We had a chance to have a quick chat with André Myhrer, who kicked off the year by winning the parallel event in Oslo on New Year’s Day. Thanks to some equipment fine-tuning and a healthy level of self-confidence, he – just like us – is hoping for a repeat of his Oslo success at Hammarbybacken in two weeks.

– Obviously the competition in Oslo did wonders to my self-confidence; it was about time for me to win a parallel event!

– We made a small adjustment to my ski boots just before the race that worked so well that I now plan to do the same in Stockholm. Actually, we only wanted to test that idea but it turned out fantastic, said André and continued:

– There is some very aggressive skiing in a parallel slalom, everything happens at a fast pace and I think that small change was key to my success in Oslo. When your equipment is working well, it is much easier to go full speed. It is a great feeling when everything is just right and all the forces are moving in the right direction; that’s when it is easy to just charge!

If you have seen André ski parallel slalom you may have also noticed that he uses a special technique in the lower section of the course where he boxes out the gates in order to be able to ski a straighter line.

How does that work actually?

– My plan for Oslo was to ski the first 13 gates normally and then box my way down to gate number 19. I typically know after the inspection how to do it in competition. Sometimes you just end up somewhere in the race and that’s where it is a great tool to pull out. If I need to ski straighter it makes sense to box the gates away and that also helps to gain time if you are losing.

Hammarbybacken is a very small hill compared to those that you race on in Central Europe, does it remain you of the hills that you trained on when you were little?

– I was at home in Hassela over Christmas and trained with the club one day which reminded me of all the times that I have skied on my home hill and those countless hours we trained there late at night.

– Coming from a small town and learning to ski and race on a small hill with the goal of racing the World Cup is something that I have been reflecting on more and more over the years as I age and gain more World Cup experience.

What’s the plan before Stockholm?

– January is a busy slalom month with many classic venues such as Wengen and Kitzbühel, and the Tuesday before Hammarby there is a night event in Schladming. We will then stay in Austria to train at Reiteralm for the rest of the week. It will probably be a mix of slalom, giant slalom and parallel slalom. I will race the giant slalom in Garmisch the Sunday before and will then travel to Stockholm.

The City Event at Hammarbybacken on 30 January is the last competition before the Olympic Winter Games, what are you hoping to take away from Stockholm?

– I am very much looking forward to Stockholm and am really hoping to have a revenge for missing it last year due to injury. For me it is great to have another parallel event just before the Games to get that massive boost of adrenaline that only a good home crowd can give you!

For more information and to buy tickets for the City Event at Hammarbybacken, visit www.worldcupstockholm.com