As a kid I would ski a lot in the winter. That kinda changes once you reach world cup level. There are so many races, that there is very little room for training days. And during a race day there is more talking about skiing then there is actual skiing. In the morning you inspect the course for about an hour. Then you talk to the coaches. Watch some of the other racers and get feedback from your coaches again after they’ve seen a few guys. Then you finally get to ski yourself, but only one or two runs during the day. And then you spend time talking to the media about those few minutes of skiing. Before you look at your run again in the evening and talk to the coaches about how to get better. Its all exciting and competition is fun. But there is not a lot of actual skiing during a race season. Most of the skiing you want to get done needs to happen during summer and fall. But now that I´m not doing races I have way more time to just ski. I´ve been skiing almost every day since I was able to put a ski boot on around mid January. It´s back to how thing used to be when I was a junior, and I like it a lot. Training with the junior team, the Europa cup team and the slalom guys. Like in the picture when Kjetil Lars and I were working our way up. Getting lots of skiing done and working on the technique more than looking at the times and thinking about speed. Getting a reminder of how fun the pure skiing is, without lots of people around and getting attention from media etc. It´s fun and I think it’s a great way to start preparing for next winter. Cause then its back to “normal”. Ski in the summer/fall and spend the winter talking about skiing
The world championships in Beaver Creek was a great experience. The whole process of trying to get ready in time was one big challenge. I like challenges. And in the end it worked out, but with a margin of only a day or two. It was probably pushing it a little bit to ski in the world champs. But I felt it was under control. Ever since I left Beaver Creek I´ve been thinking a lot about what to do with the rest of the season. How I feel on skis being my number one priority. How the injury looks being the number one priority for the medical team. The other aspect is what risks I´m taking with my starting positions for next year. As we all know start numbers make a big difference in ski racing. I feel pretty good on the skis, but I also feel that I missed those three months of skiing. To be back 100% I will need a lot more skiing, but if everything runs perfect I think it would be possible to do some good races. Achilles also looks good. But as the guys at the Olympic center in Oslo said, “you still have three months of rehab training left, dont forget that!”. And then we have the aspect with the staring position. To describe it simple it works something like this; If you are injured you get injury status. An injury is something that FIS says it takes 8 months to recover from. So if you´re back quicker, then you get no injury status. This means that if I start skiing World Cup now I´m not injured and never was. And that means I have the last few races of the season to try and collect the same ranking points that the other guys have used the whole winter to collect. If I don’t collect them I will start next season with a bad start number. I have done the math, and it would be possible to make it happen. But that is if everything runs perfect. Including weather and other factors that I cant control, because I couldn’t afford any races being cancelled. So between the math and good advice from people I trust I have landed on the decision that I will use the rest of this winter to get back to good old shape. In other words no more races. Both skiing and physical rehab needs a lot more work. And this way I have the time to get it done right. Come to the beginning of next season fully prepared and be ready to attack 100% again. Thanks for the support during world champs. That meant a lot!! And it was almost unreal to be back way earlier then I expected. But back at Olympic center it was clearly back to reality. 3 more months of rehab training…
So the big question is if I will be able to race the championships here Beaver Creek. And the honest answer is that I don’t know. But I think I’m close enough that it’s worth giving it a try. So I’ll ski the official downhill training tomorrow and then just take it from there day by day. Will I be good enough to win a medal?? I have no idea. And probably not. I didn’t ski for three months while these other guys were racing around the world. But I’m not taking anyone else’s spot in the championships. I have my own spot cause I’m the defending champion. So I guess this time it’s more for the love of the game. I miss the action. And the fact is that if you’re at the start you still have a chance of success. The only way of having no chance is by not taking part. And I like the challenge. In October most people told me that I was out for the whole winter. I just want to see what’s possible. And here we are. Beginning of February and I do believe it’s possible for me to ski the Birds of Prey downhill here in Beaver Creek. And then we’ll just see day by day what happens. I’m ready to give it a try and then we’ll just take it from there. Aksel
Skiing in Aspen this week . And the skiing is beautiful!! It´s world champion conditions and hero snow. That means you´ll feel like a world champion skiing. And the snow lets you rip crazy sharp turns. Turning like a hero. Add blue skies and you´re probably looking at some of the best skiing on the planet right now. A real confidence builder for an injured athlete trying to make his way back. You can probably tell I´m pretty excited. That’s what happens when you walk around on crutches looking at all you´re friends skiing all winter. You miss it. And then you start nice and slowly. Hoping things work out. And it kinda does, but not 100% like you hoped for. But then these sweet conditions come along and give you that extra little help you needed. Skiing is a lot of fun on days like these. This week in Aspen is turning out to be real good. Or real awesome as I should say here in America.
Mid last week I tried skiing for the first time. That’s a week ago now and the progress has been great. I was very optimistic before the first day. I figured the foot would feel as good and safe inside a ski boot, as it did inside the cast. This was of course way too optimistic, so I was a bit disappointed. But now its slowly getting there. Still problems in rough conditions, but that too keeps getting better. This week I can almost follow a normal training, so I´ve joined up with parts of the team in Hinterreit Austria. Feels great to be back with the boys. And even better, I´ve decided to join them for the training camp in Colorado. I´ll fly over on Sunday and then I get almost a week of skiing in Aspen before I have to decide of I´m ready to do races at the world champs or not. Its still far away, but the progress is promising. And even if I don’t make the championship, that will probably be the best training anywhere in the world. So it’s a win win long and short term. On my way to the airport I´ll stop by Kitzbuhel to check out the downhill on Saturday. With Jansruds speed right now that might be a good day for Norway!
I dropped the crutches around Christmas eve. Started walking close to normal around January 1st. This last week I’ve done lots of tests and exercises to test the achilles. And here’s the real good news; it looks pretty good and I’m going skiing this week! First I’m stopping by the HEAD factory to get some boots refitted and then I’m ready to go. Probably not 100%, but being on skis is a long step in the right direction. I’ll keep you posted on that progress and post pictures on Instagram. Fingers crossed. Exciting times ahead:)
Sometimes shit happens. And when you´re an athlete and that “shit” is an injury, then your life is changed until you´re a 100% recovered. It´s for sure not the end of the world, but you´re life just looks a lot different the next weeks or months. So what to do? I found no positive side to this situation within my world, the world of sports. So I started looking for other alternatives that I find interesting and inspiring. Trough my career I´ve gotten to know a lot of great people in different fields and environments. And trough this I´ve learned that entrepreneurs, people that start their own businesses and companies, think a lot like athletes do. They set high goals that are hard to reach, but they´re willing to take the risk and reach for their goals. And they often do so with energy and passion that I recognize from sports. So I quickly realized that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to keep my mind occupied while I´m doing (boring) rehab training. Spending time with experienced (and hopefully smart!) entrepreneurs. Have fun, get inspired and maybe learn something at the same time. And where do you find an environment that´s full of experienced entrepreneurs?? The Bay Area. San Francisco and Silicon Valley is home to some of the biggest companies and most innovative companies in the world. Companies who´s product we use every day. Like Facebook and Google. But more important, it´s full of innovative companies driven by people with a passion and a vision to create what could be the as important as Google 10 years from now. Thanks to a little help for some good friends in Oslo, some new friends I made a long the way, and a very open and welcoming culture here in Silicon Valley, this trip was everything I hoped it would be. Very inspiring, lots of fun, and filled with lessons to learn. I have spent every day with people I had never met before, but that were still willing to share both their time and their experiences. At companies like Google, or at some café with someone willing to risk everything on an idea that’s just on a piece of paper. Both with same enthusiasm and conviction that they´re working on something big. I hope that I´ve learned something. I like this “industry of big ideas” a lot. And that’s probably the most important lesson. That this is something that I have fun with. Cause when you´re having fun you´re working harder and better. That´s something that I believe will never change. Hard work pays off! So if you´re walking around somewhere on this planet, and you have a great idea in your mind. Or a feeling in your stomach that you want to create something. Explore that idea and see what´s possible. Don’t keep it a secret, cause trough sharing and conversations you´ll probably attract others with a similar mindset. And that is the first lesson I learned here. There´s thousands of great ideas and the competition is big. What can separate you is having a great team of people and being able to execute on your idea. I had good friends helping me out to get started. But I have met just as many inspiring people just staying in the area. The Nordic countries have put together a shared working space called the Nordic Innovation House. A great place were I´ve spent a lot of time. So if you´re from the Nordic region you´ll have a great start right there. And I´m sure other countries have similar projects. So if you have that entrepreneur spirit and you wanna give it a chance. Go explore! Only then will you know what´s possible. That´s my conclusion. But be aware, right now I might be under the influence of some of the best entrepreneurs in the world
Thanks to a lot of good support and some hard work I´m happy to say that the rehab training is going very well. This week I’m gonna loose this plastic cast that I’ve been walking around with lately. That means the achilles tendon itself is slowly growing back to be one piece. But its still not the same strength. But that’s an even bigger problem with the muscles in my leg and around the ankle. Even though I’ve been working them every day, that is still nothing compered to how you use your muscles when you´re just moving around without a cast on. So even though the cast thing is coming off, I suspect I still have to walk with the crutches for a few days. And that’s kind of a good thing. Cause once you get a good technique on those things they´re real fast. But even though I have a way to go I´m pretty optimistic. I do have a feeling I´m a little ahead of schedule. So lets wait and see what happened in the next few months. The achillies tendon is about double of what it used to be in thickness, so i´m gonna have to drop by the Head factory to get a new pair of boots fitted. Not sure when I´ll be able to take those boots skiing. But like I said, t looks good and I´m kinda optimistic.
Being a part of the best team is great when you´re having success and everybody ´s happy. But its even better when things don’t go your way. That’s when you really figure out what kind of people and companies you work with. I decided to stay in Sölden for the world cup races. Not to watch the races, but because I wanted to be with my team. These guys are great at what they do (athletes, coaches, physios, ski technicians…) but they¨re also great people and some of my best friends. I´m also a proud member of the HEAD ski team. Yesterday we did the annual world cup opening press conference with the HEAD team here in Sölden. Everyone else ready to kick ass trough the winter, and me jumping around on one foot… A lot of people said it must be really depressing to be here?? No, its actually exactly the opposite. I felt so much better after those hours spent with the HEAD crew. Being injured I feel bad because I cant deliver results and excitement on the race hill like I normally do. I will be back sooner or later to do that again, but in the mean time I´m on the side lines watching. Skiing is a risky sport and we´re all used to injuries, but it still feels great when you get the kind of support that I felt yesterday. So thanks everyone! And like I said. It´s good to be a part of a great team when things are good. But when things don’t go you´re way… That´s when being a part of right team gets really important. So tune in on television to watch your favorite sport this weekend live from Sölden. Not only because it’s a great sport, but because its full of great people!
This is what 100 kilos of downhill skiing looks like after running over 28 kilometers at the Wings For Life World Run last spring. Even if there is no smile on my face, this was a real fun experience. Sign up at wingsforlifeworldrun.com/no/no and come join us in Stavanger May 3rd 2015.
Let´s run for those who can´t!