Gabbi Catches up with Canada’s Rising Star Roni Remme who is breaking out on the World Cup’s White Circus
The Inside Line is a co-production of Ski Racing Media & WiSP Sports and presented by Gabbi Hall
Podcast length: 30′ 53″
Editor’s Note: World Cup plans change between races and since the show was Roni decided to start in the training runs at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
At roughly halfway through the ski season, Roni Remme leads the NorAm overall standings. In fact, the Canadian leads the standings in every discipline but GS, and she has won nearly 50 percent of the NorAm races she has started in this season. The powers that be saw her speed in December and decided it was time to test her skills at the next level.
The former University of Utah athlete made her World Cup debut in the speed races at Lake Louise, Canada, but didn’t hit her stride until she earned points at the slalom race in Lienz, Austria. That put her on the radar.
On this episode of The Inside Line, Gabbi Hall catches up with the Canadian athlete as she hops from one World Cup to the next in Europe. And, of course, get the scoop on some of the latest headlines in the world of alpine skiing.
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[00:00:00] Hello everyone, welcome back to The Inside Line. I’m Gabie Hall. If you are a regular listener you know about our amazing sponsored Team Ski Safe. I wear my bracelet nearly every day. And Teams Ski Safe bracelets are the perfect thing for people involved with action sports like skiing because this bracelet makes it easier for first responders to treat you effectively in the event of an emergency. No one wants that to happen but we know they do. I have my emergency contacts information engraved on my bracelet and then there’s a unique ID on the bracelet that gives first responders access to important medical information on teams. Be safe. Dot com. So Team Ski Safe. Is the official medical bracelet of sports. You can find more information about the bracelet and the great range of colors and styles by visiting their website at www.teamskisafe.com and when you order your bracelet remember to mention The Inside Line.
[00:00:53] So you know after a few weeks we’ve had a slightly different format of the show where we’ve been doing a lot more radio style with interviews and are mixed. We’re back to our regularly scheduled programming and sections fresh tracks in the Mixed Zone and I’m really excited about that. My guest this week is Ronnie Remmie of the Canadian national team. And I’ll tell you about her in a bit. But I want to kick things off with the fresh track section. We’re going to be talking about all the latest headlines in women’s alpine skiing. So since the last episode the ladies have raised a few different venues, Kranski Gora, Slovenia for some tech races Flachau Austria for the night slalom that Bad Kleinkirchheim – a mouthful – in Austria for speed races. And now the ladies are in Cortina D’Ampezzo in Italy. So it’s been a very stacked schedule mix of tech and speed.
[00:01:43] And this week I’m not going to dive too deep into the race results but I want to talk about a few highlights. You guys know what’s happening in the ski racing world right now. So of course we have to talk about Mikaela Shiffrin. I mean she continued to absolutely dominate these last few races. She’s won nine of the last 10 races she’s entered. She did not race the most recent beat most recent speed races in Bad Kleinkirchheim. But she was racing up until that point.
[00:02:14] Her most recent performance was in Flachau, Austria which is last night slalom. They do it under the lights. It’s relatively close to Salzburg.
[00:02:21] And what was really exciting about this particular race is that she came behind it from behind. And that was something she hasn’t had to do at all this season.
[00:02:30] I mean she has been in the lead before every win. So it’s a challenge. Bernadette Schild of Austria won the first run. You know that hometown crowd wanted to see her win but Mikaela in typical Shiffrin style absolutely shredded the second run came from behind and won. And I think it was a really big moment for her because she didn’t do great there last year last year. She was third on the podium tied with Wendy Holdener so thick it felt like a bit of redemption for her. And then things switching to speed. Like I said Shiffrin took some time off. We do expect to see her in Cortina. But when things moved into speed and they moved to Bad Kleinkirchheim in Austria. There were few new names in the headlines which I think is always really exciting particularly given the streak of tech races that we’ve had over the last few weeks. So we had a super junior downhill they had to make some scheduling changes because of the snow conditions and whether there was really tough.
[00:03:31] The first couple days I was watching Instagram stories Lindsey Vonn is always very vocal on there. So I recommend following her but you know she was right on the course and you could see how sugary the snow was. It’s very hard to get a grip. So they had to do a lot of course work to get the snow into racing condition. But they managed to do it.
[00:03:51] The track was bumpy definitely wasn’t easy but they were able to race and the first person we have to talk about it that race is Federica Bignone. She won the Super G, she’s an amazing Italian athlete.
[00:04:03] Laura Gut got second and then Connie Huetter took third. Talking about Lara Gut if you guys haven’t listened to her previous episode I interviewed her in Val d’Isere, France back in December. So definitely go take a lesson on Sirius and dot com or with sports radio. But it was exciting to see this mix up on the podium and always good to see Federica Brignoni known a on top. I often think of her as a giant slalom skier but she really is a GS, Super G and Alpine competitor. So she’s always a good one to watch.
[00:04:36] And she followed that Super G win up with a second place result in the downhill and I think in terms of the whole weekend the downhill day was a big day because the Italians made history by sweeping the podium. It was a shortened course due to poor visibility. It was a bumpy track really tough snow conditions. You know Lindsey Vonn actually said that she felt like she couldn’t get a good grip on the snow and compared it to skiing on Marble’s actually but that did not shake the Italian team. And Sofia Goggia won like Lara Gut. Sofia Goggia has been a guest on the show. Brignone got second and then their teammate Nadia Fanchini took third. As I mentioned first time in history that they swept a downhill podium. The Italians actually swept the giant slalom podium at World Cup finals in Aspen last year.
[00:05:27] So you know when they do what they do it big. And I think you know goes well we’ve seen on the downhill podium before she did really well. At the test events in South Korea last February.
[00:05:41] So we knew she had the potential to win but Bignone had never been on a downhill podium before.
[00:05:47] And so it came out of nowhere.
[00:05:50] But that was really exciting and then Nadia Fanchini it had been two years since she’d been on a podium she won in La Thuile, Italy two years ago. I remember covering that race. And then we haven’t seen her since.
[00:06:03] She’s had a lot of problems with injury and so she was in tears actually in the finish area as you watch the broadcast she was very overwhelmed. But you know when they came to the press conference Nadia doesn’t have a great English so her teammates actually translate for her and spoke on her behalf and I think Sophia Gojra being the person that she is. Spent some time in the press conference talking about how happy she was not only about her own performance but about what this meant for her teammates. And I think she said it really well so I want to play that clip for you guys now.
[00:06:45] Federica was really majestic because she’s really a good growing woman. She suffers so much with all the injuries …with all the injury she has to go and come through, She just knows herself what this podium means to her.
[00:08:01] You know unfortunately as great as that race was for the Italians the downhill was not as kind to Edit Miklos so we haven’t talked about Edit on the show yet. But here’s a brief intro. Edit is a Hungarian speed skier. She has two World Cup podiums to her name and she’s raced on the World Cup for a few years now. But last year she crashed in Altenmarkt, Austria. She injured her right knee and was knocked out for the season and had to undergo surgery. Go through the whole rehabilitation process and came back in less than a year.
[00:08:37] So you’ve seen her racing speed since December but this is such a bummer. She injured her right ACL in the downhill and bad climbed time. The conditions deteriorated very quickly and it was a little bit of a bizarre situation because she came down having a pretty solid run and there was this big right footed turn coming into the finish and it looks from the video like she got a bit in the back seat and maybe had there was too much pressure on the knee perhaps it twisted a bit. But it was clear she was in immediate pain. She skipped the final gate skiing gown with the weight you know primarily on her left leg and crashed in the finish and then the initial speculation was that maybe she had lost consciousness and that’s why she fell on the finish but that was inaccurate. She was conscious when the medical personnel got to her. Unfortunately because she ran through her leg she passed up or had to undergo surgery again. She’ll be working on the rehab process and it takes her out of the Olympic Games which you know for any athlete is a bummer but I don’t think anyone generally thinks of Hungary as a winter sports mecca like they might with Austria or Norway or things like that. So she was going to be a big representative for them there. So it’s always unfortunate to see that happen and she joins a slew of athletes like Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia and Veronica Velez Zuzulova who were injured in the last six months or so and had their their Olympic season put in danger.
[00:10:09] But while still which the Slovenian who you might remember had a really amazing season in 2016 17. She’s continuing to rehab in the gym. But Veronica Vélez Zuzulova is actually already back on snow. And this is kind of crazy actually. For those who are familiar with knee injuries most people see ACL tear and the initial thought is OK. Surgery and six to eight month recovery time she injured herself in the late summer while she was training down in South America and she got back on snow in December. So you’re looking at you know three three and a half month recovery time getting back on snow. She’s been training and this could be her last Olympic Games so I see why she’s motivated to get back. She’s an older athlete on the circuit.
[00:10:56] And I think we could actually see her back relatively soon on the World Cup because on January 9th she posted to Facebook saying that she hoped Flachau would be the last slalom she’d have to race. Sorry have to watch on TV.
[00:11:10] And so if that’s the case and she’s going to race and explore we could see her back in the start gate at the end of January the 28 specifically in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Just a couple of weeks before the Olympic slalom and I know she’s hoping to get back for that. So keep your eyes peeled because it will be interesting to see how she does in race mode with such a quick recovery time. I’m hoping we’ll see exciting things from her and that maybe the surgery will be the the wave of the future for elite athletes. But I have to I can’t leave the news section without talking about the Olympic Games I think we’re seeing that ramp up across sports media.
[00:11:49] But I wanted to share this really cool tool report I came across. It’s called The Grace Note virtual metal table. And if you’re not familiar with grace no their company that deals in what they call entertainment data. Essentially they track stats and records for things like the Alpine Skiing World Cup. So as media personnel we have access to these factsheets and we get them before each race and you can see how many star sorry wins Mikaela Schiffrin has had who was the last person to win at a specific venue and different things like that. But grace note released this virtual medal table and they describe it as a statistical model based on individual and team results and previous Olympic Games World Championships and World Cups. And the goal is to forecast the most likely gold silver and bronze medal winners by country basis I want to read it’s a bit of a living breathing document. They said they’re going to have a final medal forecast on February 9. Obviously a lot of competition going on in these winter sports right now so things are are subject ject to change.
[00:12:56] But I wanted to read you guys some of the stats that I think there are interesting predictions.
[00:13:01] You know anything can happen at the Olympic Games you know especially in outdoor sports weather conditions you know how someone’s knee is feeling that they are all factors and who it actually take home a gold medal.
[00:13:12] But I think these will be interesting for you guys so I wanted to to put them on your radar so Grace noticed predicting that Germany will win the most medals of any country followed by Norway Canada the U.S. and France in that order. And they think Germany’s strongest sport at the Winter Games is likely to be biathlon on tour not familiar with biathlon. It’s like cross-country skiing with where they shoot at a target with a gun. And they’re projecting they’ll win 10 medals in that event. And then Norway is forecast to take 19 medals.
[00:13:45] They’re predicting that and cross country skiing six more than the current Olympic record and that Olympic record of 13 medals was set by the Soviet Union at the 1988 Games. You’ve got to go way back in history. And then also they think America’s best performances should be spread across alpine skiing by Mikaela Shiffrin, Lindsey Vonn and Ted Ligety.
[00:14:08] In addition to freestyle skiing snowboarding and speedskating anyway for someone like me who loves dads I thought this prediction tool was really cool. If you’re at all interested and feeling like you know the stats and have some good predictions for the Olympics I want to impress your friends I’ll put the link below the podcast it’s just interesting to browse through to kind of get in the know of which countries are going to be dominating certain sports and who might be the biggest the biggest winners at the games and Pyeongchang and that’s all I have for you guys and fresh tracks today and I’m really excited to jump in to our next section the mix zone. As you know that’s where I sit down and interview some of the best athletes in the world. So without further ado here’s my interview with this week’s guest Ronnie Remmie.
[00:14:57] The young Canadian has had a really strong season on the nor am circuit so far and she made her world cup debut in speed races at Lake Louise this season. She’s already making a huge impression in slalom on the World Cup circuit. So Ronnie thank you so much for being on the show this week.
[00:15:16] Thanks for having me.
[00:15:16] So like I said in your intro you made your World Cup debut at Lake Louise in December and I imagine there were some mixed emotions. I understand that You dislocated your shoulder there. You know just over a year ago and I’m just wondering what it was like to push out of the start gate not only under first World Cup but at that venue in particular.
[00:15:36] Yeah it was difficult for you know the reason i is located in the north and the year before that I hope to push out of the gate the following day activities location does the train get over that bump as quickly as possible. But yeah I think I think it was an OK experience just because the you know skiing on home turf in my downhill experience is limited to begin with. So honestly every time I get intothe downside start it’s just kind of like a real experience and a new chance for sure.
[00:16:14] And you did well in the Northam’s right after that. Do you feel like you’re getting more comfortable on that track.
[00:16:20] Yeah. Being able to be on that track from two weeks straight I think was a huge boost to my speed skills and experience. It’s probably the most speed training I’ve ever had in my life. So really great experience training on the World Cup perhaps held for almost two weeks and scaling that speed. And those you know train elements was a pretty big deal for me yeah absolutely.
[00:16:48] And I was reading your blog and it sounds like you’ve had a handful of injuries through your career. So can you talk to me about aside from your dislocated shoulder if you’ve had any other injuries and how those affect you.
[00:17:02] The dislocated shoulder it was an ongoing one for me. My first dislocation came when I was 15 or 16. And so I had been dealing with that for years and finally got surgery this spring on my shoulder actually and have had fewer issues since then. But shoulders are the things that I feel like it’s an ongoing battle. Both of them most serious one. I’ve had a few keystrokes to crank things up but nothing has put me out for extended periods of time.
[00:17:38] The shoulder ones are interesting because your team mate Mitch also had that recurring dislocated shoulder problem. But I think she just got surgery on it while she was dealing with learning. So yeah it’s a 41 for erasers. But it’s good to hear the headaches that you’re feeling good.
[00:17:53] That was actually her second shoulder surgery with the one the most recent one she had it previously a couple of years back as well.
[00:18:01] Yikes. Yeah that’s tough. That’s painful tale.
[00:18:04] It is brutal. Get your age emotion back as it was. I don’t want to go through that again.
[00:18:13] We won’t we won’t dwell too much on things because there’s been a lot of really good stuff for you lately.
[00:18:19] You know after always for fans who aren’t familiar Ronnie then headed to Lienz, Austria, Zagreb Croatia and then recently France Gora. So she’s on this streak of European World Cups and I’m curious because Lake Louise is a relatively mellow World Cup to compare to what you see on the rest of the circuit. What is your impression of European World Cup racing been so far.
[00:18:46] Man it’s really exciting.
[00:18:48] I mean scary thing here in Europe is hockey is in Canada right. It’s you know it’s exciting seeing the energy and how good people care about it here. Actually just before I took this call I was sitting down at dinner with my team and there was the waiter came up to me and this was winning my ear. There’s a man in the lobby waiting for you to sign sing like he decides some stuff. Once you’re done eating or something. As I finished eating I went out there and the guy had like 10 photos of me that he wanted me to sign like he was just so strange like people you know people know you who you are when you feel like you don’t even know who you are you’re like it’s interesting that’s so cool I feel like that’s it that’s got to be a moment for you or you realize like oh I’ve made it to the next level and my ski racing career right yeah for sure. Yeah it’s it’s been interesting the last couple of weeks definitely getting I don’t know. Yeah like get your attention there being even being at the races. I can tell people I know who I am now different coaches are like no I am. It is. It’s interesting it’s it’s pretty neat. I would say that the people on this panel lean Chinaski a little faster even for sure and have you.
[00:20:08] I mean you see a lot of athletes go from Doran to World Cup.
[00:20:12] I mean it’s a very common transition with American and Canadian athletes but you don’t often see someone like yourself come out of the gate so strong and I’m curious if you’ve surprised yourself at all with what you’ve been able to do in just these first few races.
[00:20:30] The first reason I think I surprised myself the first one because I didn’t feel like I skied as well as I would have hoped and I made more mistakes and I wanted to and all those stuffs right across the finish line in 17th on my first from the first column and I was like Holy Holy Holy crap I give you this Ron got me in this position. And I think honestly since then it hit me you know like I can do this this is where I belong like you know I can see with these bills I can. I don’t know. I think it was that experience that gave me the confidence to be like this you know I can do this. This isn’t hidup.
[00:21:06] I’ve been training for this for Mouly for sure for sure. And I’m curious because you know you ended last season 9 and the Orham overall standings. You had one podium result and now you’re leading the standings you won based on what I saw slalom and alpine combined a Super G and a downhill already this season. And so it seems like something has clicked for you. Maybe in the last six months to a year and I’m curious if you can identify what that is.
[00:21:38] Well that elusive GSI slot. Honestly I think a big change for me. I mean I was in college for the last two years which was I think the best decision I ever made. I learned so much as an athlete and a person. But the problem in college is that you don’t get the prep period. I mean when I was in college I did get on to know until about November every year and I didn’t really get summer camp so I was starting fresh in November when everyone on the national team had been on snow for over 100 days probably until the rain I think I got that experience this year being with back with the national team I got the summer training and I think that was a big difference for me in the last four years and my last couple of years with the national team I injured myself kind of leading up to the season ending didn’t get to start strong. And then in college I always felt like I was finding my speed in March which makes sense because finally I got my hundred days on snow and I was going in my peak for me. And I think I was able to find that I get there at the beginning of the season this year which was really exciting position for me to be in for the first time in my life.
[00:22:53] Definitely. And for those who don’t know who are listening and Ronnie is was a University of Utah athlete so can you tell us a little bit about why you decided to go to the University of Utah. And how long you were there until a little bit about that experience.
[00:23:08] Sure. So I spent two years at Utah the last two years. I would be going into my junior year this year which I’m taking off and I decided to go to school because I just I spent two years on the DVOA team in Canada and I just I didn’t love squeezing as much as I did before. I didn’t know why I was there. I wasn’t enjoying it. I just I didn’t have the fire that I had before when I was younger.
[00:23:40] And I always wanted to go to school and I always had dreams of pursuing a career after sport and school. You know just seemed like a really great plan. And there is so I started sending some e-mails and found some coaches that were interested. And Utah was the best pick for me. I never looked back.
[00:24:01] So you must have enjoyed your time at the University of Utah. It also hoboes prep you to get back on the national team. Hit where you are right now. How do you think college racing helped propel you in one maybe. How did it help you find your passion again and then to how did that help propel you back to the national team.
[00:24:24] Murray so many ways I can answer this question but I think spending day after day in the classroom where any things that you don’t necessarily always want to learn really helps you appreciate the time you spend out on the mountain skiing and doing the thing that you actually love. And I think that’s what helped me find my passion is you know I enjoy learning what schools Lida and are getting out on the slopes was like that release it was that way to calm down and find yourself again and not you know turn the brain off a little bit. And I think that’s what creates like a lot of people come to college with you know they’re burned out national teams or they go to college and they found a second wind and all of a sudden they started going faster and I think it’s it’s it’s not like a stress free environment. Put your theory from the other stresses almost when you’re on the Hill right. Yeah. It’s liberating for sure. Like it’s just a different experience altogether that I don’t think you’ll ever experience outside of college ski racing.
[00:25:30] Definitely. Yeah college racing is fun. I enjoyed my time on the circuit. It’s a cool place. Yeah.
[00:25:37] And now that you’re I mean you’re out of college you’re on the national team and everything sort of clicking for you. You’re based on your normal results. It looks like you are you know a multi event threat if you will. You know you had your best World Cup results in slalom so far but I’m curious if you have plans to maybe this season start racing do more World Cups maybe in speed or gas or things like that.
[00:26:04] I would love to. That’s the plan. I don’t intend to specialize in any way in the near future. Unfortunately we don’t have that many spots and G these days because we’re not having a ton of success right now. So it’s hard for me to try and fight for yes but because that’s not my top discipline. But I’m hoping to get a couple starting to maybe some cheaper coal mines some readers is coming up. The plan is for me to go to bed. Fine thank you after Flaco and I think there might be recombined their and speedier races that we’re looking into and then potentially Cortina.
[00:26:47] There’s a lot of things up in the air I don’t know my schedule past tomorrow to be honest.
[00:26:53] Well the world is your oyster so it’s a little bit exciting. Yeah. So it’s sort of on the same note I guess aside from World Cups do you is your focus this season on like earning the title to secure a World Cup spot for next season or are you going to kind of do you think you’ll stay focused on the World Cup circuit for now.
[00:27:14] Like what’s what’s the goal for the end of the season for you.
[00:27:20] I’m not sure all of that is my decision. I want to try and ski as fast as I can wherever that is for sure. I’m really loving the opportunity and have known the World Cup right now.
[00:27:34] And I think that there’s there’s still some things that I want to achieve here. But for sure you know it’s only the goal is always to.
[00:27:43] The coaches love nor am I so I’m sure if that’s a possibility they’re going to try and do everything that we can to Bermuda and get that are vital.
[00:27:57] Awesome Well thank you so much for your time Ronnie. Really appreciate it. I know you’re swamped but I wish you the best of luck in the coming season and I can’t wait to see what you do. It’s been really awesome chatting.
[00:28:09] Yeah thanks for having me. Great talk.
[00:28:12] Thanks again to Ronnie for coming on the show. I’m so glad we could find time to connect. Ronnie tells me that she is going to be doing a slalom training block now leading up to Lenzeheide. So you’ll be able to watch her at those races in Switzerland at the end of January there are no nor am races until February so she doesn’t really know her schedule right now but we may see her continuing to dominate the north circuit as well.
[00:28:38] Before I sign off I’ve a couple shameless plugs to make first. If you haven’t already downloaded the app Anchor, like the anchor for a ship with sports radio has a short morning morning show that I cohost occasionally where we talk about the latest headlines in women’s sports not just skiing. We have some really interesting conversations so download the Anchor app. Second if you haven’t already I hope you check out tips and tales. It’s a new ski racing podcast hosted by Steve Perrino and Scott Lyons and they have been in the ski industry for ages. They have done some really interesting interviews with coaches and parents the world’s cup stars recently. You can find that on skiracing.com under premium podcasts. I have so much respect for those guys and the work that they do and just share their deep knowledge of the sport. So definitely take a listen. A lot of interesting information. And they’re great storytellers. And then if you guys are loving this podcast I hope you will leave a five star review of sports radio on iTunes.
[00:29:39] I also welcome any ideas if you have guests you’d like me to talk to or issues you’d like to see discussed on this podcast. Please feel free to leave a comment and here. Tweet me at hall_gabbi. Find me on Facebook I’m totally open to suggestions. More episodes of the inside line can be found at sports.com. Ski racing dot com and just about anywhere you listen to podcasts including iTunes the Google Play Store TuneIn Stitcher and Spotify. Just search for WiSP sports Radio that’s W I S P Sports Radio with over 700 episodes across 30 unique shows and a global audience of one point five million WiSP Sports Radio is the world’s largest network of podcasts for women’s sport. That’s all I’ve got for you this week folks. I will see you in two weeks time for our final check in before the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea.