Picking up where they left in the spring: on the top of the podium

Picking up where they left in the spring: on the top of the podium

After a soft start to the race season in Finland last week, there was plenty more action this weekend.

At the Norwegian national season opener in Beitostølen, there was plenty to fight for, including the last ticket to the World Cup opener in Ruka (FIN) on November 26 to 28.

Harald Østberg Amundsen put in a strong bid for that last World Cup spot by winning the 15-kilometer skate race on Sunday, and finishing seventh in the 15-kilometer classic race on Saturday.

“It was awesome to be on the top of the podium today. And it was incredibly good to kick off the season with two solid races. That relieves a lot of pressure,” Amundsen says.

On the women’s side, rising US talent Sophie Laukli shows off her potential. After a strong 15th place in the 10-kilometer classic race on Saturday, she caps off her season opener with seventh place in the 10-kilometer skate race on Sunday. On both days, the 21-year-old from Maine beat both national team racers and veteran World Cup skiers.

“Doing well here feels really good. My skis were really very, very good, I managed to pace myself better than I have in the past, and I am really excited to go and race the World Cup opener in Finland,” Laukli says.

While Laukli is part Norwegian and has skied since she was very young, it wasn’t until just a few years ago that Laukli started focusing on cross-country skiing year-round.

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Sophie Laukli was 7th in 10 kilometer skate race at Beitostølen on Sunday, but got to spend some time in the queen seat reserved for the race leader as well. Photo: Inge Scheve

Also, Ski Classics marathon specialist Astrid Øyre Slind (NOR) pulls off two strong days of racing, finishing top 10 both days, as did comeback-kid Karoline Simpson-Larsen (NOR) who is back after nearly a year without racing.

Additionally, Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) continues her podium sweep. After winning the season opener last weekend, the 30-year-old World Cup veteran won both the skate and the classic race at the Finnish national cup this weekend.

Next up is the FIS Nordic World Cup season opener in Ruka (FIN) on November 26 to 28, and the IBU biathlon World Cup opener in Östersund (SWE) starting November 27.

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