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Meet Liz Stephen

Liz Stephen.
Photo: U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team
Liz Stephen. Photo: U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team

Liz Stephen. Photo: U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team

The 30-year-old American has more than a decade’s tenure on the US Ski Team.

Elizabeth Stephen is one of the new faces in the 2017 Madshus line-up. The slight and springy racer from Vermont is known throughout the racing community as one of the best climbers in the world. She has been a part of the US Ski Team since 2007, and was a part of the 2010 and 2014 U.S. Olympic team, as well as the U.S. World Championship teams in 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015.

Why do you ski?
It’s fun. I love my team and I love the community of people that make up the ski world. From the time I joined my first ski team until now, the people are what keep me involved in the sport. I am a people person and the friendships I have formed during the years in the cross-country community are some of the closest ones I have. Oh, and I am addicted to the endorphins I get from exercising, and as a skier, I get to feel them a lot!

What keeps you motivated to race at this level year after year?
Again, it’s fun. Sport is just a game. Yes, of course, it is a game I take very seriously and professionally, but in the end, it is just a game. Nobody dies when you have a bad race, but it is in the trying to achieve a personal best that the game becomes really worth pursuing for me. Our US team is made up of a group of incredible humans, and they keep me motivated to be the best I can be, even on the days/weeks/months/years when you are in a slump. My team keeps me searching and pushing for more, as we are all in this thing together.

What is your best racing memory? – And your worst?
Best: Being on the 4x5k relay team when we stood on our first ever WC podium in that event, and every time since then.

Worst: Racing the Holmenkollen in 2010 and being absolutely exhausted on the start line. Not a fun course to be tired for!

What is your ultimate goal?
Result wise, it would have to be to help our team win a medal at the 2018 Games in the 4x5k relay. My life goal is to live as many days as I possibly can where I make a positive difference in someone else’s life.

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Liz Stephen (USA) at the World Cup/Pre-OLympics in, Pyeong Chang (KOR). Photo: NordicFocus

Liz Stephen (USA) at the World Cup/Pre-OLympics in Pyeongchang (KOR) in February. Photo: NordicFocus

How much do you typically train on an average week in November, just before the World Cup season opens?
About 18-20 hours

– And how are these hours divided among the usual elements (endurance/distance, intensity, speed, plyometrics/strength etc)?

1 structured speed session
2 strength sessions
2 intensity sessions

All of the rest are easy distance, with many of these sessions including some accelerations.

What is your favorite on-snow workout, and will you share that with the Madshus community?
I like pyramid intervals (1,2,3,4,3,2,1 or something similar) as I usually only do them when I am on snow and working on getting in shape. I assimilate peak fitness with these workouts so that makes them fun.

What is your best advice to young racers who aspire to go all the way to the World Cup?
Work your face off, and have fun doing it.

What is your favorite thing to do when you don’t ski or train?
Spending time outdoors with friends or family.

What is a fun fact about Liz – something most people don’t know about you?
Pigs are my favorite animals. They make me so happy when I see their little noses and curly tails and hear their snorts. I hope to own a farm someday.

 

“First place feels really special”

Benedikt Doll (GER) hauled into gold in the sprint on Saturday. Photo: Nordic Focus

The World Cup season is just around the corner. These are some of the racers to keep an eye on this winter.

Benedikt Doll (GER) hauled into gold in the sprint on Saturday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Benedikt Doll (GER) hauled into gold in the sprint at the 2017 IBU World Championships. Photo: Nordic Focus

Biathlon
Benedikt Doll (GER)
– the ambitious German from Titisee-Neustadt earned the gold in the sprint at the 2017 World Championships in Hochfilzen (Austria) in February, with a 0.7 second margin. This was his first individual World Championships gold medal, and only the third time in his entire career that Doll shot clean.

“It’s amazing. It’s unreal. First place feels really special,” Doll said to reporters after his race.

Doll also helped Germany to silver in the relay at the 2016 World Championships in Holmenkollen (Norway), and has several World Cup podiums and Junior World Championship medals.

Marte Olsbu (NOR) – the 26-year-old from Froland anchored Norway to gold in relay at the 2016 World Championships in Holmenkollen (Norway), and also helped Norway to the bronze medal in the mixed relay at the same championships. Olsbu comes into the season as the reigning Norwegian champion in the mass start event as well as the in summer biathlon, and eager to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang (South Korea) in February.

The 2018 IBU Biathlon World Cup opens with a full round of races in Lillehammer(NOR) November 22-26.

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Marte Olsbu (NOR) is aiming for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. Photo: Nordic Focus

Marte Olsbu (NOR) is aiming for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. Photo: Nordic Focus

Cross-country
Hans Christer Holund (NOR)
– a stayer at the World Cup level, the 28-year-old had his breakthrough at the international level in the 2016 season, posting several World-Cup podium finishes. Last season, he injured his shoulder in the final weeks prior to the season, but still managed to come back in time for the World Cup. This season, Holund has his eyes set on the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang (South Korea) in February. In July, he won the brutal uphill rollerski race Lysebotn Opp by a full minute, leaving the entire World Cup elite in the dust.

Hans Christer Holund (NOR) was 3rd in the 15km classic at the FIS World Cup in Otepaeae (EST). Photo: Nordic Focus

Hans Christer Holund (NOR) is coming off a flying World Cup season and going for more. Photo: Nordic Focus

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Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) – the strong all-round racer from Gjøvik, hardly needs further introduction. Performing in both distance and sprint races, Østberg has earned multiple World Cup podiums since her first appearance on the international circuit in November 2008. At the 2014 Olympics in Sochi (RUS), she helped Norway to gold in the team sprint and earned a silver medal in the sprint event. At the 2015 World Championships in Falun (SWE), she again helped Norway to gold in the team sprint. She was third in the overall 2017 World Cup, and with a total of 48 World Cup podiums and 105 top-10-finishes.

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Madshus dominated the Tour de Ski podium in Val Mustair (SUI) after the 5km classic mass start race: Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (center) won, with Heidi Weng (left) in 2nd place and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) in 3rd place. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (center), with Heidi Weng (left) and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) during the 2017 Tour de Ski in Val Müstair (SUI). Photo: Nordic Focus

Liz Stephen (USA) – New on the Madshus team this season, the 30-year-old from Vermont is known throughout the racing community as one of the best climbers in the world. She has been a part of the US Ski Team since 2007, and was a part of the 2010 and 2014 U.S. Olympic team, as well as the U.S. World Championship teams in 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015.

“I’m really excited to be on Madshus this season,” says Stephen, who is aiming for her third Olympics with the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang (South Korea).

The 2018 FIS World Cup season opens with a mini tour in Ruka (Finland) on November 24.

Liz Stephen (USA) at the World Cup/Pre-OLympics in, Pyeong Chang (KOR). Photo: NordicFocus

Liz Stephen (USA) at the World Cup/Pre-OLympics in, Pyeong Chang (KOR). Photo: NordicFocus

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