Aleksander Kilde is currently the world’s leading male alpine ski racer - winning the “Blue Riband” men’s Downhills in Kitzbuhel and Wengen in both 2022 and 2023. That’s one hell of an achievement. The 30-year- old Norwegian dates Mikaela Shiffrin - the world’s leading female skier and a US Superstar. My idea for photographing Aleksander was to play on his Norwegian heritage and specifically the country’s fabled past in polar expedition. I wanted to tell a wider story than simply acknowledging his skiing achievements no matter how estimable they may be. Alex is an elite athlete who cuts a suave and refined figure. I thought we could create some visual tension if he was surrounded by archetypal explorers from the Amundsen days, all boasting ice coated beards and a weathered look: so giving a nod to their uncompromising lifestyle and the conditions they endure. There was not much light to play with on set in Oslo, but just enough to play on the facial detail of each explorer. They look a formidable ensemble. The good thing about doing this shoot in Norway, is that extras are not hard to find. The Norwegians are a tough bunch and they do some things far better than other nations in the world - alpine sport and polar exploration being two. But it seems they excel these days at most sports: tennis; golf and, of course, as we all know in Europe, they are producing the odd decent footballer as well.