December 7, 2022

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Frank Kristofferson: - Sometimes life is brutal

Frank Kristofferson: – Sometimes life is brutal

Watch the start of the season in Sölden on TV 2 Direkte and TV 2 play Saturday and Sunday from 09.45.

It’s 06:35.

At the heart of the Austrian Pietstal stands Henrik Kristoffersen in a dark training hat and suit. extends.

It’s a new day. It was a quieter day than any other day so far.

When the best Norwegian slalom skater ever stands on the starting line for the World Cup opening in nearby Sölden Valley, the recharge is one week of skiing in Europe, three weeks in Argentina, before the last few weeks at the Vier Jahrezeiten in Pitztal.

– I’ve been here a few times and enjoy myself, says the Alpine group on TV 2.

Focus: Henrik Kristoffersen is ready for the start of the season. Photo: Fredrik Fjellvang/TV 2

Abi Lars and the rest of the team have been at the front of the queue since 05.55. The first train to reach the Pitztal glacier, which houses the highest ski resort in Austria (3,440 meters), leaves at 07.

It’s a bit psychological to stand there for a long time, but it’s important to think about the things you can do about it. If you are the first, then no one can come before you in anything.

Kristofferson’s start to the day in the sprint looked like this:

  • Alarm 05.30
  • Leave the hotel at 06.30
  • Train up to the Pitztal Glacier 07.00

– Today you got me ready while we were standing in line for the train. Then it’s time to get up, get dressed, and ride the sleigh. Lead the courses you must, must, must, want – and need, before you get down.

Fast: The Vier Jahrezeiten is the hotel that Kristoffersen's team swear by when they train in Pitztal.  Photo: Fredrik Fjellvang/TV 2

Fast: The Vier Jahrezeiten is the hotel that Kristoffersen’s team swear by when they train in Pitztal. Photo: Fredrik Fjellvang/TV 2

– Moreover, I eat lunch and relax, before there are some exercises, recovery and treatment. Video analysis and dinner. So go to bed. Then I do it again. In the meantime, I’m playing a bit of “Clash of Clans,” Kristofferson says and laughs.

The mood is good. Pre-season feeling is good.

– Sölden is always a little special because it’s the first race. There are quite a few sponsors and media, but I try to avoid as much as possible. I want as much profit as possible to do my job – speed skating.

Preparation: Kristofferson feels satisfied before the opening match of the World Cup in Sölden.  Photo: Fredrik Fjellvang/TV 2

Preparation: Kristofferson feels satisfied before the opening match of the World Cup in Sölden. Photo: Fredrik Fjellvang/TV 2

He definitely thinks it’s okay to stand up when needed. Kristofferson has long recognized the importance of this.

Next season will be special. Something completely new. Because after a full 18 years with Rossignol as a ski equipment supplier, he’s changed brands to former arch rival and good friend of newly started Marcel Hirscher Van Deer.

NEW SKI: Van Deer skates hand-polished in Annaberg, Austria.  Photo: Fredrik Fjellvang/TV 2

NEW SKI: Van Deer skates hand-polished in Annaberg, Austria. Photo: Fredrik Fjellvang/TV 2

Rossignol sleds followed him throughout his career.

It all started with someone who later became an important and supportive part until his sudden death in December of last year.

Herve Lastinet.

Father Lars had met the Scout through an acquaintance when Henrik was thirteen years old.

It was the beginning of a lifelong friendship.

– When I was 13-14 years old, I got him some speed skates.

Potter: Henrik flanked by Hervé (TV) and Abi Lars.  Photo: private

Potter: Henrik flanked by Hervé (TV) and Abi Lars. Photo: private

It was a pair of Super G skis that Lindsey Vonn herself had used in the past.

– I also remember it was in Geilo when I ran some of my first FIS races.

It was in the middle of the financial crisis and budget cuts were spread on the equipment front in the alpine environment. The mountaineers of the first year of the FIS did not get sleds from Rossignol – except for Henrik.

Father: Lars Kristofferson met Hervé when Henrik was 13 years old.  Photo: Fredrik Fjellvang/TV 2

Father: Lars Kristofferson met Hervé when Henrik was 13 years old. Photo: Fredrik Fjellvang/TV 2

– Assist. My family wasn’t poor, but we didn’t have much money either, so to speak. Sometimes, we struggled to make things work.

In recent years, Herve has been with every September when Kristofferson’s team resided at Saas-Fe. This was not the case this year.

Watch the TV 2 report on Team Kristoffersen from 2019 in the video window below:

– There was a bond that stayed with me until December of last year.

Kristofferson was in the car on his way to Val d’Isere when he received the letter.

– Fetter spoke to someone on the phone. Then he told me after that.. How will the reaction be? Everyone reacts in their own way, but I was probably mostly silent.

That was the day before the race.

– You are in the bubble, and you have to try to focus on skating. Because you can’t do anything about it either, says Kristofferson, who drove with a black mourning squad during the race in Val d’Isere.

Tribute: Kristofferson poses with a black mourning bandage on his left arm during the race in Val d'Isere.  Photo: JEFF PACHOUD

Tribute: Kristofferson poses with a black mourning bandage on his left arm during the race in Val d’Isere. Photo: JEFF PACHOUD

– He’s brutal, but he’s been brutal sometimes this winter. Hervé died two days before the death of Val d’Isère. I received the letter the next day. Two days after Schladming, the grandmother passed away.

He was close to his grandmother and had nothing but good memories with her. She lived next to the family. She often helped her grandson with his homework after school. The last time Kristofferson saw Christmas was in 2021.

When the Olympics came, Kristofferson lost two important supporters in his career and life.

Olympic Games: Henrik Kristoffersen during the Olympic Games in China.  Photo: Maxim Thor/BILDBYRÅN

Olympic Games: Henrik Kristoffersen during the Olympic Games in China. Photo: Maxim Thor/BILDBYRÅN

— but I’m not the type to say this to people before the Olympics to get sympathy, he says, and he points out that he doesn’t need sympathy now either.

Sometimes life is tough. This is something everyone goes through, so it’s not my fault any more than anyone else.

– How did it feel to be in such a situation where you have to give birth after losing two who were so close?

– I’m very good at blocking things. Vattern has always said that there is no point in feeling sorry for yourself. It doesn’t make anything better. The only thing that helps is picking up the challenge and fighting.

And he would continue to fight, though he admitted that the winter was harsh. Above the Pitztal glacier, the final preparations were made in a season in which “anything is possible” is believed.

 Photo: Fredrik Fjellvang/TV 2

Photo: Fredrik Fjellvang/TV 2

– The machine is working, the body is working, the head is working, and the technique is starting to look very good. The goal is to win as many World Cup races as possible.

As of today, he has 28 of them.

It’s been a few years since the young, outspoken shooting star debuted during the Alpine World Championships in Levi’s.

Kristofferson notes that he is getting old.

I may think of the things I say more than I did before, and I may say less than I did before. There are probably still a few things I would like to say that I no longer say.

– What or what?

– We can take it when the camera is off, he says and laughs.

Optimist: Kristofferson during the press conference in Sölden on Thursday.  Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB

Optimist: Kristofferson during the press conference in Sölden on Thursday. Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB

He always spoke straight from the heart. He said what he meant.

– But in recent years, I haven’t said much brutality or things that are completely out of place. I’m getting more round the edges with the media, and I may not say everything anymore. I still tell the truth, but I don’t have to tell everything – every time.

He led his first World Cup race when he was 17 years old. He won his first race when he was nineteen years old.

– I trained to ski. Not trained to deal with media and sponsors. I say things straight off my chest, but I’m also 100 percent honest. Always. I think it is important to have feelings in sports.

– That’s what a lot of people complained about when I was younger. It’s a bit uncommon to be rude and brutal. But then people can ask themselves the following question: What did they themselves do when they were nineteen and twenty? It’s not certain that everything she did at the time was something she wanted the public to know. I think people should be more careful what they say, says Kristofferson.

Ready: Henrik Kristoffersen is looking forward to the new season.  On Sunday it collapsed.  Photo: Patrick Steiner/BILDBYRÅN

Ready: Henrik Kristoffersen is looking forward to the new season. On Sunday it collapsed. Photo: Patrick Steiner/BILDBYRÅN

At the same time, he adds, he hasn’t let himself get so angry over the years.

I really appreciate positive and supportive people. People may not believe it, because often I work a lot and deal with it a lot. It’s a bubble, but I really appreciate everyone being nice, following along, and appreciating the entertainment I hope to provide.

On Sunday, he threw himself off Sölden’s steep suspension. For the first time without a Rossignol skate on my feet.

It’s time for change, and sometimes you need it. You see footballers change clubs when they need the same, and now it’s time for me.

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