After a great summer of training and preparation both at home in Åre and on snow in New Zealand, Mattias Rönngren is ready for the season. He is set to claim revenge after the previous ski season which did not meet his expectations and has his sight firmly set at racing at the home World Championships in Åre in February. He is building on the lessons learned last season.
– I had a poor season last year but I drew my lessons from it. The main thing that I learned is the importance of good self-confidence, said Rönngren.
This pre-season has started well for him with 12thand 3rdplace finishes in the Australian New Zealand Cup giant slalom races. The first goal this year is to do well in the European Cup which provides the foundation for good results at the World Cup level.
– I am most excited to start racing again, that’s what’s most fun. Everything around racing is great. It is the whole build-up and nervousness that makes you really feel what it’s all about.
Mattias Rönngren grew up skiing on the slopes of Åre and is excited about the chance to race on his home snow in February.
– I am definitely focused on starting in Åre in February. It is literally the home World Championships for me and a one-time chance in an athlete’s career. There is really no room for discussion here, he said with a smile.
He, just like all the other athletes in his position, knows that the competition for the starting positions in the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships will be tough. But he also knows that he has what it takes to make it. And that Åre 2019 will be an amazing experience for the racers and visitors alike.
– We do not have the same audience as countries like Austria but I think that the World Champs here in Åre will have much more to offer than just watching the races. It will be a fantastic experience all around. There is so much to do here so I really hope there will be great crowds here – it will be awesome!
Rönngren is also an ambassador for the Åre 2019 cooperation partner POW (Protect our Winters) and finds that the work that Åre 2019 is doing to stage sustainable FIS Alpine World Ski Championships is very important.
– I find work for sustainability and the climate both important and interesting. That does not mean that I am going around and telling people what they should do but I try to educate and do it better myself. I took a course last year where we discussed food and climate issues and it was really interesting.
Mattias thinks his interest comes from the fact that everything he likes to do has to do with being outdoors, especially in the mountains.
– Most everything I love to do is outdoors. If you think about all that disappearing then much of what I am interested in and like would also be gone.
Together with the other members in the Ski Team Sweden Alpine, Rönngren is involved in the Swedish Ski Association’s pledge to half their climate impact in all their activities, which is a project he thinks is excellent.
– It is great because we do have a massive carbon footprint so it makes sense that we try to do something about it. I also hope that our efforts will help inspire others. Just us changing our ways may not make a huge difference but if we inspire other teams, clubs, national teams and countries then together it can be huge.
He also thinks that Åre 2019’s investment in sustainability and fossil-fuel free World Championships can have an impact on the ski world.
– You do always try to be better than other events. When you are able to say that you were the most climate smart World Championships ever, then the next organizers will hopefully want to be even better.
Facts Mattias Rönngren
Born:1993 in Åre
First time on skis: At the age of two
First race: 2003
Schooling: Åre primary school, Åre ski high school, Mittuniversitetet Östersund
Mattias’ best tips for Åre visitors: Do a ski tour for example at Storulvån, go cross-country skiing in Trillevallen or Edsåsdalen.
Hobbies when not skiing: fishing, fitness, cycling, surfing and anything outdoors.
What you did not know about Mattias: He loves Freeriding and can be found off-pistewhen not training for ski racing. He participated in the Scandinavian Big Mountain Championships at Riksgränsen the last seven years. His closest friend is Felix Monsén, another Swedish national team athlete. He previously played football, and also used to golf, go surfing, skateboarding and downhill biking but then finally chose ski racing. Initially he mostly raced downhill but has since concentrated on slalom and giant slalom.
6th place European Cup Giant Slalom
7 top 15 European Cup results
10 World Cup starts
Swedish champion in parallel slalom
6 medals from Swedish National Championships