“When I ski, I like to go a little faster”: Norwegian ski legend Aksel Lund Svindal breaks down the beauty of Porsche and Head’s latest skis

By Allyson Shiffman

Photo: Porsche

Retired alpine champion and Porsche ambassador Aksel Lund Svindal gives us the lowdown on the latest skis made via collaboration between Porsche and Head

Aksel Lund Svindal knows a thing or two about going fast. The former alpine World Cup champion made a name for himself bombing down hills at breakneck speeds. These days, the 41-year-old Norwegian still enjoys flying down the mountain recreationally, albeit with some restrictions. “Unless you do early mornings, there’s people on the hill,” he says. “That’s the luxury when you’re a champion and you’re racing – they block off the hill for you and you just go flying. All of a sudden you have to line up in the lift line with everyone else and share the hill with everyone else.”

Luckily, he has the perfect equipment for the occasion: a pair of Porsche skis, made in collaboration with ski equipment aficionados Head. In fact, Lund Svindal himself offered his expertise on their design.

Photo: Porsche

Aksel Lund Svindal with fellow ski star Leif Kristian Haugen on the Porsche x Head ski trip in Hemsedal.

A self-described car enthusiast, Lund Svindal was tapped as an ambassador for Porsche in 2019, around the same time he retired. Since then, he’d been going on annual ski trips to Kitzbuhel with the Porsche team. “They’re pretty hardcore, even if it’s bad weather,” says Lund Svindal. “A lot of people would be like, ‘Let’s do one run and then hit the lodge and hang out by the fireplace’. But they really want to ski.” Despite the Porsche crew’s affinity for skiing, their equipment left something to be desired. “I just made fun of them because I thought their equipment was… you know…” Lund Svindal smiles and says, “I would expect more from them, because Porsche is a sports car.” Luckily he knew “someone who could help them out” and make them “cooler and faster”. He connected Porsche with Head (he’s been on the brand’s roster for years) and, three years ago, the first collaborative skis were made.

We wanted to take the best capabilities of a race ski and translate it into something you can ski with every day.

Aksel Lund Svindal, retired alpine champion and Porsche ambassador

It was a perfect fit. After all, the two companies have a lot in common: passion for design and craftsmanship, the desire to go fast. “Skiing is making turns and the faster you can go through those turns, the better you’ll be at racing,” says Lund Svindal. “With cars, it’s basically the same thing.” “With Head, it’s a perfect fit,” says Michael Hiller, the CEO of Porsche Norway. “It’s two brands that are leading their industries and it’s a lot about fun and joy and searching for the perfect line.”

The iconic Porsche 911 Dakar.

The latest skis, which Lund Svindal tested out along with a group of Porsche clients and journalists a couple weeks ago in Hemsedal (as a bonus, guests also got to test drive the iconic Porsche 911 Dakar in snowy conditions), are manufactured in Head’s racing department. The special sauce with these skis – with all skis, really – is the wood. “You want it to bend, to be flexible, to have some bounce back, but what you don’t want is to feel every single bump on the on the ski slope,” says Lund Svindal. “So we really took the philosophy of finding the right wood. It shouldn’t be as hard to ski as a race ski. We wanted to take the best capabilities of a race ski and translate it into something you can ski with every day.” Sort of like the way Porsche translates its sports cars into the sort of vehicle that can handle a city street.

The result is two skis: the high-performance Porsche 7 Series and the Porsche 8 series (the former is for groomed slopes, the latter for both on and off-piste skiing). Both have that aforementioned solid wood core with layers of carbon fibre and Titanal. “It’s more of a cruiser ski, but with those characteristics that you enjoy from a race,” says Lund Svindal, adding, “When I ski, I like to go a little faster.” Joining the skis is a slick black ski jacket and ski pants, poles, a visor and helmet. Unsurprisingly, the full capsule looks effortlessly sleek. Following the test runs in Hemsedal, during which Lund Svindal “got everyone carving”, practically everyone ended up “wanting to buy the skis”. “And not just because it’s a cool design,” says Lund Svindal.

Meanwhile, when Lund Svindal isn’t skiing, he’s found another way to get his speed fix: car racing. “I’m not a professional, I just did it for fun,” says Lund Svindal of his racing for Porsche. On the slopes, he’s used to being a champion, but this was more of a humbling exercise. “I was at the back of the field,” he admits. “But it was an amazing experience.”