Manuel Feller is an Austrian alpine ski racer. Feller specializes in the technical events of slalom and giant slalom. Feller made his World Cup debut on 11 November 2012. At the 2012 World Junior Alpine Skiing Championships Feller finished 27th in the Downhill, 14th in the Giant slalom and failed to finish the slalom. At the 2013 World Junior Alpine Skiing Championships Feller won the gold medal in the slalom, finishing ahead of Ramon Zenhaeusern and Santeria Paloniemi. In 2017 he won a silver medal in Giant Slalom at the FIS-World Cup in St. Moritz. We talked to the ski racer about his goals, setbacks and motivation.
Skiing was always a big time hobby for me. My aunt introduced me to skiing when I was three years old. After that I always went skiing with my father, but usually somewhere away from the ski runs. Then when I was alone with friends on the piste, I liked to spend my time jumping over every bump and mogul, and skiing around the gates with the Fieberbrunn Ski Club was also a lot of fun for me. At the age of nine or ten I was really getting to be pretty good, and that’s why I decided to enroll in the special skiing school in Neustift – that, I would say, was the start of my career.
It is always my goal to ski all out and get as close as I can to my limits.
I was my own greatest motivator and I kept myself moving forward. I always just wanted to be the best, to be faster than anyone else. Also, I was always inspired by the idea of pushing myself to my upper limits. The thrill of always being on the edge, even if I fell or whatever, that was the most fun for me. Everything else was just boring.
In recent years, I have to say that skiing lost some of its fun for me (due to my back problems), but the feeling I get when I’m at the start and see that green light is what kept me going. Then there’s the feeling you get when you are in front of 30,000 or 40,000 people – for example in Kitzbühel – that’s enough motivation right there. I also take something positive from any setbacks I experience (like fast split times), or I just accept the fact that things can’t always go well. I always give it my all, so as long as I’m skiing the way I want to, at my limit, I know that I can do it again and go into the next race at 100%.
For me the goal is always the next race – everything else is just a dream (podium finishes, medals, etc.). It is always my goal to ski all out and get as close as I can to my limits. What happens next also has a lot to do with luck. The main thing is that I gave 100% – then there is no defeat, it’s just more learning processes.
At the time I had my disc prolapse in 2014, I was certainly a little discouraged. Getting out of bed every day with pain, not sleeping very much and simply being incredibly limited in terms of everyday activities…that’s just not easy. During that time I was just thinking to myself that I should accept things as they are. My big motivation then was to return to a life free of pain as quickly as possible, to get back to my normal daily routine. Wow that took a long time! Nonetheless, once the pain was gone I felt more fit than ever, then the fun returned to my skiing.
There is no defeat, it’s just more learning processes.
My next goal is clearly a podium finish, and if that includes being at the World Championships, the goal has to be a medal (but that always involves racing all day long, so once again it’s more like a dream of mine). Actually, as I already described, the goal is always the next race. I would just like to show what I can do. I want be close to my limit, and after the race is over I want to be able to say that I gave it 100% – hopefully the good result is there too. Skiing at 100% will be what allows me to realize one or even more of my dreams one day.
Fotocredits: GEPA pictures/ Andreas Pranter