Nordica Ambassador Profile: Kjetil Andre Aamodt

Kjetil Andre Aamodt is, unquestionably, Nordica’s most distinguished Ambassador and, the oldest having faithfully raced and skied on Nordica gear since 1989.

 

Born in Oslo, he was the first Norwegian Alpine skier to take home an Olympic medal since the legendary Stein Ericksen won Gold in GS at the 1952 Oslo Winter Olympic Games.

Kjetil Andre Aamodt would go on to become the most decorated Alpine skier in Olympic history, winning a staggering eight medals, including:   

 4 Gold   (Super G, Albertville, 1992; Super G & Alpine Combined, Salt Lake City, 2002; Super G, Torino, Italy, 2006);

 2 Silver   (Alpine Combined & Downhill, Lillehammer, Norway, 1994); and 

 2 Bronze   (GS, Albertville, 1992, Super G, Lillehammer, Norway, 1994). 

Over the course of his career, he garnered 20 medals in total, plus a World Cup championship.

In the process, Aamodt, along with his teammates Oleh Kristian Furuseth, Finn Christian Jagge, Atle Skårdal, and Lasse Kjus, sowed the seeds that have made mighty Nordic Norway the Alpine ski racing powerhouse that it is today.  

Not bad for a kid who, in his own words, “wanted to play soccer more than go skiing. But,” says Kjetil, “I guess my father wanted me to be a skier, so we ended up skiing a lot as a family. After that, it came naturally when my father started coaching in the local ski club.”

Like most Norwegian schoolchildren who grew up in a Nordic skiing behemoth, Kjetil skied cross-country. He even raced a bit when he was seven or eight years old. He also played ice hockey and soccer before he found his Alpine muse.

Kjetil cites his father and the legendary Ingemar Stenmark as his childhood skiing heroes. It was his father who inspired and first taught him to ski and then to race Alpine. And it was the incomparable Swede who inspired him to ski and win like nobody else.

Of course, it takes more than inspiration and training to compete, much less win, at the highest echelon. It also takes teamwork, even in a sport as highly individualistic as skiing. Says Kjetil, “We had four unwritten rules: one, be a good role model by getting up in the morning and working hard; two, be honest and never talk behind each other’s back; three, be fair and share everything you do. Don’t be jealous; four, respect each other.”

Says Kjetil, “I was trying to lead by simply working harder (than anyone else – sic) both off and on the piste.” That total team effort not only made Norway an Alpine dynamo back then, it also gave rise to an exemplary skiing culture that’s defined by hard work, fair play and stunning success of Aksel-Lund Svindal, Kjetil Jansrud, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and Henrik Kristoffersen to name but a few.

Since leaving the World Cup circuit, Kjetil has hosted an annual ski race for 120 schoolchildren with whom he can share his great love of skiing, and, especially, his wealth of knowledge.

 

Says Kjetil, “everything is very serious when you’re young and you want to succeed. I wish I had a better perspective when I was racing. It would have made things easier. I was too nervous, all the time.” Perhaps that explains his personal motto, which is simply: “Be nice.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the course of his career, he garnered 20 medals in total, plus a World Cup championship.

Today, Kjetil Andre Aamodt looks back at his racing career with fondness. He truly loved, “the feeling of racing down the mountain at 110 kilometers per hour; the adrenaline rush; the fear, the camaraderie and the excitement of mastering the mountain.” He says the two most exciting things he’s ever done were, “flying an F16 fighter jet, and racing Kitzbuhel.” Though not necessarily in that order. But what he doesn’t miss is, “sitting on a chairlift in minus twenty degree below zero weather.”

When I asked him what he misses most about ski racing, he smiles. “Crossing the finish line with the feeling that I’ve mastered the mountain.”

Kjetil Andre Aamodt has been mastering mountains with Nordica since 1989. “They had the old Grand Prix ski boot,” he says, “and Furuseth used them with great success.” So, Kjetil followed suit. Today, he prefers the Nordica Speedmachine. He says, “it’s the perfect fit for my wide foot, and it works well in all terrain.” His favourite ski is a, “165 cm Nordica WC slalom. Maybe with some really high plates,” he muses. “Fun but dangerous.” As a Nordica Ambassador, Kjetil especially enjoys, “skiing with the product and meeting good people.”

Since becoming a proud father, Kjetil’s outlook has also changed. For one thing, he no longer skis 180+ days a year. He’s perfectly content skiing just 20. Given his druthers, he’d like to spend most of them with his kids, ideally in Colorado, where the snow is not only light and abundant, but perhaps more importantly, it’s also sunny and warm.

Leave it to a consummate gentleman and Norwegian skiing ace to give us such incredibly wise and succinct words to live by… and ski by. 

 

Dave Fonda
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