Cadre training center Saalfelden: This is how world champions are trained

Lisa Theresa Hauser, Sara Marita Kramer, Simon Eder and many more - all these winter sports athletes have been very successful in winning medals at the World Championships in recent weeks, giving us a reason to celebrate in Saalfelden Leogang. Because these three and many of their team colleagues have one thing in common: they completed all or part of their sports training in Saalfelden. This gives us the opportunity to introduce you to our sports schools in a little more detail and to tell you how reigning and future world champions are trained in Saalfelden.

The first station of a sports career: the Nordic ski middle school

The first step towards starting a successful sports career must be taken at a very young age. For this reason, many students decide to focus on sports a little more professionally as early as after elementary school. In this regard, the Nordic Schimittelschule Saalfelden offers the opportunity to complete basic training in the branches of alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, ski jumping or biathlon in addition to school.

The Schigymnasium combines professional competitive sports with a Matura

A sports school rarely comes alone in Saalfelden and so the Schigymnasium Saalfelden offers itself as a further springboard for a sports career. It is part of the Bundesgymnasium and Sport-Realgymnasium (HIB) and integrates professional training with trained coaches into everyday school life from the 9th grade onwards. Students can choose from six different disciplines, ranging from Alpine skiing to Nordic skiing and Freestyle skiing. In addition, the Schigymnasium is completed with a full maturity examination.

A shower of medals at the Schigymnasium

The World Championships were the number one topic of conversation in the conference room of the Gymnasium. First there was jubilation about the silver medal of Romed Baumann, who is internally considered the "oldest" World Cup athlete among the Schigymnasium graduates. A few days later, the biathletes followed suit impressively: silver in the mixed competition with the participation of three former students: Lisa Hauser, Dunja Zdouc and Simon Eder. This world championship was crowned with the gold medal of Lisa Hauser: "Lisa's series of successes can be classified under 'historic'", says sports coordinator Rainer Stöphasius about the new world champion in the biathlon mass start. Lisa and Dunja graduated together from the Schigymnasium in 2013 - a year that is likely to be particularly memorable because their schoolmates are no less successful. For example, the skier Thomas Dreßen, who, among other things, has already won the downhill in Kitzbühel. Also in this class were Christina Rieder (biathlon) and Ricarda Haaser (alpine skiing).

The coaching team of the Schigymnasium is also proud of Nordic combined athlete Mario Seidl, who won a bronze medal with the team at the Nordic Ski World Championships. "Mario's comeback medal makes us all the more happy because we know how difficult it is to get back on track after a long injury break."

Sara Marita Kramer makes a whole school cheer

Another exceptional athlete made her breakthrough in the current season: ski jumper Sara Marita Kramer. In addition to several World Cup victories, she won a gold and a bronze medal at the World Championships in Oberstdorf. Sara was a student at the Schimittelschule Saalfelden from 2011 to 2015 and, according to Philipp Amon, coach for Nordic combination and ski jumping, "she already showed an incredible feeling for flight as well as great ambition and willpower back then." So it's little wonder that everyone from the management over the entire coaching team to the school's cleaning staff was cheering along. "Of course, it makes us proud to have helped shape these successes and, above all, to see what a great personality Sara has become," says a delighted Philipp Amon. In addition, she is still closely connected to the Schimittelschule today: "Through her regular visits and active participation in trainings, she also motivates and inspires the future generations of this wonderful sport."

The "ingredients" to Saalfelden's sports success recipe

Success stories like these inspire the whole of Austria. But we are even more interested in the background. Because what looks so easy on TV with these successful athletes is in reality associated with a lot of strenuous training and tough competition. This raises the question for us: What is the "recipe for success" behind our two Saalfelden sports schools?

Ingredient 1: A balanced mix of school and sports

Alongside full schedules, the necessary training must not be neglected - and vice versa. Therefore, a balanced combination is important to get both under one hat. "The ski classes are taught according to their own timetable rhythm. After lessons in the morning, they go to eat together in the school kitchen. In the afternoon, the students are then trained in their sport by the respective division coach," Mark Hauser, coach for biathlon at the Schimittelschule, explains to us. The Schigymnasium has similar schedules: "Monday and Tuesday mornings are school mornings, and from Wednesday we start with concrete training in the divisions in addition to the lessons. This includes travel and preparations for races and competitions."

Ingredient 2: Coaches

The right coaches represent a very important part of success from the very beginning, because they spend a lot of time with the athletes already during school hours. This even goes beyond the normal school week, because "even at the competitions on the weekend, we coaches are often out together with the students," says Mark Hauser. In terms of coaches, the Schigymnasium also has a lot to offer: "We employ a total of 16 coaches, all of whom were former competitive athletes in their fields. In addition, they all concentrate fully on their own athletes and have no 'double function' in regional associations or in the ÖSV. This allows us to plan and act very autonomously," Rainer Stöphasius tells us.

Ingredient 3: Training facilities

In addition to capable coaches, well-equipped training facilities are also needed. In this respect, the stadium at the beautiful Ritzensee can be described as a nordic hotspot. "We have perfect cross-country skiing conditions there, an air rifle range with 12 stands, the Fun & Snow Park we installed, as well as the competition trails from the 1999 Junior World Championships." Another advantage for effective training is the continuous snowmaking with artificial snow from mid-December to mid-March. All the young people who, like Sara Marita Kramer, pursue the passion of ski jumping, complete their training in the stadium in the Saalfelden district of Uttenhofen on jumps in four different sizes between 15 and 85 meters.

Success speaks for Saalfelden

Saalfelden Leogang thus not only has a lot to offer as a vacation region rich in contrasts, but is also a true training paradise for athletes and (future) world champions.


Photos: Schigymnasium Saalfelden, Nordische Schimittelschule Saalfelden, Michael Geißler, Alfred Eder