ProXCSkiing talks with Arnaud Du Pasquier, Team Nordic Expérience, about Season XII. He also shares his training plans and ambitions for the next season.
Arnaud Du Pasquier was the best Swiss athlete in Ski Classics Season XII with some strong performances. He was 24th at Reistadløpet and 22nd at Årefjälslloppet. To sum up: a good progression this winter and the desire to do even better in the next one.
What are your plans for the very beginning of this new season? Are you back in training yet?
“No, now I’m doing windsurf in Tenerife! (laugh) Last year I didn’t take a holiday, and I missed it. This year I want to take a real break. I arrived at the beginning of May, and I’m staying here for a month. I will start to think about skiing as an athlete in June.”
“But I never really stop thinking about skiing because I’m currently trying to organize a roller ski race in Switzerland in July. It’s nothing about the performance yet. I am filling in partnership files, looking for sponsors, and trying to get all the authorizations from the communes to use the roads. So, I’m still thinking about cross-country skiing but not really about Ski Classics.”
“I am someone who likes to do many things besides skiing, as I think most of the Ski Classics athletes. I think that many of the athletes in the peloton have another activity in addition to skiing.”
“Being a high-level athlete in Ski Classics involves a certain number of sacrifices. We must be focused on some things at the expense of others. I don’t want to be frustrated, so that’s also why I need to take that type of break. I think after all those years, I’m finally finding my balance. I like to think about something else, even if sometimes I miss the snow and the mountains. I have also discovered that it doesn’t suit me the best to do only skiing. I have found that just skiing is not the most successful thing for me. The seasons when I was just skiing were never my best. I need to do and focus on other things.”
Do you already have any training plans for this year?
“I will work until the middle of August so that I will be a little bit more limited in my training than in the past years. Once again, I want to miss skiing and training to come back full of motivation. And feeling thankful to be able to train. Last year I was a little ‘lazy’ regarding work. I only trained. I think it was something I missed.”
“Regarding my training, this year I am exploring training methods in cycling. I feel like our sport is developing in the same direction as cycling. It is also interesting because the Scandinavians are very strong, and we know that they are becoming more and more interested in cycling. In France, the cycling field and the knowledge are huge because it is a sport that is part of the country’s culture, especially with the Tour de France. I think there is something to do. I am interested, I’m looking for the intensity training they do, and I try to learn. I also would like to focus on strength. It’s been two years since I really started strength training and I think that it can bring me a lot and be a real bonus in winter sports.”
“In fact, during my one-month holiday in Tenerife, I’m planning to take up CrossFit. I’ve taken out a subscription to a gym, and I’m aiming to go there every day. My girlfriend Erika has also done the European CrossFit Championships so that she can coach me! I discovered this sport thanks to her, and I think there are some great things to come out of it. Spring is also a good time to do this, as it’s a highly cardio-intensive sport so not necessarily compatible with a high volume of hours.”
What are your goals for the next season?
“I hope to be one of the best central European athletes on the Pro Tour. I have been on top 30 a couple of times this winter, so I’m aiming for top 20 next season.”
We saw you in the top positions since the first sprint in Årefjällsloppet. Will you compete for the Green Sprint bib?
“I saw in Åre that I was not necessarily the best to play a sprint. I was no match for Stian Berg, and I burned myself out trying to get into his skis. However, it was a pleasure to try. If I feel good and if I am well placed, I could try on some races, but I also realized that it is a separate category in our sport. In the end, it takes a lot of energy to fight for the sprint and then have a lower final ranking. We have reached such a level that now I have the impression that either I play the sprint or play the final result.”
“In Åre, I really enjoyed myself. In addition, I have the impression that I was quite careful at the beginning of the season without having any big performances in the end. So, I said to myself that I had to play and try. I was in this frame of mind all the end of the season, from Birken onwards, when I said to myself, “I have to try something”. So my goal was to stay in the top group for as long as possible, even if I burnt out afterward. I think that helped me to progress a lot. I am, for example, pleased with my performance at Reistadløpet, where I finished 24th and where I managed to stay in the front until the start of the climb.”
“I feel like I turned a corner at the end of last season, and I hope to continue in this direction next season, to do a little better. I’m confident, and I’ve discovered that I’m a good pusher. I surprised myself by doing as well at Reistadløpet, pushing. It proves that I’m going in the right direction and that something can happen. I don’t know how long I will ski, but I wouldn’t have seen myself where I am today three years ago. I’m almost 30, and I feel like I’m at my best, and I can still go for things, so I’m super motivated for next season.”
What’s your main goal for next season?
“La Diagonela 2023, at home! La Diagonela will always be my biggest goal!”