PASSION, PRECISION AND PURPOSE HAVE MADE HENRIK KRISTOFFERSEN A WORLD CHAMPION SKIER. HE FINDS THE SAME QUALITIES IN HIS HUSQVARNA MOTORCYCLES
“I want to do my own thing and not what everyone else does. Moderation is for cowards.” So says Henrik Kristoffersen; professional skier, Olympic slalom medallist and Husqvarna ambassador. It’s a single-minded sentiment but compromise doesn’t create champions. His words could be a mantra for every dedicated motorcyclist too.
Henrik’s singularity of purpose and focus on his chosen sport made him the youngest male medallist in Olympic Alpine skiing history. Aged just 19 he took bronze in the Slalom at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He followed that with silver in the Giant Slalom at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. Earlier this year he became Giant Slalom world champion. At 25 years old, Henrik’s winning ways aren’t over yet.
Henrik’s passion for motorcycling is an obsession that long predates his Alpine achievements. As it turns out, Henrik’s association with Husqvarna started way before he became a brand ambassador in 2017. “When I was a little boy there was this ‘thing’ hidden under a tarp in the garage; my dad’s Husqvarna motocross bike. That’s what started it all. I watched VHS videos my dad had like Crusty Demons of Dirt until they wore out. Shortly before I turned 6, I got my first Husqvarna 50cc MX bike and I have been riding ever since.”
"I want to do my own thing and not what everyone else does"
Not only still riding but riding Husqvarna – a FC 250 motocrosser offroad and a VITPILEN 701 on the street and roads around his adopted hometown of Salzburg. A Norwegian rider on Swedish bikes in Austria. Henrik is an international sportsman and world citizen.
Henrik’s riding doesn’t only deliver fun, it has serious benefits too. “Motocross is one of the most physically demanding sports. It’s great cardio and muscle training, especially for the core muscles, and trains balance as well as coordination – basically everything I need for skiing.”
Motocross is a challenging discipline and you want the right bike for the job, whatever level you ride at. Henrik is particularly taken with his Husqvarna FC 250. So enamoured is he of the crosser, Henrik can’t wait to get on board to ride for the camera, despite wilting 35°C temperatures on the day these pictures were taken. There are many reasons why Henrik finds the FC 250 the perfect package.
Combining feedback from world-class riders and extensive testing, Husqvarna set the benchmarks for handling, performance, weight and aesthetics. A machine built to these parameters allows Henrik to get the most from his time on the bike. “The best thing about it is that it combines training with a lot of adrenaline and fun. I have huge respect for the professional MX riders, as I can barely even imagine how hard it must be to train and race all the time, given their schedule.”
Henrik doesn’t need to know the specification of his favourite offroader by heart to know what he likes. “I love it! The Husqvarna FC 250 is super lightweight, agile, powerful and the handling is awesome. Especially for me, since in winter I have to take a break from riding motocross. It’s perfect because I hop on it in spring and ride away without having to get too much used to it again. The WP suspension is awesome and easy to adjust for my needs, and I love the electric starter as it comes in handy sometimes, especially when I haven’t ridden for a little while (laughs).”
As an elite athlete and one with good MX skills, would Henrik ever fancy a career change? “I doubt that I will tire of skiing and I am nowhere close to doing what the Husqvarna factory guys are able to do. But, theoretically, if I had the chance and would be able to get somewhere near to the performance required, I would love to be a part of the team. But that would be a long, long way for me. So, I’ll stay on skis for now.”
Resident in Salzburg for the last couple of years, Henrik’s move from Norway to Austria was initially for practical reasons but other benefits have followed. “During the season, I used to spend a lot of time in hotels, which I felt was not the ideal situation. Living in Salzburg is much more convenient for training at Reiteralm and I don’t have to drag my stuff back and forth from Norway. Plus, I have my own space to relax, which is of course much better than living out of a suitcase for 200 days or more each year. Emotionally I moved to Salzburg because it’s a beautiful city with a very open-minded and international crowd.”
Not only space to relax but places to ride as well, from the city and beyond to twisting roads carving through striking mountain landscapes. Places to leave the everyday behind on a bike built to perform with nimble handling and the power to thrill.
“I grew up riding Husqvarnas. I really enjoy seeing how the brand has evolved in recent years, I think that it is more ‘swedish’ now than ever”
After two decades of offroad riding, Henrik has now taken to the road too – on a Husqvarna VITPILEN 701. As soon as Henrik got his road licence, he jumped on his VITPILEN 701 and rode to the gym. “I love the bike, its design and feeling that I get while riding. I immediately felt very comfortable and confident on the street bike. The VITPILEN is light, agile and perfect for city rides and beyond. I don’t think I’ll be using my car anymore...”
Henrik’s Husqvarna passion has a whole new direction now he has one for the road too. Maybe Henrik’s dad can get the road bike his own father banned him from owning as a kid. For Henrik it has to be Husqvarna. “Well, Husqvarna is a Swedish brand with a huge heritage. I grew up riding Husqvarnas and saw my dad on them back then and today, so I basically think I got ‘programmed’ during my youth. I really enjoy seeing how the brand has evolved in recent years, I think that it is more ‘Swedish’ now than ever. The colours, the whole appearance is appealing, and the quality is awesome. It’s funny how my dad and I are still riding Husqvarnas on the tracks and in the wilderness like we did back when I was very young. Now I’m a Husqvarna road rider too. I am very happy to do both on motorcycles of a brand I can identify with.”