Hands Down, Hansdotter Is One Of The Best
Frida Hansdotter made her World Cup debut in October of 2004 at Soelden. She had a string of DNFs and DNQs before finding her balance in 2006, and that’s when she scored her first World Cup points with a 13th-place result in Levi, Finland. Since then, she has skied to four victories and 26 podium finishes along with securing the World Cup slalom globe in 2015-16.
“I’m so happy with my career so far. I do what I love and I‘m having so much fun on the World Cup tour,” she says.
The key words in that remark? So far. The 31-year-old veteran is not done yet, focusing on the 2017-18 season.
“Olympics are a big goal this coming season,” she continues. “It would be fun to add an Olympic medal to my World Championship medals.”
While she’s never earned an Olympic medal, the Swedish star has three World Championship medals to her name – all consecutive from 2013, 2015 and 2017. Mikaela Shiffrin, who has won three consecutive World Championship titles, shared the podium with Hansdotter each year.
“Mikaela is incredible, she’s so talented and when she lays down her fastest runs, nobody is close to her,” Hansdotter says. “Clearly, it can be frustrating, but at the same time, it’s very motivating. I have runs and sections of the courses where I match her time and even some where I am faster. But I think her high level and the fact that she’s always so consistent is what makes her so good.”
In Flachau, Austria, this past season, Hansdotter became one of the few women in recent years to beat Shiffrin in slalom. Under the dark of night, she crushed the competition at one of her favorite venues.
“Flachau is my absolute favorite competition during the race season,” she shares. “The atmosphere and the fact that it’s an evening race makes it extra fun. I had a good feeling already in the morning. I knew it would be a fun day. After my podium in Maribor, my self-confidence had returned, and I wanted to show how fast I can be. And I did. My first run was incredible. I’m really satisfied with my skiing in that run!”
While she was not able to retain the slalom title in 2016-17, she walked away from the season with a smile.
“I’m happy with my season given the circumstances and the struggle at the beginning of the season,” she says. “One thing especially pleased me: my third straight World Championship medal. I’m very proud of this.”
Hansdotter also had an impressive season in the Alpine Team Event discipline, which will make its Olympic debut this winter in PyeongChang. Team Sweden won the event at World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo., and earned a bronze medal at the 2017 World Championships in St. Moritz.
“I think team events are super fun, and … Sweden is a strong team,” Hansdotter says. “I am absolutely sure that we will have great chances of taking a medal at the Olympic Games. I will prepare for the team event in the same way than the other disciplines.”
Beyond the Olympic Winter Games, which will almost certainly be a catalyst for many older athletes to retire, Hansdotter intends to compete in at least one more World Championships, which just happens to be on home snow.
“To experience one more World Championship at home in Are feels fantastic. It’s something special to race on home ground,” she shares.
Before the new season kicks off, Hansdotter is enjoying her summer with vacations and a little time away from her teammates and coaches.
“Summer is treating me well,” the Swede shares. “I’m training a lot at home, as in Sweden, we don’t have a place where we gather and train together, but we have two or three camps during the summer that we can attend. As we are traveling 200 days a year, it’s nice to have some time at home during summer. I have a house together with my boyfriend and during summer, we always have some fun projects on the house or garden. That’s relaxing for me. And of course, I need some sun, so right now, I’m enjoying a calmer week of holidays in Spain.”