Olympic champion, world champion, overall World Cup champion, multiple Norwegian champion. The list of Aksel Lund Svindal’s achievements is long. There was hardly anything he hadn’t seen in the mountains. Then he encountered the first all-electric
There has to be a special relationship between a skier and the mountains. The place where you experience life between summit and valley, with all its emotional facets. Highs and lows. Joy and sorrow. It’s no secret that the mountains don’t always bring happiness – not even for Aksel. Knowing your limits and overcoming these has its price. Falls, injuries, disappointments. These are the downsides of the sport. And it these painful times that perhaps characterise the relationship with the mountains. “The thing is: you’re afraid. It’s not about not being afraid, but about overcoming this fear. And the strength to do this comes from somewhere inside you. Actually, it comes from deep in your heart.”
Aksel has spent half his life in the mountains, evolving into the world-class skier that he now is. He has beaten tenacious opponents, stood on the podium, and been a celebrated hero, thanks to daring descents around the world. Raising his arms in the air after a race and releasing his emotions: these are the best moments. What makes this so special? After he’s sped off into the valley, metre by metre, navigating gate after gate, following the ideal line and making himself so small that it’s almost impossible for the wind to attack, and raced across the finish line, he’s completely unaware of the result. All eyes are focused on him, everyone knows the outcome – except for himself. He anxiously looks at the scoreboard, overcome by emotion: victory or defeat? The decisive moment when the result is revealed is probably one of the most candid that skiing has to offer. “You cannot pretend,” says Aksel. It’s about being yourself. Being genuine helps you progress: in sport, as well as in life.
The national team: perhaps the greatest thing an athlete can ever experience in their career. For Aksel at least. Suddenly, he was sharing a table with leading Norwegian skiers such as Kjetil André Aamodt or Lasse Kjus, whose posters adorned the walls of his room. And then: he was part of the family from day one.
It wasn’t long before posters of him were hanging in the rooms of skiing fans. He’s the star of the scene, but above all else: he’s remained true to himself. No change there. Modest, relaxed and honest. Someone who loves sport and would have liked to go to university if he hadn’t become a professional athlete. Aksel is a versatile and dedicated, yet often critical person, who loves and needs a challenge – even away from the slopes.
Always making progress, never standing still – at all levels. His inner drive, the desire for constant improvement, is what connects him with