One can never be bored by skiing because it is a special gift of the relationship between earth and sky. It only comes in sufficient amounts in particular places, at certain times on this earth; it lasts only a limited amount of time before sun and wind changes it. People devote their whole lives to it for the pleasure of being so purely played by gravity and snow. – Dolores LaChapelle
Here is a list of the best skiers in the world, who has either won the most medals or made the biggest impact in the world of skiing.
Bode Miller is one of the only two skiers in history to win medals in all four disciplines in alpine skiing. He is also one of the best World Cup racers with 33 victories and one of five men to win World Cup events in all five disciplines which includes giant slalom, combined, super combined, super-G and downhill.
He is a World Championship and Olympic gold medallist, who became the most successful American ski racer of all time. According to Miller, ‘My goal is to ski as fast as the natural universe will allow. Sometimes it’s all about the win, sometimes it’s about the skiing.’
Bode Miller revolutionised winter sport by adopting and achieving the impossible and laying down the paths for others to follow. In his book, ‘Bode: Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun’, the star shares his story, the secret of his success and his philosophy in life. He says,
Get a plan, stick to it, and trust your instincts . . . and almost anything is possible.
Alberto Tomba was the showiest skier of all time on the Olympic platform and dominated the Slalom and GS courses across the globe for most part of an era. His influence in the winter sport came through his total domination of the sport in the 80’s and 90’s. He has to his credit 3 Olympic gold medals, 2 silver medals, slalom World Championship and 50 victories in the World Cup events.
Tomba’s unique slalom style also revolutionised the ski industry where instead of letting his skis come apart in the ‘skating step’ between turns, he kept them tight together, which created smoother turns. Skiers have since followed his style and technique between the gates and off the slopes.
Alberto is also popularly known as ‘Tomba la bomba’ or ‘Albertone’ and is the first lowlander and the first skier from a big city to make it to the top in Italian skiing compared to previous ski stars who have been from the mountains with a mixed Italian and German heritage.
According to Tomba,
All these days that I’ve been winning have been great days.
Jean-Claude Killy became to first skier to sweep the board in all the three disciplines in the old Alpine Skiing in 1968. He won the World Cup championships consecutively for two years and went on to win the Triple Crown of Alpine Skiing with a sweep of all three gold medals at the 1968 Winter Olympics.
His unique start technique caused a commotion in the ski industry where he used his upper body strength to throw himself through the starting gate to give himself an advantage over his competitors.
He became popularly known as ‘Chocolate Kitty’ because of the way he said his name in his thick accent. He soon endorsed his name to ‘Killy ski clothing and skis’, ‘Espace Killy’ (the combined ski area of Val d’Isere and Tignes) and ‘Head Skis’ (metal and fiberglass ski model, the Killy 800).
According to Killy,
Winning tastes good. To win, you have to risk loss.’ Today he has several trails across the globe named after him including the ‘Cupp Run’ (Snowshoe), ‘W.V’ (which he designed) and ‘I’Espace Killy’.
Franz Klammer was an Olympic gold medallist who defied the laws of gravity and cut corners where no one even dared to go before. According to Ian Wooldridge, Daily Mail’s greatest sports writer of the 20th century,
The greatest single sporting achievement in my lifetime and no doubt beyond’.
According to Klammer,
During the technical sections of a Downhill I have to concentrate, but during the long straight gliding bits I tend to think about what I am going to do with my wife tonight – it helps me to go faster.’
Klammer was the best skier to add real fire on the slopes and can be rightfully called the greatest in this dangerous and compelling sport. His performance at Innsbruck in 1976 took literally death-defying courage which is famously known as one of the pinnacles of sporting achievement in any field. Today Klammer is the international ambassador for Austrian skiing.
Kjetil Andre Aamodt
Kjetil Andre Aamodt is the other skier (only two skiers in history, the other being Bode Miller) to win medals in all four disciplines in alpine skiing. Kjetil has also to his credit 8 Olympic medals, which he won over four successive games and is both the youngest and oldest male alpine skier to win a gold medal at the Olympics.
Kjetil is popularly known by his nickname ‘Baby Shark’ who remains to be one of the most successful skiers of all time.
According to him,
One little mistake and no one knows about you. It isn’t that the others failed, I had luck.