Kari Traa, Norwegian ski star, fashion designer

Kari Traa

Kari Traa of Norway is one of the best mogul skiers of all time

The Norwegian superstar is now a successful fashion designer, businesswoman, and popular celebrity in her home country.

She has her own line of clothing, which makes her unique among female Norwegian sports stars.

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Born on January 28, 1974 in Voss, Norway, Kari Traa, was for many years the world's best mogul skier. Today she is a fashion designer, with her own collection of outdoor apparel, abusinesswoman, and a celebrity in Norway.

Traa is four times World Champion, from 2001 (in the moguls and parallel moguls) and 2003 (moguls and parallel moguls). She also has three silver medals (both moguls and parallel moguls in 1999, and moguls in 2005). She has a total of 37 World Cup victories and is arguably the best female mogul skier ever.

Kari, how did you become a mogul skier?

Kari Traa

Kari Traa strikes a daring pose

I've always been daring, and I love speed and power. I have been skiing all my life. I was seven years when I first started skiing, and I was fifteen when I started mogul skiing. It was actually a coincidence. There was a competition in Voss, Norway where I am from. I was watching, and one of the trainers came and asked me to join, so I said yes. After the competition another trainer came and asked me to join the junior international mogul skiing team.

Who inspired you as a kid?

Pippi Longstocking [the character invented by Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren]. Maybe it was because I was just as crazy as she is. I think I found myself in her. My mogul skiing idol was Stine Lise Hattestad. She has always been a wonderful person and a great talent. She gave us newcomers good advice and was always friendly to us.

You won your first big race way back in 1997 in Canada. How was that?

I was number five after the qualification round. During the final heat, I was very calm. Actually, I was incredibly surprised when they told me that I'd won the competition.

Tell us about the gold you won at the Salt Lake City Olympic Games.

I'd won five of six competitions, and I knew I had chance to win. The slope was extremely difficult and hard to get to know. Everyone made some mistakes, even I. My boots were too tight, and I got a cramp. When I was done, I didn't know what had happened. I was shocked when they said I was the winner.

As a skiing superstar, you are very easy to talk to. Are you ever a diva?

I try to be myself. I'm only human, and an Olympic gold medal doesn't make any difference to that.

You started your own line of clothing, karitraa.com. What's the inspiration behind that?

We didn't have any special inspiration, but we think it's important that clothes are comfortable. The designers use happy colors, because I'm a happy person most of the time. There are no other female Norwegian sport stars with her own clothing range, so that's pretty cool.

What are your interests outside of skiing?

I love parachute jumping. It gives you an enormous adrenaline kick, a feeling beyond words. A lot of mogul skiers are parachute jumpers. I think it's because both we're all a bit crazy.

Thanks to Daria.no

By Athina Simonidou