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The Times They Are A Changin´ - The Emil Stegfeldt story

The Times They Are A Changin´ - The Emil Stegfeldt story

Posted by Simon Tjernström

Photos by Adam Klingeteg

2019-10-03 11:33

The Times They Are A Changin´

The words came from the mouth of Bob Dylan and have been used ever since to describe a world rapidly changing. The ski scene is no exception.

Social media came in like a trojan horse and turned the world upside down. Contractual photo bonuses quickly changed to engagement on social platforms. Parts of the younger ski scene quickly understood how to grow a following in this new landscape.

adam klingeteg 3.jpgEmil plowing the deep stuff. Photo: Adam Klingeteg

The figurehead of the new generation of skiers is Emil Stegfeldt. In this new trench war one side is using social media as a spring board to the life they want. While the other side questions the authenticity. The proving grounds have moved from Bec de Rosses to a digital landscape and the collision takes place in the negotiation room where the contracts are signed.

And Jantelagen doesn’t have a social media profile.

This is the story of Emil Stegfeldt.
Sweden’s most controversial skier.

emil stegfeldt mountain.jpg– I’ve definitely notice the hate from the older generation - the same people I used to look up to. But I also see them trying hard to keep up with social media.

Emil Stegfeldt grew up in Malmö with two ski crazy parents. Every holiday the family went skiing in their cabin in Åre. That cabin changed to an apartment in Saalbach where they spent the days skiing with their family friends Elofssons.

– Felix Elofsson found mogul skiing and I was looking for a way to leave Malmö. We both did good and got accepted to the ski academy in Järpen. I guess it’s there it all started.

Adam klingeteg 6.jpgPhoto: Adam Klingeteg

The mogul career climaxed with some descent results at the European Cup and at Junior World Championships, but the aim was always set at the freeriding. At the spring, aged 16, he hung the Scandinavian Big Mountain Championship bib over his jacket for the first time. He got lost on his way down but a few years later he did a little better.

– The year after I was 10th going into the final run. But I got lost again and skied a line where people thought I was going to die. The third year competing I got fifth and got sponsored from Helly Hansen. After that I started to focus more on freeriding.

Last couple of years Emil has been competing on the FWQ tour with a 7th place at Engadine Snow 3* as best results. But it’s his followers that cause people to raise their eyebrows.

On social media Emil is A LOT bigger than Reine Barkered, Kristoffer Turdell and Carl Regnér put together. Dedication to his social media channels have made Emil to a star with bigger reach than most of Sweden’s top skiers.

– I think it’s cool that there is another way to go besides trying to be the best skier you can these days. If you’re driven you can make a living out what you think is fun - like skiing. But I’m also a bit torn. I think it’s wrong the world’s best skiers have to focus and put energy into social media. If you’re that good at skiing i think there should be another way to go besides being a content creator. But you can’t deny the power of social media these days.

– If you’re a good content creator - It can be as inspiring to watch as the world’s greatest skiers.

38686874030_7ee7fdd877_o.jpgHis role models have shifted some over the years. As a kid Henrik Windstedt and Sean Pettit was his heroes.

– The last couple of years I’ve been looking up to Jon Olsson. A little cliche, I know but come on, the guy really have succeeded. I think it’s inspiring to see his switch from skiing to youtube, that he is so good at presenting himself the way he wants.

The abrasion between young and old works both as a motivator and a de-motivator. Proving himself towards the people not respecting there is a new way is what makes him want to get out there and do better. But not always.

– Right now I’m so unmotivated due to people bashing me. I get really sick and tired.


– Stop being so damn narrow minded! Why can’t you let people explore new ways of being a skier?

Emil’s latest post on instagram got over 5000 likes and 100 comments in less than a day. Standing on top of a mountain. All pictures in his feed look as good as they get. He is handsome, explores the world and skis the deepest of powder. His fans draws portraits of him and his smile could split the sea.

Many people who are not interested in skiing follows Emil as he is going to another FWQ competition. The big pro’s also follows, if yet a little loathing.

Stegfeldt japangrab into the sun.jpgBob Dylan was booed of stage when he switched to an electric guitar 25 July 1965. Folk singers don’t play electric was the common conception those days. That narrow minded attitude is a laughing matter today.

The times they are a changin’ but controversies will always come and go. Emil Stegfeldt hits the nail on the head with his last words.

– If you’re good enough at what you do, the rest will follow.

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