KM: Last time I went skiing I fell down on the T-bar lift. How embarrassed should I be?
LV: My husband is amazed I can win World Cups because I'm such a klutz. I'm always stubbing toes or tripping over my skis. I manage to trip just about every day.
KM: I hear you received a cow for winning a competition.
LV: I won a cow in France; I think it was four or five years ago now. That cow had two calves, and now they're both pregnant. So I will soon have five.
KM: Are you still the owner?
LV: I am, but a friend of mine in Austria is looking after them for me. I visit whenever I can, but thankfully I don't have to do any of the dirty work. I just go there and pet them.
KM: Why do Europeans ring cowbells at events? Do you ever see that in America?
LV: It's pretty European. I don't know why. Most of the races are held on snow-covered farmland, so maybe the locals just come out with their cowbells.
KM: Had races been held near a kitchen, they might have had blenders going.
LV: Yeah, exactly. They just grabbed whatever was available at the time, and it stuck.
KM: You know the modern biathlon, where they have a gun and cross-country skis? I was thinking they could have a really, really modern biathlon, in which people like you race downhill and fire at targets. Thoughts?
LV: Going 80 mph, stopping to shoot, then going down again? Sounds a little dangerous.
KM: Would you advise bad skiers to try to sell space on their butts, so if they fall down face-first, the advertising would show? Like hedging against a bad race?
LV: I can't recommend that. It's probably not a good idea.
KM: Do you listen to music while you ski? Do you have an iPod wired into that helmet?
LV: I don't, but I listen to music before races and during workouts. It can be tough to wake up at 5:30 in the morning, but music gets me moving. I listen to a lot of Jay-Z and T.I.
KM: Think Jay-Z is a good skier?
LV: Something tells me he's not, but if he ever wants to learn, I'd be happy to teach him.
KM: Growing up in Minnesota, did you do some ice fishing?
LV: No. Did you see that on Fargo?
KM: With everything that's going on with doping in sports, how careful do you need to be?
LV: It's really scary. If I have a water bottle in the gym, someone could sprinkle powder in it and I could get banned for two years. I always keep my drinks next to me. If I have surgery I clear all the prescriptions, and if I have a cold I don't take meds. It's not worth the risk.
KM: There's a picture of you with a goat on your website. Another prize?
LV: After winning two gold medals in the world championships this year, I came back to Kirchberg, Austria, where we have our apartments, and the town held a ceremony and gave me gifts: traditional Austrian dress, an Austrian-style sled and a really cute goat.
KM: You need to start skiing in places where the custom is to give gold.
LV: I know. I really do. It would be a lot better.