Meta Hrovat is the best Slovenian alpine skier and probably doesn’t need a special presentation. On her website, she jokingly describes herself as follows: “I am Meta, I grew up in Podkoren. Podkoren is a small village surrounded by mountains, rivers and forests. From an early age, my desire to seek adventure – at every turn, at on every occasion – indomitable. My parents put me on skis very early. My mother Darja says that I skied rather than walked well. “
We talked to her about the changes during the epidemic, the competitive rhythm, the preparations for new races and about her as a top skier.
Meta hello! Tell me, where are you? I noticed on your social network that you were on your way again. Is this part of the preparations or more for the soul?
I am currently in Austria. Just yesterday we descended from the glacier from 3000 n.m.v into the valley to 1700 n.m.v. which is great. But as it got pretty warm we head back to the glacier again.
I just wonder if you’re not too excited about going back to the glacier?
The conditions on the glacier are different, the conditions are much more stressful for the body, so you have to be careful and train less, because that way you get less tired.
Thanks for the “learning minute” in biology.
This is a very interesting topic for me because it is not very researched.
In a previous interview, you said you are away from home more than 200 days a year. Given that situation, this number is expected to be much lower this year?
In fact, I’ve been away from home a lot this year as well, because we were looking for training options right away in the spring when the opportunity arose. I am very happy that we managed to find a way to train even then. Already in June we went to trainings in Austria.
This year, the number of days away from home will probably be even higher for this reason, as the situation forces us to stay in one location for a longer period of time and not return home during the weekends in the autumn. They recommend that we are in a “bubble” and that we are with the same people all the time. Especially during matches, this is very strict. Each country has its own hotel and no contacts with other national teams. We also stick together with the team during training.
How you adapt to the new team with all the limitations. Have you connected with any teams and are you training together? How did you make it all easier together? Has this period, which was full of challenges, also brought something positive?
We started to connect with national teams, we train together with national teams that are comparable in quality. Now that I’m on my own, I have more freedom. There are people around me who are here for me and that’s why I have more connections enabled.
Did going on your own prove to be a good decision?
For me personally, this was necessary, as I think that an individual program is very important to me personally, because we can talk to each other and adapt the program to my needs. And I hope to be able to make good use of it.
Which trait would you point out that helps you the most in your career and in life?
A trait that helps me in my career and in life in general is perseverance. For example, when I don’t do well in training, I lose my motivation, but I never give up, but I persevere because I’m stubborn. Which isn’t necessarily always good, but in professional sports, it’s a trait that makes me grow and progress. And even if things don’t go the way I envisioned, I persevere and carry out to the end what I set out to do.
Do you enjoy testing your capacity limit?
I enjoy it, but there come days when I don’t find motivation because of a busy week behind me. That’s when I need to gather motivation. It’s a positive trait of us athletes to persevere when days are tough, show up in training, and do the most we can at that moment. When you get through such a hard workout, you really say to yourself, “never again, it’s too hard”. But then the next time you run even harder into it with a desire to be even better, because personal records don’t fall every day, but you always want to progress even on the toughest workout.
Are you athletes of a slightly more masochistic soul?
Yeah, but I could really say I’m a bit of a masochistic soul.
In the home environment, you have a huge opportunity for quality training. What are your favorite leisure activities?
I like doing things as a professional athlete that I love and still count as my “job”. To connect the pleasant with the useful and, for example, to connect walking in the mountains with training. My sport is so diverse and it allows me to connect.
Which activity do you like the most? Running a bike, walking in the mountains? Kranjska Gora is practically a training ground for all these “outdoor” activities?
Yes, Kranjska Gora really offers a huge variety of opportunities for outdoor activities. In fact, they are hard to run out of. Or I go to the hills, sit on the bike and go down the trail (track). Running is not among the most popular activities but I do it as part of a workout. I find it hard to say what I like best. I really enjoy being outside and in nature, in solitude. Because actually despite the fact that there are really a lot of tourists in Kranjska Gora, I still find corners where I don’t meet anyone and that’s really great.
What leisure activities help you do a complete “reset” of thoughts? Do you practice yoga or meditation? Many top athletes help themselves with relaxation techniques and activities to calm down.
I practice yoga, but very amateur. To reset I have to move, I have to be outside. Yoga, however, is very static. It helps me the most to be with a friend somewhere in nature so we can talk about things I can’t talk to my team about. Hills plus company are the recipe for my perfect reset.
What about ski friends? Have you made friends with anyone and can you trust her with your problems? Does a competitive spirit prevail among you and you don’t socialize much?
Through skiing, I met very good friends and a lot of people for whom I am really grateful to have met them. I am glad that I have forged special ties with my teammates from other countries over the years. We all share the same passion for skiing and that’s why I feel close to them. On skis, we are surrounded by people with whom we spend a lot of time together and that is why I trust them. Every part of my career, I had someone with me whom I could trust 100% and tell just about everything.
Currently, FIS matches are without spectators. Does this have any effect on you? Do you even hear the fans at the start or. during the match?
There were about 200 fans in Sölden, most of whom were invited by the Austrian Ski Association. In the future, we all expect that there will be no fans in the finish arena, although it is not yet 100% confirmed. This is just another change that needs to be taken into account. It’s nice, though, to feel the support of the fans nonetheless. I got a lot of text messages, messages from fans on social media informing me that they were watching the match and cheering for me remotely. Even though they are not physically present they really are!
I don’t hear the fans along the track otherwise. But I am very overwhelmed by the beautiful feelings when I get to the finish line and see them and hear them cheering.
How much does the support of home fans mean to you, especially family. The photo of the family they posted is especially heartwarming.
The hosts are the best fans to accompany me. I am very happy because I know they will support me anyway, even when I don’t do the best ride.
As you know, many of your fans affectionately call you Meta Rocket. How do you feel about it, it gives you that motivation, you identify with that nickname, do you like it?
To be quite honest, this has once caught on among fans and at first I wasn’t quite thrilled about it, but if the fans like it, let them just use it as I’ve gotten used to it and accepted it.
Given that sports and skiing have greatly contributed to shaping your personality. Do you ever wonder what you would become if you didn’t become a top athlete?
In addition to being an athlete and skier, I want my surroundings to recognize me as a good person and not just a top athlete. It is important that you do not lose your sense of the people around you. I find it hard to say what it would be. Whatever I say now would be a lie. But I am glad that life has taken me to where I am now.