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Name: Marco Schafferer
Hometown: Gschnitz, Austria
Country: Austria
Age: 34
Sport: Alpine Skiing
Years in the sport: 20 years (6-26yrs of age)

How did you get started in skiing?
Skiing is the national sport in Austria and a lot of my friends were skiers.

What was it like when you officially retired?
It was a strange but good feeling to close this chapter of my life. I was excited for what was next.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Father, Husband and successful business professional

Favourite athlete? 
Arnold Schwarzenegger

What was your biggest challenge as an athlete and how did you overcome it?
Injuries – I had several set backs in my relatively short professional career and motivating myself to step it up and coming back again from the injury and being competitive again was a major challenge. It was a great life lesson for me, I look at things differently now.

What has your biggest challenge since retiring from ski racing?
Navigating my professional career and finding the same passion that I had as a ski racer. After ~8yrs in my career, I found what I am passionate about and where I want to take my career.

Best advice that you have been given?
Don’t give up! Keep pushing, buddy!

Any hobbies?
Skiing, running, fitness, golf, ..

Favourite music?
Bruce Springsteen and Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughan

What was the best part of competing?
I really enjoyed the feeling in my stomach when I was about to kick out of the start gate and was able to do my thing during the race. It’s a great feeling!

Favourite quote?
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s six rules for success.
1. Trust yourself
2. Break some rules 
3. Don’t be afraid to fail
4. Ignore the naysayers
5. Work like hell
6. Give something back

Arnold Schwarzenegger

If you could train with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
There are a lot of great athletes out there but honestly I love working out with my wife Lindsey and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We work out ~6 days a week together and we push each other outside our comfort zones every single day.

If you could have competed in another sport what would it be and why?
Skiing will always be my #1 sport but I do love soccer…

Favourite place you competed?
Sestriere (Torino Olympics – has a special place in my heart)

Did/do you have any special warm up routine?
Stay away from the nervous guys at the start.

What time is your alarm set for?
5:00am

Ice cream or cake?
Ice cream

What did you do on your rest days?
I love trying new restaurants, reading, and anything active with my wife Lindsey! and of course, spending time with our French Bulldog Oliver!

Last non food item you bought?
running shoes and new ski boots 🙂

Do you have a lucky number?
3

Strangest thing you’ve ever witnessed?
I worked in roofing one summer to make some money for the winter season. We had to remove an old roof from a farm and it turned out that the old woman that lived there had roughly 70 cats in her house and we found 20+ dead cats in the attic of the house.

Scariest thing you’ve ever done?
My first downhill race was pretty scary, not going to lie.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what one person and thing would you like to have?
My wife Lindsey & bottle of red wine.

What would be your perfect meal?
Sushi.

What performance are you most proud of?
Qualifying for the Olympics in 2006.

Marco Schafferer

Hardest sport moment you had to push through?
All my bigger injuries – coming back from the injuries was not always easy. (Shoulder injury, 4 knee surgeries, hip surgery, broken jaw, broken hand, broken arm.)

What have you learned from skiing that has helped you in other parts of your life?
Put your head down and work hard for what you want.

Favourite place to eat?
My parent’s restaurant in Austria (Gasthof Alpenrose in Gschnitz, Austria)

If you had to travel either forward in time or backward in time, which would you choose?
I am really happy where I am today, life has been good, I don’t have any regrets and I don’t need to speed things up. I have been very fortunate to have had great opportunities and interesting chapters in my life. I am very thankful to have met my wife and soulmate Lindsey and adopting our Frenchie Oliver has been one of the best decisions yet!

What is the most unusual, challenging, or creative workout you’ve ever done?
Hill sprints or running up the stairs at the Bergisel Ski jumping in Innsbruck, Austria.

Favourite animal?
Our French Bulldog

Dream job besides an athlete?
I have found my passion with my current career path. I get to build relationships with clients in Europe and the US while solving complex problems for them.

What motivated you to keep training?
I wanted to compete in the Olympics since I was a kid and after I wanted to come back stronger from all the injuries throughout my career and prove to myself that I can do it.

Favourite time of year?
Time I spend with my family and people that are important to me.

Of all the people you have trained with over the years, from whom have you learned the most and why?
I had a lot of great coaches and mentors in my life and I don’t want to forget anyone or leave anyone out because everyone added a lot of value in my life at different times.

How many hours did you train at a given week?
~4h a day

Best memory you have from a time when you were training?
Blue sky day on the mountain and its only you and a few other athletes before the ski resort was opened to the general public.

What are you plans for 5 years down the line?
Build out a successful global sales team for my company (CIRM.COM).

What accomplishments outside of skiing are you the most proud of?
Graduating from college and grad school, becoming fluent in English.

Favourite book?
Dan Millman – Way of the Peaceful Warrior

What did a typical day of training look like?
Light warm up and run gates for a few hours in the morning and light gym workout in the afternoon.

Anything people be surprised to learn about you?
hmm.. I do something outside of comfort-zone every year (i.e. Improv classes @ Second City)

What is the funniest thing that happened to you/others while training?
I will never forget my teammate forgetting his ski boots four times in one day! On the morning of a race day he forgot his ski boots at the hotel, and they were brought to the mountain for him. He then forgot them again at the mountain, and they were brought to the airport for him. He forgot them a third time at the airport, and they were shipped to the college mail room for him to pick-up. He then left them at the mail room that same day, all within 24 hours! We didn’t let him live this one down, ski boots were kind of a necessary part of the equipment on race day!

Best movie and tv series? I am not much of a movie person but I did love Entourage in college and more recently my wife and I loved Blacklist.

Favourite food while training?
Honestly anything – pasta, rice, chicken, steak, canned tuna (haha).

What inspires you?
My wife Lindsey. She is the hardest working person I know. She is so dedicated to the things she cares about most. She recently made a complete career change to pursue a path in public policy to help make the world a better place. She is currently studying to obtain her MPP from the University of Chicago and during her free time she volunteers at the Anti-Cruelty Society (animal shelter in the city). Everything she does she does with a purpose.

Do you have a saying or motto you live by?
Put your head down and work hard for what you want. Nobody has more interest in your success than you.

What did/do you enjoy most about ski racing?
I was able to make great friends all over the world.

Advise that you have for someone starting out skiing?
Have fun! its a great sport and it teaches you a lot of great life lessons.

What was the most crucial part of your training?
Learning to listen to your body – I definitely didn’t do a good job listening to my body and tried to come back from injuries too soon (i.e. I raced a ski season with a carbon fiber knee brace because I had a torn ACL and wanted to finish the season before getting surgery). Looking back, it was a complete waste of time and I ended up crashing again and fracturing bones in my face.

Anyone you would like to thank (sponsors, coaches, teachers, ect)?
All my coaches, mentors and my parents throughout my life. I really don’t want to leave anyone out.

Find Marco Schafferer on social media!
LinkedIn: @marcoshafferer 

Anything else you would like to share? Ironman 70.3 is next on the list.