By Johan Trygg
A strong Visma Ski Classics profile puts his skis on the shelf - Anton Karlsson, Lager 157 Ski Team.
“I found the right way when I got into long distance skiing. I developed and became the best skier I could become,” says 31-year-old Anton Karlsson.
Anton Karlsson stepped into Visma Ski Classics full time in season VIII, 2017-2018. Karlsson immediately showed his strong sprint ability and won the green Sprint bib. An achievement he also repeated in season IX.
Anton missed the whole season X, when he had back surgery for herniated discs.
In Season XI, he was back with a big goal, to win Vasaloppet. It ended with a second-place behind Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Team XPND Fuel of Norway. Anton’s first and only podium place in the Pro Tour during his career.
Anton thought it would be the last season already during the autumn. When the season didn’t start as well as he had hoped, he felt that it was definitely. What could change it was second place at Vasaloppet.
“So when I finished second, I had to think a little bit about it again, but I ended up pretty quickly that it was the right decision to quit. I was not prepared to make the sacrifices required for family and friends. I wouldn’t feel good if I continued and didn’t give one hundred percent,” says Anton.
What are you going to do now?
“We’ll see what happens. It would be fun to continue in the skiing world in some way, or economics where I have my education.”
What are you most happy about during your career?
“The achievement and the work I did to come back after the back surgery is what I am most proud of and also, the fact that I have been so dedicated for so long, I was not a super talent, but I have believed in myself all the time.
What has been the most fun?
“I liked to compete in shorter distances before I started with long distance skiing, but then I found the right way when I got into long distance skiing. I developed and became the best skier I could become, says Anton and continues;
“The performance culture in the team and that you got to be a team player has suited me well. The years when we’re been lots of athletes in the team living in Östersund, training and spending so much time together has been great. This has got us so close to each other has been so fun. To rejoice in the success of others when you know the job behind it.”
Last week, Anton’s girlfriend Elin Mohlin announced that she was putting her skis on the shelf, and now Anton is doing the same. Already last summer, the couple’s plan was to get married, but the pandemic got in the way.
“The situation is not good now either. We will have to wait and see when it will be possible to hold the wedding,” says Anton.
Next to second place at the Vasaloppet Season XI, Anton has four placements top six in the Pro Tour: Kaiser Maximilan Lauf 2018 (5) Toblach-Cortina 2018 (4), Jizerská 50 2018 (6), and Vålådalsrennet 2021 (4). The best overall placement in Visma Ski Classics also came this winter when Anton finished in sixth place.
Before his Visma Ski Classics career, Anton was one of Sweden’s best skiers on shorter distances with lots of strong achievements, especially in sprint races. He was on the doorstep of the Swedish national team.