After missing nearly all of the 2013 season due to an ACL/MCL injury, Eastern slalom rocket Nolan Kasper was back for 2014. It took Kasper a few races to find his stride, but his timing couldn’t have been more perfect. It was Kitzbheuel, the final race of the 2014 Olympic qualification period. He finished 18th and punched a ticket to Sochi, where he upgraded that result to 13th to be the top American slalom finisher at the Olympic Games.
More World Cup points in Kranjska Gora and a slew of solid FIS finishes in the spring make Kasper one fired up guy for the 2015 World Championship year.
You were sick the last time you raced on Birds of Prey and finished just off the podium in fourth. What is it about racing on home snow that brings out great performances?
The best part about racing in the U.S. is being in a comfortable environment. The crowd there is always incredible too and that helps get you amped up to go fast.
Describe the Birds of Prey track as it relates to some of the other classic venues?
We haven’t raced slalom at BOP besides a makeup race a few years ago so it’s hard to compare it to other venues. It’s probably most similar to Zagreb in difficulty. But it’s not very hard after the first few gates, which means you have to attack the whole way.
You were top 15 at the Olympics, but know you have a lot more speed. Is there a specific peaking strategy you’re using to prepare for 2015?
Nope, I go about my season the same way as usual. Work hard, stay focused and try not to let disappointing results change that.
New boards, how are they running?
I switched to Volkl skis and Lange boots this past spring. I’m really excited about being back in the Lange boots and have been very happy with the ski/boot combination so far.
It’s been a rough road health-wise the last few years, how are you feeling at this point in the prep period?
My body is feeling good right now. I just have to stay on top of the little injuries that pop up throughout the year so they don’t turn into something bigger.
Any other thoughts about racing the World Championships on home snow?
It’s really exciting that a championship ski racing event is coming back to the U.S. Look out for Team USA in 2015.
Release courtesy of USSA