“It’s all about expectations” > Audi Sport > Audi New Zealand

“It’s all about expectations”

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde is considered to be one of the best and fastest skiers in the world. In this interview, he talks about the sport, constant progress, his collaboration with Audi, and – almost by chance – also about his first own car.

Copy: Patrick Morda – Photo: Martin Kess, Andre Schönherr – Film: Ricarda Brieden, Florian
Lesezeit: 5 min

Portrait shot of Aleksander Aamodt Kilde.Portrait shot of Aleksander Aamodt Kilde.

For Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, every fraction of a second counts. That’s how it is at the top of ski racing. Both in a positive and negative way. On January 13, the two-time Olympic medallist had a severe fall during the downhill race in Wengen, Switzerland. He was lucky in his misfortune, even if the images suggested otherwise at first. He deals with it openly, quickly posting photos from the hospital. How long will it take until he can ski or even race again? That’s still uncertain. And yet, his gaze is forward-looking. In failure, the Norwegian says, now discharged from the hospital, there are opportunities to improve.


Aleksander, it’s the typical concluding question but given the circumstances, it is best to start with it: What does progress mean to you?
To me progress is something that I strive for every day. It’s a desire to improve, both personally and professionally. So, usually my response is that my goal is always trying to be the best version of myself. Right now, of course, my main focus is to get out of the wheelchair, which is a huge step that I know I will achieve, although I don’t know when yet.

At the top of the skiing world, you are less accustomed to big steps than tiny details, the effects of which are often felt more than seen.
After my previous injury a couple of years ago, I experienced huge steps of progress that I hadn’t felt since I was younger, which I really appreciated. And right now, I am looking forward to experiencing that again. But yes, at such a high level of skiing, the details are rather tiny. On days when I make significant progress, it’s not about shaving off seconds but rather fractions of a second. However, there are also days that don’t go that well. But even on those days, when you lose control, you also learn.

One could assume, when going downhill with a mere 100 km/h, it’s all about control. How do you stay in control at all?
You need to repeat the routines over and over again. You need to be confident, comfortable with the speed, your equipment and the setup. It’s all about expectations and mental preparation. You expect how fast you will go, how far the jumps will be, and when it is like you expected it to be, then you know exactly how to control it.

How much time do you spend perfecting this mental preparation under normal circumstances?
During a typical training day, let’s say I do seven runs, each lasting about one minute. So out of the total time, only seven minutes are spent actually doing what I’m supposed to be good at, and the rest is preparation. And as with every good thing in the world, it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something I’ve been working on for years, on my own, with my equipment supplier Atomic, and with Thomas of course.


In addition to becoming a two-time Olympic medallist at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, Aleksander Kilde has won several titles, including the legendary Streif downhill race twice.

When I make significant progress, it’s not about shaving off seconds but rather fractions of a second.

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde

Thomas Bürgler, could he be compared to a racing engineer if you were in motorsports?
Yes, that comes very close. It’s a very trusting relationship. Thomas knows everything about skiing and has an unbelievable resume. He worked with legends like Hermann Maier or Bode Miller. He’s been with Atomic for many years, and him being working with me every day in the last four years is hugely important for me to win races.

What are you working on together?
One example of what we focus on is the materials we use. A ski consists of different layers made of different materials. Variations in materials can cause the ski to behave differently under specific conditions. This gives you a unique feeling while skiing, which can allow you to be even faster. So, it’s all about knowledge, experience, passion, and enthusiasm. By the way, I feel the same when I get into my Audi. 

You have been an Audi brand ambassador for about a year now. Why is Audi a perfect fit for you?
Audi has been involved in skiing for many years and also sponsors the Norwegian Ski Federation. I feel that we have a good connection. We also share a lot of common values, like striving for progress, which is really important to me. I also admire Audi’s design approach. An Audi always looks fast yet elegant. My first car ever was actually an Audi A3. I had it for a long time, and I just loved it.

For a joint film production, you were on the road in the Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron. What is your view on e-mobility?
I had the chance to try out both the Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron and the Audi RS e-tron GT. However, I actually owned an Audi e-tron for a couple of years myself, so I know what an electric Audi feels like. Driving the SQ8 Sportback e-tron gave me that good feeling I know from its predecessor: everything responds exactly the way I want. Every action I take, every turn I make, the response is immediate. Moreover, I feel super safe driving it because I can control it so well. As I mentioned earlier, as a skier, I like the feeling of being in control of what I’m doing.

E-mobility and cold winter conditions are not contradictory for Kilde, a native of Norway.

AUdi

As a Norwegian living in Innsbruck, you will obviously use e-mobility in winter conditions as well. Is it a challenge?
In Norway, we don’t really have discussions about the charging infrastructure because it works particularly well. Living in Austria, I’ve been driving a plug-in hybrid until now, which has been working really well so far. However, I will switch to a fully electric model in the foreseeable future, and I’m really looking forward to it. Of course, I need to be places, especially during winter when it’s colder and more challenging, especially in the mountains. But I believe that this is no longer such a big challenge and I rely on my experiences from my time with the Audi e-tron.

Which are?
One example would be, that I found myself driving more efficiently and more relaxed in an e-vehicle. And I’m really looking forward to that.

Aleksander, to wrap it up: when gazing into the not-so-immediate future, where do you envision progress taking you then?
Of course, the most important thing now is to get healthy. But when I look ahead, I want to win races I want to win races. It’s as simple as that. That’s what I bear in mind every time I train, enhance the equipment, or concentrate on details that make me better. That’s what I did and will work for every day.


AUdi
Rear view of the Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron.

Every turn you make

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde is impressed by the sovereignty and performance of the Audi SQ8 Sportback e-tron. The all-electric SUV takes driving dynamics to a new level thanks to quattro drive and torque vectoring, among other things, and impresses both on and off the road. Learn more about a vehicle that not only reflects its advanced technology on the outside, but also impresses with a large battery capacity and high charging performance.