The Swede talks about what it takes to become one of the world’s best backcountry skiers – and how you can up your slope game
Slope tips from the top freeskier
How do you train off the mountain?
By doing a lot of endurance, strength and agility work. Most of the exercises replicate skiing movements and positions. I work a lot with weight vests doing things like squats and lunges. I also love trail running – living in the mountains means I have plenty of beautiful trails to explore.
What should once-ayear skiers do to improve their holiday skiing??
Most casual skiers and snowboarders never warm up, which is terrible because there’s a good chance they’ll pull or tear a muscle. You’d never do high-intensity intervals without a warm-up, and it’s the same thing. Knees and back are the areas at most risk of injury, so focus on those. Bodyweight squats, jumps and core rotations at the top of your first run will help reduce your chances of injury.
The mountains are full of dangers – what’s the scariest situation you’ve been in?
I once got dropped off by helicopter to do a run and it couldn’t land, so I had to jump out. I nearly ended up tumbling straight off the side of the ridge – which would have meant a 50m drop onto rocks.
You do some terrifying stuff on purpose too – how do you stop fear from overwhelming you?
When I’m at the start gate of a competition and I’m super-nervous, I try to smile and remember I’m doing this because I love it. But when it comes to risks in the mountains it’s about trusting your instincts and evaluating the environment. The trick is to focus on what you want to happen, not the worst thing that could happen.
What’s the one thing everyone should try on a skiing holiday?
Something out of your comfort zone, whether that’s hitting a jump or hiring a mountain guide to take you offpiste. You’ll learn that you can do more than you think. It sounds cheesy but it’s something I rediscover every time I ride a super-challenging face.