Norway’s veteran downhill skiing star Axel Lund Svindal had some good news for fans this week, if not competitors. The 35-year-old alpine champion intends to take part in the upcoming racing season, and lunge out of the starting gate at Lake Louise in Canada late next month.
His future as a professional skier has been highly uncertain, not least over whether a badly injured knee will be in good enough shape to sustain the high-speed pressure he puts on it. He’d said in April that he wanted to ski another season, but it depended on the knee.
“Now I feel the plan is to start at Lake Louise,” Svindal said. “I’ve had that feeling mentally all along.” He said he wishes he could have trained more, physically, but he thinks he’s in “quite good shape” regardless.
He’s engaged in various forms of alternative training, to spare the knee. When the national ski team gathered for summer training in the mountains of Chile, his knee was still feeling “uncomfortable.” Now he says he feels better than he has for a long time, even though his knee still can’t tolerate too much pressure.
A final decision whether he can race will be made in Lake Lousie at the end of November.