Go longer, stay longer
With Nathalie on the cross-country skiing trail – and in the barn
There’s no getting past her when it comes to cross-country skiing: Nathalie von Siebenthal – top athlete at SwissSki, hopeful medal winner at the Olympic Games in South Korea and ambassador for «her Saanenland». A visit to the farm betwen door, fishing and cross-country skiing.
She comes straight out of the barn, in Wellington boots and overalls. 34 cows need to be taken care of. It’s 8.15, time for a conversation about the big, wide sports world and true homeland, about training and taking a breather. We are in Lauenen near Gstaad, on the von Siebenthal family farm. Nathalie trained as a farmer. When she’s not on the road on skis, that mean the world to her, she lends a capable hand at her parents’ business.
«I always wanted to be a farmer. And so it was clear for me: I’ll do my three-year apprenticeship on our farm with a stint in the Neuchatel Jura and School of Agriculture in Hondrich, so that I am prepared for the time after my career.» But she is still in the middle of her sporting life.
Nathalie is one of the trumps in the Swiss National Team for Nordic sports. She mastered this endurance sport in her childhood - in a classic way as well as in the area of skating. «I like to do both, skating is just that bit harder.» We would like to know whether she was ever interested in Alpine skiing or snowboarding. « No, that never came under discussion. My father was head of the local JO section. The whole neighbourhood came there for cross-country skiing. And logically, we were also involved.»
A flair for the Turbachtal
When she trains today, Nathalie likes to do it in the Turbachtal. She feels really at home there. Well-challenged as well. «The cross-country ski trail is ‘couped’, that means it goes pretty much up and down. It’s also sloping and this means you train your leg muscles particularly well». As an alternative she also has her home circuit as it were, in front of her house and the farmyard: the contemplative circuit through the Lauener Rohr. Sometimes foxes or squirrels scurry across the trail or at the side of the path a shy deer can be seen staring.
But there is not much time to look around as Nathalie has to train, she has to train a great deal.
« Once a week highly intensive training at racing speed. Two to three times intensively. And a lot of strength training in the basement.» She has a barbell and two short dumbells – to strengthen her arms and hands. In summer she is often on roller skis, for example on the Col du Pillon. However, she wouldn’t recommend this for lay persons. Or she goes to practice on the Glacier 3000 as soon as the first snow is lying there.
On track twice a day
When Nathalie is training in Saanenland she waxes her skating skis herself with some gliding wax. When it comes to the classic skis she is advised by her father who always knows the right mix for the grip wax. The black cross-country ski trail in Schönried really takes it out of the substance. Training takes place in the mornings and afternoons when the farm animals have been taken care of.
Speaking of the animals
The barn calls – the last area has to be mucked out and the cows have to be fed before it’s time to eat. By the way, Nathalie eats what she wants. No diet, but wholesome food is called for. After all she needs strength and stamina – for the next big goal: the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.