L Alpine skiing

What's wrong with Henrik Kristoffersen? © APA / EXPA/JOHANN GRODER

The great mystery of Henrik Kristoffersen

Marco Odermatt dominates the World Cup and it seems only a matter of time before the Swiss secures the overall World Cup. Henrik Kristoffersen is actually one of the opponents, but the Norwegian has been a mystery so far.

What's wrong with Henrik Kristoffersen? This is what some ski fans have been asking themselves recently. The Norwegian, who has been a constant guest on the podium throughout his career, is still chasing a top-three place this year. So far, the impulsive Scandinavian hasn't managed to get more than 3th place. That's clearly not enough for an athlete of his brand.

“We looked really miserable in Alta Badia,” were the clear words of Jörg Roten, Kristoffersen’s Swiss coach. In the two giant slalom races on the Gran Risa, the Norwegian was more than two and three seconds behind winner Marco Odermatt. That's surprising, after all Kristoffersen shone last season with eleven podium places and the world championship title in slalom.

The shoe pinches in the truest sense of the word

So what is behind the crisis? Apparently a material problem. In the spring of 2022, Kristoffersen sensationally switched to Marcel Hirscher's Van Deer brand, and everything worked out brilliantly in the first year. Last summer, however, there was a serious change. “Last winter, Henrik rode with the Lange shoe that he was used to from his Rossignol days. After Lange ended the collaboration last spring, probably due to pressure from Rossignol, Van Deer built his own shoe, which we received shortly before the start of the World Cup in Sölden. So far we haven’t found the right match between boots and skis,” explains coach Roten to the Swiss View.

Kristoffersen wants to get back to his old strength. © AFP / TIZIANA FABI

So the Van Deer house worked meticulously, but things aren't quite that simple. “The danger is that we lose track of things in this coordination process. If something doesn’t fit, we don’t know exactly whether the problem is the ski, the boot or the athlete,” says Roten, who is nevertheless confident. “Henrik has skied better in the last few days than in Alta Badia,” emphasizes the trainer. How well Kristoffersen was really able to solve the problem will be shown in Adelboden. There will be a giant slalom there on Saturday and a slalom on Sunday.

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