I´m now half way through the camp here in Chile. Two weeks down, two to go. We´ve been in Valle Nevado for these two weeks, and we´ve had great conditions. Next two weeks its Portillo. The camp so far has been pretty much what I expected it to be. Lots of freeskiing. Nice and slow. Doing lots of exercises. Tried the gates a little the last two days, but just cruising there as well. Very far away from race speed, but a whole lot better than not being here at all. I´m enjoying the time back on the road with the boys. And with some progress on this knee, I think I´ll get to spend a lot of time with them this winter.
Its been a while since I´ve written anything here. When you´re not competing and being in full action, there´s just not that much happening. Travelling around skiing and competing with the best in the world gives you a lot more to write about. The good thing about not racing is that you get to meet a lot of new people. Like the crew at the Royal Norwegian Air Force. Taking me for a trip in the F-16. That´s something that I´ve always wanted to check out. And what better time to get an invite than when you´re stuck on the sofa. A very kind thing to do and an awesome experience. Sitting in a F-16 is almost surrealistic. Like you´re a part of a video game. And when you´re flying over beautiful Norwegian landscape, then the scenery is almost the best part. Moving fast being able to cover a lot of ground, and still seeing everything crystal clear through the canopy. And I´ve now been travelling supersonic! Check! There´s some risk involved. But doing extreme things with very good people never scares me that much. That means the risk is lower than it appears. I always find “normal” activities with unfocused and untrained people much more scary. Since then I´ve spent my time on Florida. Relaxing on the beach, visiting friends, fishing, boating and working on my rehab training. I´ve had a great time here, and the rehab progress is going well. I´ll go back to Europe for some spring time later, but for now Florida has been perfect. Getting a mix of the tourist beach feeling and the local feeling staying with people that live here. Time goes by faster under the sun when you cant use the winter for skiing anyway.
Its been almost two weeks since I went down hard in Kitzbühel. 10 days of a lot of lying in bed and sitting on the sofa. So here we go. A few reflections I’ve done.
-Shit happens!, and when it does it happens fast. One minute you´re in the starting gate thinking how you can gain a few hundreds of a second through a downhill turn. Before you know it you´re in the hospital wondering how many months till I can walk normally again. That’s the way it is. You can only deal with the things you can actually do something about. And that’s usually what´s right in front of you. Be well prepared to deal with anything, but don’t worry about stuff you can´t influence or things you can´t possibly see coming.
-Walk it off! Sounds good, but doesn’t really work. I tried it, and that’s just the adrenalin walking. My knee was still busted, and by the time I got to the hospital I couldn’t take a single step. But to be honest, that’s not really the reason you do it. Knowing that there´s a lot of people watching you race, and a lot of them friends and family. It is always best to show that you´re ok, if you are. Downhill crashes can look real bad, and in the bigger picture a knee is not that serious. If you can, give a signal you´re ok. If you get helicoptered out of there, it always takes hours before friends and family get any news about your condition.
-Good people are awesome. I´ve said this before, but it strikes me every time. It´s always nice to be around good people. But when things don’t go that well, that’s when it goes from nice to crucial. I´m thinking of everyone. The medical personnel that take are of you on the hill and at the hospital, your team and team mates, sponsors and your ski company, and of course friends and family! Thanks.
-Rehab training feels brutal at first. You´re used to being an athlete, and all of a sudden it feels more like being a patient. But then you start appreciating small steps and improvement, an then is actually not that bad.
-I usually go down hard when I´m skiing my best. And so have a lot of other athletes. Bad luck??? No, I don’t believe it is. In downhill racing(and a lot of other sports) there will always be an element of risk. Something we all know about and that we´re used to. Part of your job as an athlete is to be willing to accept this risk and push the limit so that you can go faster. To be able to win races you need to be good at overcoming your negative thoughts and be able to take enough risk. I´m not necessarily a big risk seeker. So I need to convince my self that it´s worth taking the risk. Taking risk when the possible outcome is winning the race, that’s a much better risk/reward ratio than when you´re not in a position to win. So when the price is bigger, I have an easier time convincing myself that it´s worth pushing hard.
-So now it´s back to rehab training. Do I have the motivation to go trough another rehab in just over a year? I do! With skiing as the ultimate goal of course. But there´s also a lot of other things. I want to drop the crutches as fast as I can. I wanna walk on a beach, and ride my bike somewhere cool. I wanna lift weights and do heavy workouts. To get there as fast as possible it´s all the same method. Good rehab training is the answer to all these!
26th of December again and I´m one year older. Boom! Time flies. Specially when youre having fun;) And the last weeks have been amazing. Speed races in Val Gardena. First with a triple win for Norway. First time ever in speed. We´re three guys on the speed team, and every body on the podium! It was also Aleks´ first podium, with many more to come. Then another successful day in the downhill the next day followed by a big surprise in the parallel GS in Alta Badia. A pure Norway final with Kjetil taking the win and I in 2nd. Dream day again. Add the fact that Henrik is kicking ass in slalom, and we´re looking at some exciting times for the Attacking Vikings. Great to be a member of this team!! As for the last few days, they’ve been very relaxing with family. Like Christmas should be. Enjoyed a quick birthday breakfast before I dropped my dad and brother off at the airport in Innsbruck. Their off to Norway and I´m gonna drive down to Italy for some more world cup racing. But in the meantime I wish everybody happy holidays and thanks a lot for all the happy birthday wishes;)
This North America trip has been great. Lake Louise was amazing and so was the downhill here in Beaver Creek. Crazy good conditions, spectacular course and Norway one and two in the race. Boom;)!! Super-G was a tough day. Difficult conditions and a totally different kind of race compared to the downhill. I also caught a bug and was throwing up the whole evening before the race. Not sure what it was, but it was a brutal one. Today I did warm up and inspection before the GS race. But still have some stomach issues and a fever, so decided to pull the plug. Better be 100% when the downhill tour starts in Europe again. And that means I wont be travelling to Val d Isere either. I have been very low on energy these last days, and I think the best is to focus on the upcoming speed races and let the tech guys take care of the giant slalom. Thanks for a great start! And good luck in the GS today boys. Go Norway;);)
The first speed races of the season are done and it has been a great start. I thought I was maybe good enough to win races. But there´s a big difference from that to actually doing it. Lots of fun being back racing, and very exciting to be in the start gate again. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, but that’s part of the experience. It wouldn’t be the same without the adrenaline and the slightly uncomfortable moments. But thanks to being a part of a great team, both with the ski federation and with Head, I was ready to go fast! Now that the winter has really started there will be tons of exciting races coming up. Almost every weekend. First one is Beaver Creek this Friday through Sunday, and then we´re off to Europe again. I for sure wont win every race, but the most important thing is being fast enough so you can win. If you´ve got the speed, then the racing is exciting and good things happen!
Colorado is the place to be in November. With Europe struggling with warm temperatures it seems that Colorado is your safest bet to get good training. The ski resorts here being at about 3500 meter altitude is close to a guarantee that you´ll get low temperatures. Because of this it is also crowded. Almost every downhill team on the World Cup seems to be here. Every day of training is a mini World Cup race. Both on the mens and the womens side. Americans, Germans, Austrians, Swiss and Norwegians training on the same mountain. Looking at each other trying to figure out who looks strong for the winter. Thanks to a good cooperation with the American team we´ve gotten some really good days. Now we´ve got this week, and then it´s off to Lake Louise for the first downhill world cup. I think we´re as prepared as we could hope for, so lets see what happens;)
Sölden was a tough race. I knew that coming in, but you still hoped to do great. But that’s all history now and its time to fly to America and get the downhill worldcup going! Racing sure is way different from training. Everything about it. Easy to forget that. It´s exciting. And the best giant slalom guys are really good. Impressive level of skiing by the top guys in Sölden. And congrats Ted for being back on top in GS.
It´s time to race again. World Cup opening in Sölden Autria is on this weekend. A strange feeling. It has been more than 18 months since I last raced a world cup race. I did the two races at the World Championships in Beaver Creek last year, so I hope I haven’t totally forgotten everything. I am happy it swinter time again. I might not be perfectly prepared for this race here in Sölden. Its Giant Slalom. And focusing on coming back in the speed disciplines I haven’t been abel to work that much on my GS. But some runs I´m pretty fast and I its for sure worth a try. It´s about time to get that race feeling. Being on the sidelines for so long I feel I need a few starts before I perfectly back in rhythm. So better start here in Sölden and then be 100% prepared for the downhill in Lake Louise. Skiing is fun and racing is exciting, so here we go!!
September might the one month with the most skiing for the Norwegian team. We spend the whole month in South America preparing for the upcoming season. Sure there´s a lot of skiing in the winter. But when you´re racing its just a few runs, and in training you can do 10++. So September is probably the most important month of the year when it comes to actually getting better. And I think we did get better in this year. Like always in the mountains there´s a lot of weather and changing conditions. But staying for a month you´re pretty much guarantied to get some good, and then it doesn’t matter if its not great for a week or two. First two weeks of speed training in Portillo, and then we met up with the tech boys for two and a half week in Valle Nevado. It´s fun to get together with the tech boys(yes, they´re young and that´s why I say boys..) and get a refreshing perspective. It´s easy to do the same over and over again, but skiing with this 10 year younger crew it kinda takes me 10 years back as well. Now we´re back in Europe and we´ll soon start skiing on the glaciers in Austria. The season feels close, and its all about making the most out of the last weeks of quality training. I´m excited about the winter and that its soon time to race again.