Frida Hansdotter, Ski Team Sweden Alpine. Photo: Klas Rockberg
Tommy Eliasson Winter, a native of Boden, former ski cross athlete and team captain, has led the Ski Team Sweden Alpine since the 2015/2016 season. We caught up with him in the middle of a key preparation period to get a brief status update before the World Championships season.
How’s the summer been with the team?
It’s been excellent. Our activities have continued almost without break all summer long and all around the world. We’ve also had a lot going on at our headquarters in Åre where we had five weeks of training with most all training groups at the Alpine Center in the National Arena.
What’s going on right now?
The men’s World Cup team is training on snow in New Zealand, the speed team are in Chile and the ladies’ tech group are in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. New Zeeland is apparently fantastic this year, based on the reports I’ve received. Those in Chile only arrived five days ago and will stay for a month so they have spent the first few days to acclimatize themselves.
Is everyone fit and healthy?
Yes, knock on wood. It is great to have a healthy team right now. It’s looking promising for us. Kristoffer Jakobsen is the only exception. He’s had problems with his foot since last winter and had to undergo an operation but his recovery is advancing according to the plan. He is in rehab and it’s looking good.
What are your expectations for the team as a whole before the season start?
It depends. We have racers on various levels and it will be exciting to see how things pan out. The ladies’ and men’s speed teams will race both the European Cup and World Cup which will be great. If the season gets off to a good start, you have a moment of peace so we’d like to have a few good races before the World Championships which are the season’s main goal. Sölden is not so decisive but the races at Levi are important to get started. If we get a couple of successes in the beginning, I believe we will have a good run for the season.
Are there any young racers that we should pay special attention to?
Last year’s shooting star Estelle Alphand is definitely someone to keep an eye on. She will take another step forward this year. We think she is ready to do really well this season.
How’s the Team 2019 going before the World Championships?
I am happy to say they have delivered as expected, Lin Ivarsson and Lisa Hörnblad are good examples with podium results last year. It’s all about having set the expectation that we can be successful on the speed side as well and we now have teams of four for ladies and men. For the first time, we will have a dedicated speed team racing both the European Cup and World Cups. Looking individually, we have Helena (Rapaport), Lisa and Lin all able to score World Cup points and Felix (Monsén), who finished 16that the World Championships in St Moritz in 2017. We don’t have a Vonn or a Svindal yet but it takes time to get there and we are on the right way.
Will some of the Team 2019 racers be competing at Åre 2019?
I think that all will be racing there. And there are others too. Olle Sundin is a talented young racer who is going to have a great season with many personal successes.
How will Team Sweden do at the World Champs?
Our greatest chances are in the tech events. I think we can be competitive in all of them as we have more than one racer for each. It is just a question of the shape of the day. I believe that most everyone was inspired by our Olympic successes.
What are you personally looking forward to most at Åre 2019?
I am looking forward to a two-week celebration of skiing! In my opinion the most important thing is that all who follow skiing and are interested in ski racing participate in the event and personally experience the atmosphere of the Championships. That’s what’s unique. I am looking forward to being there myself. In 2007, my daughter had just been born so I watched Maria Pietilä Holmner win her medal at the maternity ward.