Alpine ace

Linn Isaksen 2. January 2017

Nina Løseth travels the world in a quest for speed.

Share this article:


Nina Løseth was just three years old when she stood there alone for the first time. She was at the kid’s lift at the Strandafjellet ski area in western Norway, waving proudly to her mother and father waiting at the bottom of the hill.
Twenty-four years later, 5 January 2016: Løseth wakes up in Santa Caterina, Italy, without a care. She’ll be skiing a World Cup slalom race down a hill never before skiied by the ladies. She feels calm and well prepared. She couldn’t care less about the hubbub around her, all the television cameras and the cheering crowd. She’s in the lead after the first run, so the only thing on her mind is how fast she can go in the second run. It proves to be very fast. 
“The whole way down the slope all I thought about was picking up speed. And when I crossed the finish line and saw the green light, the joy just exploded!”
She ended atop the winner’s podium, 14 years after the last Norwegian woman to do so.
“That’s a feeling I'll never forget! ”says Løseth.


Nina Løseth (27) is an alpine skier from Ålesund representing Spjelkavik IL sports club. She made the national youth team at age 12, had her World Cup debut in 2006 and won her first World Cup slalom race in Santa Caterina in January 2016. It was Norway’s first victory on the women’s side since 2002. Løseth lives in Oslo with her boyfriend, Herman Haver– Mathisen.

Instagram: @ninaloseth

Getty Images 625952548

Norwegian Nina Løseth has raced her way to the top of women’s alpine skiing. Now, her sights are set on the 2018 Olympics.


It all started pretty smoothly. Her parents 
had a cabin at Strandafjellet and took Løseth and her three sisters out on the slopes from an early age. The first time Løseth put slalom skis on her feet, she was two. She entered her first race 
as a five-year-old, and in the years that 
followed, she won every race she entered. 
“At first, I liked downhill because of the social aspect. I copied my big sister, Lene, and wanted to do whatever she did. I was not in the least bit afraid and wanted to do everything on my own. We ended up with a lot of friends on the slopes, and as a rule, we were there from the moment they opened until they closed,” she says.  
As her victories mounted, Løseth understood that alpine skiing was something she truly mastered, so she started to dream. In her classmates’ yearbooks, she would write that she wanted to be “a professional slalom skier abroad” when she grew up. Little did she know that she wouldn’t have to grow up very much before her dream came true. She did international races as a 12-year-old on the national youth team, made the national 
junior team at age 15 and won her first 
European race and her first World Cup points  the following year.
“I learned a lot from the older girls on the team and was really looked after by the 
Norwegian Ski Federation. I also travelled a lot with my older sister, who was also on the team, so we shared a room,” says Løseth.

About airports: I get butterflies in my stomach when I’m at the airport, since it’s the first stop on the way towards new adventures.

About Oslo Airport: I always meet so many nice people at Oslo Airport, and have only had good experiences there. I travel so much that I like to spend some time in the lounge, and it can happen that I make a pit stop at O’Leary’s for the guilty pleasure of their chicken wings!

In the air: I just discovered podcasts, so that’s my new thing when I fly.

The flight I’ll never forget: Ten years ago, I flew from Mo i Rana to Trondheim on a small prop plane. Before departure, we were told that it was going to be a somewhat unusual flight because of a storm. I’ve never experienced such heavy turbulence! I had full-on death anxiety and cried my eyes out the whole way.


The road to the top was not entirely painless. Løseth took some hard knocks, including an early one at age nine, when she did a run on glassy ice on Juvass glacier that cost her two teeth, a split lip and three fractures to her jaw. Later, the mental challenge would be tougher, as pressure from other skiers and her coach shook her confidence. But the steepest uphill climb came after she  hurt her leg during dryland training. Doctors could find nothing wrong on her x-rays, so her coach sent her to see a sports psychologist. However, Løseth was in severe pain. She couldn’t train properly and eventually tried to ease the pain by changing her skiing style. The injury drained her emotionally and physically and looked like it might end her career. 
But then, after two years of problems and uncertainty, Løseth put everything on hold so she could get to the bottom of her injury. She had a series of detailed x-rays that showed a fatigue fracture, underwent surgery and was back on skis during the summer of 2011. She started slow on very easy slopes, but slowly and surely fought her way back.
“I was ready for a new start. I looked at what I had achieved before my injury as one career, and that I was about to embark on a second career with a clean slate,” says Løseth.
“Top flight sport brings its share of dis-
appointments and let-downs, and to overcome adversity and learn from it has been an 
important factor for me. Patience has been 
my biggest achievement!”


1. Nina collaborates with Maggy, a Norwegian fashion brand. 2. Nina prefers to travel to Altea in Spain when she needs to recharge. 3. Nina with her boyfriend, Herman Haver-Mathisen. 4. A bite to eat with alpine colleagues Ragnhild Mowinckel and Maren Skjøld.


The best part is the adrenaline, says Løseth. The freedom she feels in throwing herself off a steep mountain with skis on, creates a very special sense of mastery, which trumps the performance anxiety that she also feels.
“The pressure can be a little overwhelming at times, I’ll admit. But in recent years I have become better at dealing with that and not 
letting it affect me as much. In the past, I could get so nervous that I would throw up at the start, but now I’ve learned not to take myself so incredibly seriously. Having a bad race is not the end of the world.” 
Sometimes, interest from the news media and eager ski fans can become a bit much. 
In the Alps, there is enormous interest in the sport and the athletes, so there are journalists, photographers, flags, bells and fans 
“From time to time, I get weird messages from strange men, Løseth says with a laugh. 
“By far the strangest request came from a guy in his 50s from Switzerland. He sent me packages of love songs on cassette tapes, photos of himself in his younger days and love letters with lots of stickers and declarations saying that he wanted to marry me!”
Sometimes, it’s important to relax and take a break from the Ski Circus, she says.
“That’s when I trade training attire for nice clothes, and go out with my boyfriend or friends, have some good food and enjoy an ice-cold beer!” 


Løseth is on the road for more than half the year. She travels around the world to “ski as fast as possible from start to finish,” she says. Her location might vary, but some routines remain:
“I always eat granola with natural yoghurt and a boiled egg for breakfast. And coffee! I must have coffee to wake up! But only two cups in the morning, then I’m good to go for the rest of the day. During the summer, we have two or three training sessions a day, so that means training, food and rest from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. When we are skiing, the day starts at 6 a.m. We spend three or four, maybe five hours on the slopes, before we eat lunch and 
rest a little, and continue with dryland training, 
video, meetings and dinner.
When it comes to saying exactly what she wants to accomplish with this relentless 
regime, Løseth is a bit reticent.
“I’m a bit careful about announcing that I am going to be the best in the world. From experience, I know that focusing on results doesn’t pay. It works better to focus on one race at a time and staying focused on the job. But I do have goals and dreams that I keep to myself,” she says with a smile.
Norway is very focused on male alpine stars, but that does not mean Løseth feels that the women are overlooked.
“We have the world’s best alpine skiers and huge profiles on the Norwegian men’s team, so it’s natural that they get a lot of attention. I don’t feel that we have been overshadowed, but rather that we have put ourselves in the shadows. The men’s team has performed incredibly for years and years, while the women 
have had a few years without big results,” 
Løseth reflects and continues:
“But hopefully we are moving back into the light now!” 

5 Quick Questions

Dream of visiting: India.

Favourite destination for...
... Skiing: Courchevel, France.
... Recharging: Altea, Spain.
... Having fun: Barcelona, Spain.

On holiday: We have a couple of quiet weeks in May and three weeks’ vacation in July. But those are active vacations, where I exercise and keep my body going. The last time I was on a real holiday was in Altea, Spain, with my boyfriend, I trained a bit, he worked a little, and otherwise we enjoyed ourselves with windsurfing and good food. 
The idea of lying on the beach for a week with an umbrella drink in hand will have to wait until my active career is over.

New Year’s Resolutions: Take the time to visit family in Ålesund. It’s almost embarrassing to say that I haven’t been home since Easter.

Want to be remembered as: As an athlete, I hope to be remembered for my accomplishments. As a person, I want to be remembered as caring, generous and positive.

Share this article:


Follow Oslo Lufthavn: