Kristofer Turdell is world champion: the anima finds its animal

Kristofer took home the Freeride World Tour prior to the final in Verbier and has also hurt himself just for good measure. We would need to wait for his third season on the FWT circuit before seeing him win the world championship. He was eager to put things beyond doubt in the penultimate contest in Fieberbrunn, Austria and his rivals were too inconsistent over the course of the season to challenge him. Without too much favouritism for a guy using the animas to dominate the championship, I should mention that he could have won last year’s title if he hadn’t had to make a little one-ski recovery after jumping a big rock in his line. This year he ended the debate even before the final in Verbier, putting his win beyond question.
Unfortunately he wasn’t able to celebrate his title with a run on the Bec des Rosses, the Swedish animal injured his knee while skiing for fun.
But let’s stop the advert and interview the man who was crowned as he limped around in Verbier.

Black crows: What happened to your knee ?

Kristofer: I broke my tibia plateau at the most unexpected time, cruising mellow slopes with friends. I guess it happens when you least expect it.

Black crows: Your 3rd place last year, if we analyze Verbier 2017, you could have won the title if it wasn’t for that little loss of balance on the big cliff, did you feel a bit frustrated from this small error?

Kristofer: Yes, of course it was frustrating, but the margins are so small between all the riders so every little mistake makes a huge difference. But I really wanted to do a full run in Verbier since the year before got canceled but now it has to wait another year.

Black crows: How did you prepare for and feel about this season?

Kristofer: Gaining experience from the season before helps and otherwise I’m just trying to do a lot of other sports through the year. You have to know your limits and try to push it as close to that without making any mistakes. Consistency is they key for a good overall ranking.

Black crows: Could you give us a brief summary of each of the 4 stops from this season?

Japan: Canceled due to weather, lots of different snow and low stability together with bad visibility so we moved it to Canada where they were able to run two comps in two days.

Japan stop Canada: I felt a bit stressed about this once since we had the Canada contest the day before and to finish that one, scope the next one and get ready was hard. Snow was really good and weather was nice and happy with 3rd place.

Canada Stop: Visibility came and went, hard to face check and with a small face it was hard to find a line that appealed to me. After the contest, I did not feel content and maybe it was just not my kind of face or maybe it was just my body wasn’t ready for contest 🙂 Still had a great time in Canada and got a lot of good riding and rode my first real pillow lines. Overall super happy with the Canada trip.

Andorra: Went to Andorra almost 10 days before the contest, it’s a good place to be and we had a lot of fun riding. Also it’s nice not to travel too much between the stops. The contest was on hold until almost the last day due to weather and the tragic accident of one of our guides. Once the contest was on, the weather was nice and all of us had a long time to figure out the lines and study the face. I felt confident and had something good in mind, just had to focus and put it down, and it went well:) Ended up being one of the best competition runs I ever had.

Fieberbrunn: Right after prize giving in Andorra we knew we had to get to Fieberbrunn asap and we drove straight to Chamonix to spend the night and then straight to Fieberbrunn. Total of 16h driving and then we had a face check and ran the comp the next morning. Kind of stressful and definitely helped with experience and knowing your routine to run in back-to-back comps. It was a bit of a tricky run because on the way down you would go from powder to ice, to crust to slush. Happy with the contest and during the prize giving ceremony I got a surprise from the organization that I already claimed the world title. Amazing feeling.

Marcus Olsson / Red Bull Content Pool

Black crows: In Andorra, there was this tragic accident before the competition (death of the mountain guide Borja Ayed Capilla in an avalanche two days prior to competition while inspecting the face). How was it handled by the organizers and the riders?

Kristofer: Everyone was in shock when this happened and and it is super tragic that there are risks that we can not calculate to 100% even if we try as much as possible, both organization and riders. The accident was handled very professionally and we got to have a very nice and peaceful ceremony after the contest with all the riders, organization and family and friends and all of the riders were competing with a black ribbon around our arm as a tribute to Borja.

Black crows: How did you cope with this tragedy during the race ?

Kristofer: Of course it’s something you carry with you and have in mind, you are in a melancholy state. But in the end we all love the mountains and it gives us both downsides and a lot of happiness and, for me personally, I think it helps more to be out there and process the things that happen in life.

Black crows: It’s your second victory in Andorra and you also placed second last year, how do you explain such domination on this particular stage?

Kristofer: I like Andorra, the playground, people and everything around it, I guess it reflects in the riding when you can have good preparation, with warm up runs before the comp.

Marcus Olsson / Red Bull Content Pool

Black crows: So, when Markus lost control after his first big jump, you didn’t realize you couldn’t be caught?

Kristofer: I knew I was sitting in a good position but I had no clue it would be done already in Fieberbrunn, so it was great surprise. It’s hard to judge the other runs since you have not seen the one you did and you don’t know how that looks like and it feels like everyone coming down is putting down great runs.

Black crows: After winning the FWQ and the FWT, how do you foresee the future?

Kristofer: I like competing, it helps me to push myself and get to new levels. I really enjoy to see the world and meet good people, and want to keep on doing that. At the moment I want to focus on getting back from my injury and then back to the mountains. Once I get to that point we’ll take it from there.

Black crows: If I remember correctly, it was a friend who signed you up for your first competition? And now, this guy, if he is still your friend, is probably proud of his joke?

Kristofer: That is true, it was two of my friends Alex and Erik who signed me up at the Scandinavian Big Mountain Championships in Riksgränsen. It was super fun and I was nervous seeing everyone in next years’ outfits and I borrowed my dads jacket and I ended up 2nd. We are still friends and a good story, and I have a lot to thank them that I’m here today.

Jan Bonetti

Black crows: How does it feel to be World Champion, is it a dream come true or you just did the job?

Kristofer: Ever since I put down a good result in my first FWT event I’ve felt that with more training and experience it should be possible to aim for the top spot in the ranking. So having that dream and goal in my head for the last three years it’s such a good feeling to achieve it.

Black crows: What’s next for this Spring and Summer, recovery and after? Will you work in mining or offshore again?

Kristofer: Yep, right now in Verbier to watch all the other riders ride the Bec. Hanging out here is always nice but of course I’m bummed that I can’t go up skiing every day. Focusing on my broken leg to recover as fast as possible. Not made a lot of summer plans yet but I bought a new mountain bike! I have some studying I really should do, read books, do summer stuff and maybe find some skiing. Maybe I end up doing some extra work as well 🙂

Black crows: Will you stay with black crows, the raptors must be gliding…

Kristofer: Haha can I stay? You’re the inside man here! Usually I go by the motto “never change a winning strategy”. Someone said there are two rules for success, one – don’t tell anyone everything you know…

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