Alois Kälin developed his skiing talents during the mid-to-late 1950s and earned his first national title in 1958. His first major international tournament was the 1962 World Championships, where he failed to reach the podium, and he followed this up with an appearance at the 1964 Winter Olympics, where he was 12th in the Nordic combined and 20th and 9th in cross-country skiing’s 50 km and 4x10 km relay respectively. He finally achieved success at the 1966 Nordic Ski World Championships, where he took bronze in the Nordic combined. He then entered the 1968 Winter Olympics as a favourite alongside West Germany’s Franz Keller, the 1966 silver medalist (the 1966 gold medalist, Georg Thoma, had retired). In the Nordic combined event, Keller won the ski jumping portion, while Kälin was victorious in the 15 km, but the latter’s poor score in the jumping cost him the gold. Nonetheless Kälin’s silver was the first Olympic Nordic combined medal won by Switzerland. He also finished 5th in the 4x10 km relay and 23rd in the 50 km at these Games.
Kälin’s Olympic career, however, was not yet over. At the 1972 edition, after placing 7th in the 30 km and 17th in the 15 km, he joined Albert Giger, Edi Hauser, and Fredel Kälin to win a bronze medal in the 4x10 km relay, Switzerland’s first Olympic medal in the cross-country skiing relay. He remains, as of 2010, the last skier to win medals in both Nordic combined and cross-country skiing. After retiring from active competition, he entered the business world and, as of 2014, operates a sporting goods store in Einsiedeln.