Why Lindsey Vonn Is Living Her Best Life After Retirement

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Lindsey Vonn Shares Tips for Being Active and Healthy

PSA: Don’t try to race Lindsay Vonn down a mountain. 

It’s a message most of us who have never competed in an Olympic Games don’t need to be told, but apparently the decorated alpine skier’s younger sister Laura Kildow didn’t quite get the memo. 

“She almost killed herself trying to race me once on a cat track,” Vonn recalled in an exclusive interview with E! News. “She was tucking past me and thought it was hilarious. And then she caught her edge and went off the cat track on the side. I’m like, ‘That’s what you get for trying to race me.'”

Because, yes, her family is every bit as competitive as the world champion herself, tending to “joke around about who’s the fastest,” Vonn revealed. “But at the end of the day, they know.” (Hint: It’s the one with three Olympic medals in her display case and 82 World Cup victories.)

A day on the slopes with the fam is just one of many activities the 38-year-old was able to reclaim after laying down her poles (professionally, anyway) in 2019. 

“I honestly never even went powder skiing when I was racing, because I was worried that I was gonna get hurt,” Vonn explained of having to be risk-averse to anything that didn’t include hurtling down an icy mountain at 85 miles per hour. “I actually hadn’t skied with my siblings since I was 9 years old. So I’ve been able to ski with them, which has been really fun, and ski with my dad, which was really nice.” 

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Shredding alongside her father Alan Kildow, a former national junior title holder himself, has been great, she shared, as has the opportunity to pick up mountain biking with pups Lucy, Leo and Jade on the trails around her Park City, Utah, home. She also dove into wake surfing and got a lift trying out heli-skiing during a recent trip to Iceland. 

“That’s the nice thing about being retired,” Vonn said. “I don’t have to worry about getting hurt doing something. So I can be a little bit more adventurous than I normally am.”

Particularly now that she’s calmed down in the bedroom. 

Previously an anytime, anywhere type of sleeper, Vonn experienced her initial brush with insomnia after crashing in the super-G event at the 2013 World Championships and tearing multiple ligaments in her right knee. 

Following surgery, “I was under a lot of pressure to come back for the Olympics in just a few months’ time,” she described. And, “I was in a lot of pain, which obviously did not help with the sleep. But I needed to sleep to recover. It was just this downward spiral of anxiety.” As she experienced injury after injury (and, thus, surgery after surgery) in the remaining six years of her career, “It got worse and worse.”

And the situation didn’t improve following her professional retirement. 

“Being physically tired helps a lot more than I thought it did,” she said of the struggle to fall asleep. “All I had was all of these goals and things that I wanted to achieve in my mind or emails I had to write back to or designs I had for my ski line. All of these things are always running around in my head a mile a minute, and I just couldn’t turn it off.”

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After trying to course-correct on her own for years with the help of Dr. Google, she shared, “I finally went to a doctor.”

Hers prescribed Quviviq, a nightly medicine for insomnia-ridden adults that has helped her score consistent, restful sleep. Though Vonn recommends speaking with your own physician about the best course of action, noting, “I’m not a doctor.”

But she is someone who’s done quite a bit of experimenting to discover her own ideal sleep environment and find a way to create it no matter what corner of the globe she finds herself in. “I just had to become so anal about it,” she acknowledged of her routine, that includes taking her dogs out for an evening walk.

“I think it’s good for your equilibrium and your brain, signaling that it’s nighttime,” Vonn explained of the practice, noting it also aids digestion so “I don’t have a glucose spike, which also affects my sleep.”

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Journaling helps too, providing a way for her mind to unwind from the day and a much needed boost to her mental health. 

Having dealt with depression for decades, “It’s been a part of my story since I was 18, I just never told anyone about it,” the Rise memoirist said. “I think it used to be a topic that no one wanted to talk about.”

For her, she said, “It made a big difference when I was actually open about it. I feel like there was a huge weight off my shoulders, it wasn’t something that I was struggling with alone anymore.” 

The mood disorder is part of the reason you can still find her going every bit as hard in the gym as when she was on the professional ski circuit, though now she has the flexibility to mix it up, hitting the weights some days and jumping onto a VersaClimber others. 

“For me, it’s more like a meditation,” she said. “It’s the only place where I can really be present and not think about a million things that I have to do or that’s going on. And I always found that that was what skiing was for me. So now that I’m retired, I use the gym as that space. I definitely need it for my mental health and also just to physically get tired, because that obviously helps with my sleep a lot.”


And then, of course, there’s the skiing, Vonn still clicking in to enjoy powdery runs from Aspen to Spain. Though these days she may be enjoying the aprés ski bit of it even more. 

While her decades-long career brought her to stunning vistas across Europe and Asia, “every place I’ve raced, I’ve been to the hotel and the race hill and the hotel—and probably the airport,” Vonn admitted. “That’s pretty much it. I’ve seen the culture, I’ve met a lot of people, but I haven’t had time to explore because I was just so focused on my competition and trying to succeed that there wasn’t time or space for it.”

Which is why she was so stoked about a recent trip to the Swiss resort town of St. Moritz. “I had been there a million times for races,” she said. “And everyone’s like, ‘Oh, let’s go to this restaurant. Lindsey, I’m sure you’ve been there a million times.'” 

Uh, not so much, she admitted: “So it’s been nice for me to kind of re-explore mountains that I’ve been to, but never actually been to.”


So consider Europe’s best restaurants officially on the agenda for Vonn, along with any other wild idea a friend might dream up. As the athlete put it, “If there’s ever an adventure to be had, I’m first to sign up.” 

Currently overseeing an empire that includes clothing, books and her eponymous foundation, Vonn is most excited about discovering where the next metaphorical trail might take her. 

“I’m just excited to conquer life,” Vonn said. “I feel really lucky to be in a place where every day there’s new opportunities. While I know that I’m never going to have the excitement or adrenaline of ski racing ever again, there are plenty of challenges that do get me excited. I honestly, every day, look forward to something new. And there’s always something new.”

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