What is working so well for you this season?
I am not sure I have a good answer to that. I have matured in many ways during the training season. I focused more on quality. I trained exceptionally well. Strangely, the last training season was also the period I had the most sick days. Earlier in my career, I was rarely ill. However, I realised that longer breaks due to illness rested my body. I entered the fall training with an abundance of energy. I have never felt so good in fall training.
You are the fastest skier in the World Cup, faster even than the mighty JT Boe. Do you feel it is due to the improved technique or physical preparation?
Technique. I was fast in the past but not on this season’s level and not so consistently. I trained hard on my technique, especially on the easy high-speed training. I have used that in Ruhpolding, where I had never performed well.
You got married last summer and looked like one of the happiest men on Earth. Has a marriage/settled life brought a further/new level of stability to your biathlon?
I really like having a ‘normal’ life outside the biathlon. After the wedding, my private life is very stable and comfortable. That gives me peace of mind and enables me to perform on an extremely highly competitive level.
Your name is also longer. Have many people asked you why?
Oh, yes, many! I took Kristina’s name as well. That is where Skjevdal comes from. Many people had asked me about why I did it. It is quite common in Norway. We had a long discussion about which order of names to take. We have each built alliances with our friends. In the end, Kristina got her way with Dale-Skjevdal. You know what they say: Happy wife, happy life!
How is it to live within the Norwegian team where almost any competition is a qualifying competition to stay in the World Cup (or any other level)?
It is simply crazy. The level of athletes in Norway is extremely high; you need to perform at a very high level just to race in the World Cups. To give you an example: Vebjoern Soerum achieved a podium in the Sprint in Oestersund, yet needed to go back to the IBU Cup at the beginning of 2024. It is very tough to swallow knowing you have the level to be in the World Cup, but there are not enough spots on your team. At the same time, we have achieved such a high performance level, because we push each other on a daily basis. I am just very happy to have the level I have this season and can compete in the competitions of my choice.
Five years ago, you made your successful World Cup debut in Nove Mesto na Morave. What memories do you have?
I remember it very well. It was my first season in the IBU Cup. I completed two weeks in the IBU Cup and went straight to the World Cup in Nove Mesto. It felt huge for me, and the crowd in Nove Mesto only elevated that feeling. I remember the fan’s noise and having strong feelings about being able to compete with the Boe brothers and the rest of the team. On top, I shot 10/10.
How does the venue suit your style of biathlon?
I think so. It is a very challenging track, and you get very exhausted. But the tracks suit my skiing style and - with my current shape - even more so. I also like the shooting range. With huge crowds, it should be World Championships to remember.
What would make for a successful World Championships for you? Repeat Pokljuka 2021 (one individual silver and one individual bronze). Or more?
I had a highly successful World Championships in Pokljuka 2021 with two individual medals and one fourth-place finish. I feel more ready to take medals than three years ago. I feel more like a complete biathlete. I am already visualising races in Nove Mesto. Things seem aligned for me. I am ready.