Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) won Skarverennet 2017 and posted a new course record. Photo: Skarverennet

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) won Skarverennet 2017 and posted a new course record. Photo: Skarverennet

Winning Skarverennet put the season in perspective for Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR).

The 26-year-old won Skarverennet on Saturday, beating Marit Bjørgen (NOR) by 46 seconds and posting a new course record in the process.

“I had great skis and I am super motivated to start the next season,” said Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, who clocked in at 1:30:20.

Fellow Madshus racer Krista Pärmakoski (FIN) was third.

The 37-kilometer skate event from Finse to Ustaoset has long been considered an unofficial season finale, and regularly attracts World Cup skiers from both cross-country and biathlon. For Østberg, winning Skarverennet was a much-appreciated bonus at the end of a somewhat challenging season.

“Winning here has reminded me why I love this. I’m not tired of skiing, of training or putting in the effort that is required at this level. Now I’m super excited to get going on the new ski season, which starts in May, and I’m looking forward to put in the hours,” she said to Norwegian broadcasters NRK after the race.

Østberg admits that there were times this winter when she felt that things were not lining up right.

“A lot of people around me kept reminding me of all the good performances ive had, all my podium finishes, and that many of my races this winter were my best so far. While the World Championships were disappointing, I realize that there are a lot of racers who would have liked to have a season like mine. I have to keep that in mind,” Østberg explains.