Whether you’re watching Kristofer Turdell live from a crisp, snowy mountainside or online in the comfort of a warm cozy sofa, one thing is always the same; a jaw-dropping sense of awe.
There is a myriad of skiing talent around the globe, some focused on competitions, others on capturing adventures, all of whom serve up the ski community with daily doses of inspiration, be it through films, photographs or social media. In such a world you would think it’s hard to be unique, to stand out.
That is until you see Kristofer Turdell ski.
Being able to ski at warp speed down steep faces is not necessarily new, neither is getting airborne over monstrous cliffs. But when you combine all of those things with a fluid, effortless style, fully controlled as if part of a computer game, you realize you are witnessing something very special.
Typical of Swedes from the far north, however, it’s not something you would ever hear Kristofer talk about, instead, his relaxed manner is most often focused on the mountains themselves.
“The first time I traveled to the Alps was on a night bus and whilst going through Germany I woke up to the mountains for the first time. It just left me speechless, I could not take my eyes off them. Moments like that make it easy to understand why being in the mountains is so special.”
And it’s probably why hanging around doing the ‘ski bum’ thing just a little bit longer than most of his friends was a natural consequence. As was the moment his friends, who clearly saw something special, signed him up for his first freeride competition in 2011, the Scandinavian big mountain championship. With no idea of what was to come and even less expectation for the three days of skiing, he ended up on the podium right beside one of his idols and legends of the sport, Henrik Windstedt.
From that day forth a path was set, going from near obscurity to many competition wins and ending up on the podium of the Freeride World Tour, taking the overall title in 2018 and the runners up spot in 2019. Having the talent and ability is a key factor in success, but he is quick to point out that talent will only take you so far, it also needs a direction.
“Winning is a great feeling, but what really stands out for me is the ability to keep learning and move forward in a direction or path that I want to go. Being a professional skier is not just about the runs you see on camera, it’s a lot more, such as setting up your own business or understanding how to create your own life and plan. If I feel that I am moving in the right direction in all aspects of my life then everything else falls into place, including the competition results.”
Hailing from a town north of the Arctic Circle, the quote “like a mountain birch: easy to bend, but impossible to break” naturally follows Kristofer around, especially as it instantly captures his style of skiing and relationship to nature. But another of his favorite quotes, from Swedish Skier, Anders ‘Osten’ Nordin, “ski fast, take chances!” distills the essence of his place on the mountain, in particular his belief that his skiing should be what does the talking.
Those of us lucky enough to have seen it will know that it’s way more than just a quote. Seeing really is believing.