Linda Torstensson is a marketing partner at Hej International, the UK agents for ski and outdoor clothing company Maier Sports. An early life spent moving between countries meant the opportunity to give skiing a go hadn’t presented itself, but fast-forward to today and Linda has skied extensively in Sweden, on trips to the US and even in the Arctic Circle.
“I remember watching Ski Sunday in the old days and always fancying it but I never ended up going until I went to university,” explains Linda to MadDogSki.
That early 80s trip to Mayrhofen in Austria was organised with six mostly beginner-level friends and involved days of ski school “in every kind of weather”, everyone mucking in to make dinners and the inevitable uni trip apres ski.
“It was something I’d always wanted to do and I was the one dragging everyone out of bed to get to the lifts at 9 o’clock in the morning,” Linda recounts.
“I remember there was a race at the end of the week – and I was absolutely going to get my gold medal!”
Mayrhofen ensured Linda was hooked, but it wasn’t until later in life after a move to Sweden that she began skiing more regularly with her family. The Swedish outdoors culture is something she says makes it more accessible for kids and a nicer pace than the Alps.
“We regularly go to Lindvallen part of the Salen area. It’s a great family resort, well laid out and very easy to get around. It’s gentle for younger and older skiers alike with plenty to do for non-skiers too.”
“It can get busy but never as crowded as some of the resorts I’ve visited in the Alps and the efficiency of the lifts means you are never hanging around for long.”
“The personnel are fantastic too as a rule and of course most speak perfect English if your Swedish isn’t that great.”
One trip, in particular, captured Linda’s imagination while she was living in Sweden and that was to Riksgransen, 200km north of the Arctic Circle.
“It was incredible! We went up in May, right at the end of the season. It’s right up on the Norwegian-Swedish border. You have your normal skiing day, come home, have a bite to eat and then it all opens up again and you go back up until half-twelve, one o’clock at night – in the daylight.”
“You have to take your chances though. The sun was out one day and we were watching the snow melt before our eyes because it’s so strong that far north. You find yourself jumping over little rivers.“
A career in international marketing and communications led to the launch of a new kids brand, Kozi Kidz, with her husband in 2007 and a move back to the UK, but Sweden is still where Linda’s skiing heart lies.
“I absolutely love Sweden because of the ambience and even when you’ve got small kids you can sit at the bottom of the slope if you want and watch them go up and come down. I’ve not been to the Alps for a long time, but it’s a different kind of holiday.“
“I love Lindvallen, but a couple of resorts I would be keen to revisit are Lech and Zurs in Austria where there’s a great circuit around the two resorts. And Alta in Utah. It’s a quieter resort than nearby Snowbird – at least it was when I was there – with huge wide-open slopes.”
“I’ve also wanted to ski in Italy too as it’s one place I’ve never been to ski. Snow, sun, pasta and Italian wine – what could be better?”