“I’m going to bungee jump this summer, and I have no idea why I agreed to do that, because I’m way too scared,” says Ingvild Flugstad Østberg of the Norwegian national cross-country team.

The Madshus racer promised a friend they would go do the bungee jump together this summer as a Christmas present, when summer seemed comfortably far away.

“But hopefully, it’ll be a little fun too. And I’d totally regret it if I chickened out,” she adds with a laugh.

Aside from the bungee jump trip, Østberg doesn’t have a lot of plans for the summer besides training on her own. There are no national team camps in July, so she will take the opportunity to be at home.

“I travel so much during the season,” she says. Østberg estimates she easily puts in 80 hours of training per month in June, July and August.

Overall, Østberg is pleased with her season.

“Of course, there were some ups and downs. But during Tour de Ski I had my first top-10 World Cup finish, and I was 14th overall. And then I was third in the sprint at nationals, behind Marit Bjørgen and Maiken Caspersen Falla. And I won the pursuit at the U23 Worlds,” Østberg says.

“There were some races that didn’t go so well, but this was my first season at the senior level, and you can’t expect to rule the course all the time. The margins are so small when you are competing with the best, and you can’t just play it safe and still expect to place well, like you can get away with sometimes at the junior level. I ski faster this year than I did last year, and that was my goal,” Østberg says.

Long term, Østberg has a lot of goals and ambition, but she realizes that she has to be patient.

“Sometime in the future I want to be the best in the world. But there is a long road ahead, there are no shortcuts, and I have to be patient. I see that Marit Bjørgen is at her peak right now, and she’s 10 years older than me,” Østberg says, noting that she’ll go after it step by step.

School: To study or not to study?

This spring, Østberg finished her Associates Degree in business at Gjøvik. She has gone to school part time for the past two years, and by the end of the summer she has to decide whether to stay in school and work toward a Bachelor Degree or take a season off. It’s a hard choice, she says.

“Right now I have to opportunity to see what it’s like to take a season off from school. You have to take some chances if you want to get better. I can always go back to school,” Østberg says. She explains that so often, girls want to do everything out of duty, and that sometimes she really likes having school, but there are definitely times when she wished she didn’t have to worry about it.

But right now, it’s summer, and she plans to enjoy it.

“I like relaxing in the sun and reading a book. I like hanging out with friends and not stress about anything. But I need variety, and sometimes I really want to do something too,” Østberg says.