Downsides and happy times
There has to be a special relationship between a skier and the mountains. The place where you experience life between summit and valley, with all its emotional facets. Highs and lows. Joy and sorrow. It’s no secret that the mountains don’t always bring happiness – not even for skiing legend Aksel Lund Svindal. Knowing your limits and overcoming these has its price. Falls, injuries, disappointments. These are the downsides of the sport, and it’s these painful times that perhaps characterise the relationship with the mountains.
The thing is: you’re afraid. It’s not about not being afraid, but about overcoming this fear. And the strength to do this comes from somewhere inside you. Actually, it comes from deep within your heart
Aksel has spent half his life in the mountains, evolving into the world-class skier that he is today. An Olympic champion, world champion, overall World Cup champion and multiple Norwegian champion. He has beaten tenacious opponents, stood on the podium and been a celebrated hero, thanks to daring descents around the world. Raising his arms in the air after a race and releasing his emotions: these are the best moments. What makes this so special? Once he’s sped off into the valley, he is pushing the limits, metre by metre, navigating gate after gate, following the ideal line and making his tuck position so tight it’s almost impossible for the wind to restrain him – he races across the finish line; he’s completely unaware of the result. He anxiously looks at the scoreboard, overcome by emotion: victory or defeat? The decisive moment when the result is revealed is probably one of the most candid that skiing has to offer. "You cannot pretend," says Aksel. It’s about being yourself. Being genuine helps you progress: in sport, as well as in life.
Making the national team is perhaps the greatest honour an athlete can ever experience in their career – for Aksel at least. Suddenly, he was sharing a table with leading Norwegian skiers such as Kjetil André Aamodt or Lasse Kjus, whose posters adorned the walls of his room. And now, here he was – part of the family from day one.
That feeling I had during the first weeks and months of being on the national team and feeling 100 per cent part of it is still one of my highlights
It wasn’t long before posters of him were hanging in the rooms of skiing fans. He’s the star of the scene, but above all else: he’s remained true to himself. No change there. Modest, relaxed and honest. Someone who loves sport and would have liked to go to university if he hadn’t become a professional athlete. Aksel is a versatile and dedicated, yet often critical person, who loves and needs a challenge – even away from the slopes.
Always making progress, never standing still – at all levels. His inner drive, the desire for constant improvement, is what connects him with Porsche – and with the Taycan. Being a visionary, transferring innovations to the road and continuously perfecting his craft until everything is perfect. As also reflected in the Taycan. After all, not only has pioneering technology gone into this new Porsche, but also a great deal of passion. When asked if he’d rather have world-class technology coupled with less passion, or the heart of a champion with rather limited technology, he replies: "If I wanted to win races and major titles, I’d rather have the heart of a champion with limited technology, because I think that’s more important." Passion and dedication make the difference – not only in skiing. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Time for a new era
Times are changing, a new era is dawning. Whether as a former racer or current freerider, what remains is a love of skiing. When you glide through the snow, hugging every curve with panache – sometimes tight, sometimes wide – you’re completely in the moment, he says. You’re fully immersed in the experience. Just like you know you’re following the perfect line, the moment you find it. It’s the interaction of various components that together are more than the sum of their parts. It’s about making optimum use of all your strengths.
When he talks about the perfect line, we’re reminded a little bit of design. Combining everything in order to create perfection. Something touching. You get the same feeling when talking to him about the new Taycan: "It somehow has these classic lines, the beautiful lines that you expect of a Porsche." His expectations were high – and were more than fulfilled. "When you look at the Taycan, you can see the beautiful lines of the traditional car maker, but you also sense that there is something else. Something innovative." Even for Porsche, a new era is dawning. Aksel is confident that our approach to electromobility is the right one. "The world is changing rapidly," he says. "And there are lots of things we have to change." Although there was never any doubt that the powerful drive and the familiar Porsche feeling would be retained.
When you look at the Taycan, you can see the beautiful lines of the traditional car maker, but you also sense that there is something else. Something innovative
Things and relationships
'The new Taycan. Soul, electrified.' Can things have a soul? "Yes, they can," says Aksel, adding: "For me, the soul is what touches you." He’s been moved by the Taycan. The power of the car, its handling, its design.
Really good things make an impact. Not just a practical, but also an emotional impact on people. That’s when they have a kind of soul. And leave an impression on people
The Taycan has left an impression on him. And – just like the time with Aksel and the mountains – a special relationship has been created. It’s precisely these special relationships that characterise us.