke Piestrup ( More Posts)

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