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What a way to start the season

Hans Christer Holund was twice on the podium in equally many attempts in the season opener at Beitostølen this weekend. Photo: Geir Olsen

Madshus racers posted seven podiums at the Norwegian cross-country and biathlon season opener events this weekend.

Marte Olsbu (NOR) won the biathlon mass start at Sjusjøen (NOR) on Sunday, with Anaïs Bescond (FRA) in second place.

“It was really fun. I did exactly what I set out to do and it worked,” Olsbu said after her race.

Olsbu became the first Norwegian woman to ever win the season opener in Sjusjøen.

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Marte Olsbu (NOR) won the season opener at Sjusjøen on Sunday. File photo: Nordic Focus

Marte Olsbu (NOR) won the season opener at Sjusjøen on Sunday. File photo: Nordic Focus

Heidi Weng and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg were second and third, respectively, at the 10km classic race that opened the Beitostølen season opener in Norway on Friday morning.

“It felt really good but very painful at the same time, almost unusually painful. But it was really fun to race again and go really hard,” Østberg said after her first race of the season.

Weng admits that she was nervous before the start, but relieved to finish second.

“I didn’t feel like I skied super fast up the hills, and I never thought I would be on the podium today, so I’m super excited about the race. It was really fun, and I’m really happy to be back in the racing again,” she said.

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Heidi Weng was second in the 10km classic race at Beitostølen on Friday. Foto: Geir Olsen

Heidi Weng was second in the 10km classic race at Beitostølen on Friday. Foto: Geir Olsen

In the afternoon Hans Christer Holund finished third in the men’s 15km classic. The young Madshus racer Johan Hoel finished fifth after leading much of the race and impressed both fellow racers and the experts.

“This is by far the best race I’ve done at Beitostølen ever. I feel like I have a lot to prove after a bad season last year, and hope to be a part of the mix when the national team is naming the 2018 Winter Olympics team,” Hoel said to reporters after his race.

Holund was content with his third place in the first event of the season.

“My main focus for this season is to race well at the World Cup and secure a spot on the Olympic team. In order to do that, I need to race well from the start, so these races are important,” explained Holund, who followed up with second place in the 15km skate race on Sunday.

Weng also concluded her weekend with another podium on Sunday. She was third in the 10km skate race.

Hans Christer Holund was twice on the podium in equally many attempts in the season opener at Beitostølen this weekend. Photo: Geir Olsen

Hans Christer Holund was twice on the podium in equally many attempts in the season opener at Beitostølen this weekend. Photo: Geir Olsen

 

What a Season Opener!

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg won the 10-kilometer season opener at Beitostølen on Friday, and was third in the 10-kilometer skate race on Saturday. Photo: Geir Olsen
Ingvild Flugstad Østberg won the 10-kilometer season opener at Beitostølen on Friday, and was third in the 10-kilometer skate race on Saturday. Photo: Geir Olsen

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg won the 10-kilometer season opener at Beitostølen on Friday, and was third in the 10-kilometer skate race on Saturday. Photo: Geir Olsen

Heidi Weng and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg turned the national season opener at Beitostølen into their podium party, Pål Golberg and Simen Sveen both delivered podiums at Beitostølen, and Krista Pärmakoski won in Finland.

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg opened her 2017 season by winning the 10-kilometer classic race at Beitostølen on Friday, with Heidi Weng in second place. 13 seconds separated the two Madshus racers, but the duo had a minute gap down to third place.

“I’m almost surprised that I did so well in the first race. I have felt good in training all summer and fall, but the last week felt a little harder. But I felt like I skied well, and it was fun to win the first race,” Østberg said after the victory.

On Saturday, Weng posted another second place in the 10-kilometer skate race, with Østberg in third place.

“This is my best season opener at Beitostølen ever. I don’t usually ski very fast in the first events, so it’s fun to do well here,” Weng said.

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Heidi Weng was 2nd in the 10-kilometer skate race at Beitostølen (NOR) on Saturday. Photo: Geir Olsen

Heidi Weng was 2nd in the 10-kilometer skate race at Beitostølen (NOR) on Saturday. Photo: Geir Olsen

Additionally, Madshus racer Simen Andreas Sveen was third in the men’s 15-kilometer skate race on Saturday. The 29-year-old is currently pursuing his racing career outside the Norwegian national team, and needed to ski well at Beitostølen in order to be considered for World Cup events later this season.

“I hope I will have a chance to ski the World Cup mini tour at Lillehammer in two weeks, and that I ski well enough there to be selected for the World Cup in Davos the following week. I have two main goals for the season, and those are the 30-kilometer skate at the World Cup in Davos, and the 50-kilometer skate at the World Championships in Lahti later this winter, so I really needed to post some good results here this weekend,” Sveen says.

Finally, on Sunday, Pål Golberg hauled in to second place in the skate sprint. Golberg is aiming for a spot on the Norwegian World Cup team for the mini tour in Lillehammer the first week in December. Performing well on home turf in Lillehammer is an important application for a chance to represent Norway at the Lahti (FIN) Championships in February. Accordingly, racing well at the Beitostølen season opener was crucial in order to keep those doors open, now that Golberg is racing outside the core of the Norwegian national team and has to qualify for the individual events.

Also this weekend, Madshus racer Krista Pärmakoski (FIN) won the women’s 10-kilometer classic race in Rovaniemi (FIN) on Sunday. She was second in the skate sprint on Saturday.

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Simen Sveen was third in the 15-kilometer skate race at Beitostølen. Photo: Geir Olsen

Simen Sveen was third in the 15-kilometer skate race at Beitostølen. Photo: Geir Olsen

The 2017 FIS cross-country World Cup opens in Ruka (FIN) this coming weekend and consists of with 12 rounds including Tour de Ski and two mini tours. Additionally, the 2017 FIS Nordic World Championships are held in Lahti (FIN) from February 22 to March 5.

2017 FIS World Cup Schedule
Nov 26-27: Ruka (FIN)
Dec 2-4: Lillehammer (NOR) mini tour
Dec 10-11: Davos (SUI)
Dec 17-18: La Clusaz (FRA)
Dec 31-Jan 8: Tour de Ski
Jan 14-15: Toblach (ITA)
Jan 21-22: Ulricehamn (SWE)
Jan 28-29: Falun (SWE)
Feb 3-5: PyeongChang (KOR)
Feb 18-19: Otepää (EST)
March 8: Drammen (NOR)
March 11-12: Oslo (NOR)
March 16-19: Tyumen (RUS) mini tour

A Solid Start to the 2016 Season

Hans Christer Holund (NOR)
Hans Christer Holund (NOR)

Hans Christer Holund (NOR)

Madshus racers posted five podium finishes and a good number of strong performances during the FIS season opener in Beitostølen (NOR).

Heidi Weng (NOR) was second in the women’s 7.5-kilometer classic race on Friday. Hans Christer Holund (NOR) started his first season on the Norwegian national team with two podiums in a row: Third place in the 15-km classic on Friday, and second place in the 15-km skate on Saturday. Finally, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) and Pål Golberg (NOR) were second and third, respectively, in the classic sprint competitions on Sunday.

Complete results from the Beitostølen season opener 

“It was really fun to be on the podium today after skiing fast enough to be on the podium, not because someone faster than me was disqualified,” said Holund after the skate race on Saturday.

And although there was a 47-second gap up to Martin Johnsrud Sundby, who won 15-kilometer skate race, Holund is satisfied with his season opener.

“Martin (Johnsrud Sundby) is in a league of his own. I have never been even close to him in skate or classic. For me, it was great to feel that my body felt good and that I am able to ski fast again,” Holund said.

During an altitude camp with the national team recently in Val Senales, Italy, Holund was evacuated off the glacier during a workout. Holund felt weak even at the start of the workout, and it just got worse. Suddenly, he was gasping for air and struggling to stay conscious. He was airlifted to the hospital and underwent a battery of tests. Ultimately, doctors could not find anything wrong.

“I have to take their word for it, but I’m still curious given that it happened so suddenly and during an easy workout rather than while doing intervals,” Holund said to Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten. But Holund admits that it was a scary experience.

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Hans Christer Holund during the 15-kilometer skate race at Beitostølen on Saturday.

Hans Christer Holund during the 15-kilometer skate race at Beitostølen on Saturday.

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) opened the ski season with an impressive statement of her dryland training effort: She skied the women’s 7.5-kilometer course entirely without kick wax, and cruised into an impressive fifth place, as one of only four women opting for no kick.

“I am glad I did it and tried it. It was a combination of peer pressure and my own curiosity. It kind of feels like people wanted to sacrifice me to see if it could be done, and I had a chance to show that it is possible (to double-pole the whole course). It would have been even more fun if I could have been a few seconds faster and made it to the podium,” Østberg said, admitting that it was a spur of the moment decision.

At the very last minute before her start, she grabbed the skate skis and headed out.

“I don’t regret going all double-pole, but there were a couple of places on the course where I really would have loved to have some kick. I am a fan of traditional diagonal striding so I don’t really know why I did this. But it was kind of fun too,” the 25-year-old said after the race.

For the skate race the next day, Østberg commented that she was a bit more tired than expected and sore different places than normal, but despite the toll on her And by the end og the weekend, she moved on to the podium placing second in the classic sprint on Sunday.

Will she ditch the kick wax again?

“Maybe. But I doubt I will do this again in Kuusamo (at the FIS World Cup opener the last weekend in November). If I do, I am stupid,” she said with a big grin.

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Østberg Beito 680x

Heidi Weng opened her season with a strong second place in the 7.5-kilometer classic on Friday, and a fifth place in the skate race on the same course on Saturday.

Finally, Pål Golberg (NOR) was third in the classic sprint on Sunday, after leading the final heat most of the way through the course.

Furthermore, Oestberg, Weng and Golberg are all skiers who are known to race themselves into shape, so the season opener weekend was a strong statement of what’s to come.

No doubt, the skiers are looking forward to the 2016 FIS World Cup, which gets underway with a mini-tour in Kuusamo, Finland, November 27-29. Let the season begin!

2016 Season Kick-Off

Pål Golberg (NOR) at the 2014 FIS skate race at Beitostølen. Photo: Inge Scheve
Pål Golberg (NOR) at the 2014 FIS skate race at Beitostølen. Photo: Inge Scheve

Pål Golberg (NOR) at the 2014 FIS skate race at Beitostølen. Photo: Inge Scheve

The 2016 FIS season opener at Beitostølen (NOR) includes both cross-country and Nordic combined competitions, scheduled from Friday morning through Sunday.

Strong and deep field
The cross-country events are open to the top 140 male skiers (domestic and international athletes combined) based on the current FIS ranking list. For the men, the FIS point cutoff is expected to be around 125 points. For the women, the race field is limited to entered racers with 250 FIS points or less.

Aside from Norwegian skiers, World Cup racers from France, Germany, Sweden, Japan, Canada, Denmark, Spain, Russia and Great Britain are on the start list in both the men’s and the women’s events.

Preliminary start lists (published Tuesday) HERE

The season opener weekend starts with a 7.5-kilometer individual start classic race for women and a 15-kilometer individual start classic race for men. Saturday features a 7.5-kilometer individual start skate race for women and a 15-kilometer individual start skate race for men. The season kick-off at Beitostølen concludes on Sunday with classic sprint events for both men and women.

Heidi Weng (NOR) is on the start list for the 2016 FIS Season opener at Beitostølen (NOR) this weekend. Photo: Nordic Focus

Heidi Weng (NOR) is on the start list for the 2016 FIS Season opener at Beitostølen (NOR) this weekend. Photo: Nordic Focus

Modified racecourse
Although the snow situation has been tough leading up to the races, the events will be held according to schedule.

However, the racecourse has been cut from 5km to 3.75km, and the course will be closed to the public and all other users prior to and during the FIS competitions. Registered racers will be allowed onto the course on Thursday morning, before the competitions.

Exceptionally warm and wet conditions early this month were rough on the snow that was stored from last winter and placed on the course prior to the October 30 opening of the stadium courses. However, with the warm conditions, the snow quickly started melting, and the organizers were forced to close the venue to protect the snow for the season opener races this coming weekend.

“The organizers have put down tarps and salted the course, this week the organizers will be trucking in fresh snow from Filefjell, and once the temperature drops sufficiently they will start snow production with traditional snow making equipment,” says Terje Lund at the Norwegian Ski Association, adding that the forecast calls for colder weather this week.

Additionally, the race organizers have trucked in fresh snow from the mountains at Filefjell all week, so there will be adequate snow cover for the races, reports confirm.

With this weekend’s races, the FIS season is formally under way. The 2016 season continues with national season openers like popcorn the next few weeks leading up to FIS World Cup season opener, which takes place in Kuusamo (FIN) the last weekend in November.

 

Testing – testing!

Spring skiing at Beitostoelen. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus
Beitostoelen provided the perfect testing ground for upcoming products and fine-tuning. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus

Beitostoelen provided the perfect testing ground for upcoming products and fine-tuning. Photo: Stefano Zatta/Madshus

Madshus athletes and engineers are taking advantage of the late season snow to fine-tune the gear for the 2016 season and experiment with some brand new concept ideas.

Last week engineers from both the factory in Biri, Norway, and the K2 corporate headquarters in Seattle, USA, gathered at Beitostoelen in Norway to test all the new products in the ski, boots and poles categories.

“It’s been a fantastic week at Beito. We’ve had a chance to test in all kinds of conditions. In the beginning of the week, we had a lot of wind and some snow, but by the end of the week it was spectacularly sunny and amazing,” says Stefano Zatta, who works on graphics and layout at the Madshus factory in Biri.

Lead ski engineer Bjoern Ivar Austrem, boot engineer John Svensson and category manager for boots and poles Jon Fewster met with World Cup racers such as Noah Hoffman from the USA, Paal Golberg and Simen Sveen from Norway as well as legendary veteran Thomas Alsgaard, who now owns and manages his own racing project Team LeaseplanGO with racers competing both on the marathon circuit as well as in the traditional cross-country events. The crew tested relentlessly for hours every day, making notes and tweaks to perfect every product on all performance levels and in all categories, from touring and backcountry to World Cup. Stay tuned!

“Most of the gear we tested was products that will be for retail sale in the fall of 2016, but we have also put some of the concept products and designs on the snow this week. The concept products are designs that we are just testing to see if they even work. Some of them will be amazing, and some will never make it to standard production,” Zatta explains, adding that even the marketing and graphic design crew joined the testing.

“We had marketing and strategy meetings in the morning, but almost all of us took advantage of the opportunity to ski with the athletes after the meetings. It was really fun to ski next to some of the top racers in the world,” says Zatta.

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