- World champion Henrik Kristoffersen finished in seventh place on Saturday
This is the astonishing moment a Norwegian skier had to be restrained as he lunged at eco activists disrupting the Alpine Skiing World Cup in Gurgl, Austria today.
Henrik Kristoffersen, Norway’s most successful slalom skier, was seen being pulled away from protestors while officials dragged others off the slopes in what became a dramatic interruption to the slalom event.
With fiver skiers left to go, the race was interrupted as Last Generation activists sat spray painted the ice, held signs and sat behind the finish line with five skiers yet to finish.
Speaking over the footage, Eurosport commentators said the protestors were ‘trying their best to disrupt the sport to be honest which the fans seem to disagree with more than anybody’.
Kristoffersen was seen pointing at the protestors, visibly agitated as officials and police tried to hold him back. ‘It’s so disrespectful,’ Kristoffersen told Norway’s national broadcaster NRK. ‘Say what you want, vote and try to change things from there. But don’t ruin it for people. It’s completely disgusting.’
‘He just loves the sport so much. He’s getting upset by it,’ one commentator said.
‘That’s the type of skier that this young lad is. He wears his heart on his sleeve,’ said a co-host.
Manuel Feller ultimately won the first slalom event of the season in the Austrian village of Gurgl, finishing with a combined time of one minute, 47.23 seconds.
Marco Schwarz finished second (1:47.46) with Matt Michael placing third (1:48.28).
The race was the first since the shock retirement of reigning World Cup champion Lucas Braathen last month, an Olympics report noted.
Filling in, Norwegian world champion Henrik Kristoffersen finished in seventh place with a combined time of 1:48.43.
‘Not too far off the podium on a bad day, but a lot of work to be done a head of the next races in Val d’Isere,’ the skier wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
‘Today’s situation during the second round will divide a lot of opinions, but I am one to take action if I feel injustice.
‘There is no doubt that the climate is a huge issue, and I don’t want to oppress that. However, disruption of a cultural event will never be the time or place.
‘For most of the athletes, this is their everything. At least four racers got their race ruined today, and that is injustice in my eyes.
‘Thank you for all the support I have received.’
TV cameras earlier today picked up Kristoffersen and Croatian Filip Zubcic throwing snowballs at the demonstrators.
‘(Zubcic) hit one protester in the head. He was happy with that,’ Kristoffersen told NRK.
Last Generation – or Letzte Generation – was founded in 2021 and operational in Germany, Italy and Austria.
The group is known for its road protests, staging 276 road blockages in Germany alone throughout 2022.
Eco-protestors have been involved in a number of sports disruptions in recent months, looking to draw attention to their cause.
In May, Just Stop Oil protestors disrupted the rugby Premiership Cup Final in Twickenham, London.
The protesters stormed the pitch shortly after the game between Sale Sharks and Saracens got underway, to a chorus of boos from furious rugby fans.
Crowds were soon cheering triumphantly as quick-thinking staff removed them from the pitch.
England and Sale player Tom Curry lifted one of the protesters by his trousers as he gave staff a hand in removing him from the pitch.
In April, another protestor made headlines when they climbed onto the snooker table during a World Championship match and threw orange paint all over it.
Edred Whittingham, 25, boasted that the stunt got ‘exactly the response we hoped’ after he and a fellow protester caused chaos during the live match.
He said after being released by police: ‘By disrupting the snooker, we got exactly the response we hoped for: mass publicity, millions of conversations and hundreds of people signing up for action.
‘Until the Government does the right thing and ends all new fossil fuel licenses and consents, direct action will continue to have a role in keeping the issue salient and at the forefront of the national (and international) conversation.’