New start after the time of suffering: ski star Dreßen races out of the deep hole

A year ago, ski racer Thomas Dreßen was devastated.

New start after the time of suffering: ski star Dreßen races out of the deep hole

A year ago, ski racer Thomas Dreßen was devastated. Now his comeback is finally in sight. In the USA he is preparing for the new season.

The Colorado mountains. And fresh snow, lots of fresh snow. Thomas Dreßen himself was at the wheel of one of the vehicles in which he and all the other German downhillers drove on Monday to Copper Mountain via Highway 70. It is a tradition that they train there until the first races in North America at the end of November. For Dreßen, 28, the return is still emotional.

Two years ago, a period of suffering began for the most successful German shot driver in Copper Mountain, which even plunged him, as a person full of confidence, into depression at times. Dreßen had to leave early to have an operation on his hip. Since then he has only competed in one race, the World Cup downhill in February 2021. This was followed by another operation: on the damaged right knee.

The extent of his knee damage, says Dreßen, "that really hit me". The "real low blow", however, came in November 2021, exactly one year ago, "when my teammates all flew to America and I didn't even know when it would be snowing again". Then, reports the 28-year-old, "I fell mentally into a hole, because I had mental problems."

Dreßen himself was not initially aware that he was changing. "My wife noticed that I was a bit negative, in a bad mood, very calm." He also "didn't feel like doing anything anymore". Dreßen sought a conversation with the mental trainer Thomas Wörz, with whom he has been working for years. It turned out that he had already gone through "slight depressive phases": "It was new territory for me."

Dreßen did not and does not avoid the "problem", as he calls it. "I had to realize that this is a problem and will get better if you work on it." He was helped by the support of his wife, family and other partners, only the connection with sponsor Red Bull has ended. "They brought in a lot of unrest," says Dreßen, "as you can see, I'm drinking water again."

And it is undoubtedly helpful that it is now possible to move forward again on snow. Back in August, at the first training camp for downhill skiers in Chile, Dreßen was doing so well that his colleagues were amazed. But: "For me it's important that I race again, that I see where I stand," says Dreßen, "my goal is clear, I want to get back to where I was before."

Before, that means among other things: ten podium finishes in the World Cup, including five victories, more than any other German downhill skier. Dreßen would therefore have liked to take part in the races on the Matterhorn that were planned for the end of October but had to be canceled due to a lack of snow. Now he has to wait for the first World Cup start since March 2020 (!) until November 25th in Lake Louise, Canada.

Dreßen has fond memories of Lake Louise. A year after his bad fall in Beaver Creek, the source of all his hip and knee problems, he won his first race there on November 30, 2019.

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