Ole Einar Bjørndalen at the Blink Summer Ski Festival. Photo: Blink

Ole Einar Bjørndalen at the Blink Summer Ski Festival. Photo: Blink

The annual BLINK summer ski festival is expecting World Cup racers from 17 nations.

It’s summer, but skiers have lots to look forward to long before the snow falls: The traditional BLINK summer ski festival in Sandnes (NOR) at the end of July attracts elite skiers and biathletes from all the top teams.

Madshus racers are among the top contenders in all disciplines, from marathon to cross-country and biathlon, sprint and uphill races.

The 2016 BLINK festival runs from July 27 to 30, with World Cup level racers from almost 20 nations: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Japan, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Austria, Italy, France, USA, Canada, Belgium, Bulgaria, Great Britain and Switzerland.

As of June 15, there 950 racers entered for the opening uphill race Lysebotn OPP and 1220 racers entered for the city center cross-country and biathlon competitions, including 15-20 national teams: 100 senior men cross-country, 50 senior women cross-country, 70 senior men biathlon, 50 senior women biathlon.

Among the top Madshus racers on the start list: Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (xc), Heidi Weng (xc), Pål Golberg (xc), Simen Andreas Sveen (xc), Ole Einar Bjørndalen (biathlon), Marte Olsbu (biathlon), all from Norway. Also, French biathlete Anaïs Bescond, German national team cross-country racers Hanna Kolb, Sandra Ringwald, Monique Siegel and Tim Tscharnke, as well as Swedish racers Markus Ottosson and Fredrik Bytröm.

Also, 240 racers are entered for the brand new Blink Classics long-distance roller ski race, and several of the professional marathon teams are present: Stian Hoelgaard (Team Leaseplan GO), Johan Kjølstad and John Kristian Dahl (Team United Bakeries), as well as Øystein Pettersen (Madshus Marathon team).

Heidi Weng in the Lysebotn Opp roller ski race last summer. Photo: Blink

Heidi Weng in the Lysebotn Opp roller ski race last summer. Photo: Blink