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Exceptional guests at the Residence Centro Vela: an interview with the Norwegian Alpine ski team

Nazionale di sci alpino norvegese


We interviewed the champions of the world’s best Alpine ski team.


For the second year in a row (and the fifth overall), the Norwegian Alpine ski team has chosen the Residence Centro Vela to prepare for the upcoming winter season.

The team captain is Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, winner of two Super-G World Cups (2016 and 2022), one Overall World Cup (2020) and two Downhill World Cups (2022 and 2023).

Lucas Braathen is the team’s youngest winner, who at the end of the season became the world champion of slalom (2022-2023).

The team is led by Bjorn Fossl, the Norwegian team’s trainer who planned the dryland programme for the athletes’ physical training during the summer in Riva del Garda.

While last year most of the training relied on the numerous open air activities that Garda Trentino has to offer (protected climbing routes, SUP and windsurfing), this year the team focused mainly on tennis, and brought three Norwegian tennis federation trainers with them. However, the team still wanted to enjoy traditional cycling routes on the lake shores and the numerous open-air activities the region has to offer.

By interviewing two great champions and their trainer, we learnt about what they think of their physical training programme by the lake.





Hello Aleksander! The first time you came to Lake Garda was in 2011. You were very young.


Yes, the first time I came was in 2011. I came back the year after, in 2012, then there was a pause. I don’t know why, different plans… But we are staying here now!


What did you think the first time you came to Lake Garda?


I thought it was one of the most beautiful places I had ever been to. I have visited many places in my life, but the welcome here in the residence, the water all around… And, as a Norwegian, seeing palm trees, the contrast between the palm trees and the mountains… It is spectacular! I don’t remember being in such a hot place where I could train, go swimming; I thought it was a truly fantastic experience.


You spend most of your life travelling around the world.
Is there anything in Riva del Garda that helps you feel closer to home?


Yes, the people above all. I have been here several times now, everyone is always very friendly and I really enjoy myself every time I am here. Everything is very well organised. Marco prepares all the activities in Trentino, including the ones with you guys… I mean, it is really great to come here, really great indeed. We travel a lot with the team around Italy and we always feel at home when we come here. So let’s keep this going! It is a brilliant tradition and we really want to keep it and come back every year.


What are you expecting that will help you train most effectively but have fun at the same time?


I think you guys have a broad “view” of everything we need to be flexible. It is really very important for us. And no words do justice to Italian food. This year in particular: excellent food, fantastic service during dinner, great atmosphere.  All I can say is that everything was efficient and tasty. I think that involving our new staff, making them come here to see new places, experience something new – like tennis outdoors – well, I think it was one of the best things we ever did! Usually in Norway we play tennis indoors or in a tennis court in the city, which can in no way be compared to the magnificence of playing here. There were olive trees around us, we find it incredible to be playing tennis in such a place. Plus there are bike rides in the mountains, but that is nothing new!





Hello Lucas, this is your second time here. What impression did you have the first year you trained in Riva del Garda?


I was struck by the contrast between water and mountains and loads of very active people around us. I think it is a good atmosphere, and a good atmosphere to train in translates into better physical fitness and greater progress. And Italian food is also very important. Let’s say, the whole of it together. It is always great to be back here!


Was there an activity that you tried for the first time here in Riva del Garda or which one would you like to try again?


It wasn’t the first time, because I have done a lot of windsurfing in my life and in many parts of the world, but windsurfing here in Torbole was truly fantastic, it was unique. And also being able to cycle on these mountains… Absolutely incredible, a breath-taking view! To be able to see the whole of the lake, to have such an amazing view. They are experiences I would like to enjoy again and again, I will always remember the photos we took up there with the staff. I can’t wait to do it again!


Did you get positive vibes here on the lake?


The whole time! Being able to enjoy the sessions and not just endure brutal, exhausting training is fantastic and we really appreciate it. Being able to train in the water achieving the same results you would achieve in the gym: this is the level of the quality we find here on Lake Garda. It really is fantastic!





Hello Bjorn, thank you for your time. Why did you choose Garda Trentino for your dryland training?


We chose it last year because we had heard so many good things about it from the past years. We were acquainted with people who had already come here. Aksel [Svindal, editor’s note] and the rest of the team came here a few years ago and said it was a fantastic place to train in. So when I planned to come here last year, I relied on what they said, it was going in blind. I didn’t really know what to expect. But this year we were really keen because last year was so great. Plus we knew all you guys in the hotel and restaurant, what is in the area, the mountains, all the activities we could try. It was really very easy to plan our “retreat”, which is why we would like to come again!


Can the activities this area has to offer help build strong relations in your team?


Yes, that is one of the main aims of this retreat. It is an environment in which we can do lots of different things in a small area, and we can do them intensely because we have everything we need close by. And it is also fun to do them in such a lovely setting. So yes, this is the perfect territory for team building.


Do you have any time to have fun during these intense training sessions by the lake?


As far as I am concerned, we have fun all the time on the lake. Last year it was harder, but still fun. And this year, the aim was to have even more fun! It is one of the most important aspects in building a good relationship: having fun!


Is there any memory that you are particularly fond of?


Oh, wow! I will treasure all the memories from this place for the rest of my life. The food, the views, the land, the people. And how they welcomed us!


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