Aleksander Aamodt Kilde: "I want to win the super-G"
Battle announcement by Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, winner of the 2017 Südtirol Ski Trophy; he is 26 and is no longer hiding behind his successful compatriots: Aleksander Aamodt Kilde was on the podium in Val Gardena/Gröden for the first time in 2015 and won the super-G World Cup in the same year - but he still sees himself in a learning stage. His long-term objective is to compete for the overall World Cup.
Mr Kilde, how does it feel to be the one to follow your compatriot Kjetil Jansrud as the winner of the Südtirol Ski Trophy?
I was very happy about this award. It is a wonderful initiative and rewards racers who can compete in both technical and speed disciplines. Unfortunately, there are not many of them in the World Cup. That's a shame.
Why are the all-rounders going extinct?
There is a simple reason for this: there just is not enough time. It’s impossible to train for both the fast and technical disciplines sufficiently to be at the top. I see myself as a speed racer, but I also want to maintain my level in giant slalom. My speed races definitely benefit from technical training and I want to keep that up as long as possible. The conditions are becoming increasingly demanding and the racers are specializing ever more.
What are the biggest differences between technical and speed training?
There are geographical and logistical differences: for downhill training I need long tracks, several coaches covering the whole course and I can complete fewer runs overall. A slalom training, on the other hand, is much easier: a course of 30 seconds is enough and I can repeat the run several times. Combining these two types of training is practically impossible; you can't be in two places at the same time.
How did you become a speed skier yourself?
Like all young skiers, I started with slalom and giant slalom. Little by little I came onto the faster slopes, where I felt very comfortable and improved quickly. After a good year in the European Cup, I was thrown head first into the 'World Cup' and quickly found my way around. In 2015, I made it on to the World Cup podium for the first time in Val Gardena/Gröden. It was a historic result for Norway: Aksel-Lund Svindal won ahead of Kjetil Jansrud and I finished third. One of the best days of my career!
Norway is currently very successful in the fast disciplines, but there are hardly any downhill slopes in your country ...
Yes, that's true. It is difficult to become a downhill skier in Norway. A young racer starts with the technical disciplines and then fights his or her way up step-by-step in the speed disciplines. Internationally, young Norwegians are lagging far behind, but competition and pressure are smaller at the national level. A young downhill racer is carefully groomed - quality instead of quantity. At the top, there are always some world-class racers from whom a younger athlete can learn. That brings experience and that is ultimately crucial in downhill racing.
Experience means getting a feel for speed and gaining experience on the World Cup tracks, right?
Yes, exactly. In the first few years, I was 5 or 6 seconds behind and improved year after year. Now I can ride in the front. It's a big advantage to be familiar with the racetracks and to know what's waiting behind each corner.
How important are your team mates Svindal and Jansrud to you?
I've learned a lot from them since joining the World Cup team. They are going full throttle at every practice and so I had to stay focused all the time. It has often happened that I was able to keep up in training, but then fell far behind in the race. Luckily, I have improved since, even beating them in races as well. But I still have to work on my consistency.
What are your goals for the current season?
2016/17 was a difficult year for me and that's why I want to fight my way back this season. But I don't want to look too far ahead, I want to tackle it step by step, concentrating on every race. So far the preparation went well and that's why I'm confident.
Your goals for Val Gardena/Gröden?
Honestly, I want to win the super-G! The Saslong is one of my favorite tracks; it is fast and you spend a lot of racing time in the air. Val Gardena/Gröden also means that we are returning home to Europe and that Christmas is just around the corner. I like to remember the mountains and the landscape of the Dolomites. In addition, there are a lot of little things in my head, like the hotel or the food - both always wonderful in the valley! But the most important thing is the feeling of being on the racetrack in Val Gardena/Gröden and the special moments that belong to it. By this and above all, I mean the memory of my great success in the 2015 super-G.
How would you coxmpare skiing in Scandinavia and the Dolomites?
The Dolomites and many other ski resorts in Central Europe offer many more possibilities. In Norway, they are limited. Scandinavia has much wetter snow because the climate is also much wetter. In addition, the days are shorter and the temperatures lower. The conditions are different and you have to adapt.
Are you looking at the overall World Cup?
Yes, the overall title has been my major goal since I joined the World Cup. In a few years, I want to fight for it all the way to the end. But I'm not ready yet! I want to keep working on myself and concentrate race by race. I think that the best years are still ahead of me. I am 26 and still see myself in a learning stage. Here and there, I can already ride right up front, but I still have to gain experience. A downhill racer experiences his golden years in his thirties.