By Teemu Virtanen
Lina Korsgren, Team Ramudden, has become one of the great long distance skiers in the world, and her Vasaloppet victory last year turned her into a legend in the making. She continues on that path to greatness, and winning Jizerska 50 on Sunday fortified her status as a potential future Visma Ski Classics Champion.
She has returned to Sweden from the Czech Republic, and she is fully concentrating on repeating her victorious feat come Sunday, March 3rd. While we are waiting for Vasaloppet and the excitement that the king of the ski races can offer, we should step inside the world of this wonderful Swedish skier. In the midst of her Vasaloppet preparation, Lina took a moment to ponder the questions sent to her, and these are her answers for your pleasure.
1.Tell us about your background and how you got into skiing?
“I grew up in Falun. My family introduced me to skiing when I was young. My sister competed, my father was the chairman of our ski club, Korsnäs SK, and my mother was a coach there. We lived only two minutes away from the clubhouse and the ski tracks. So, it was quite natural for me to start skiing at a young age. I trained both skiing and team gymnastics, 50/50, until I started high school in Torsby, a special ski oriented school.”
2. Why did you choose long distance skiing and what makes it so fascinating?
“I had a goal to be in the sprint competition in the World Championships in Falun in 2015. When I didn’t succeed in one of the final qualifying races, I set a new plan to do well in Jizerska that afternoon. I then realized that long distance skiing was my calling and there wouldn’t be any World Championships in sight for me. I was ready for new challenges in my sport career.
3. How do you usually train and what is your favorite workout?
“During the past year, I’ve moved away from training programs and plans that are designed for several weeks ahead. I have learned to know and feel my body in a new way, and I base my training on my feelings one day at a time. I seldom plan my workouts for longer than 3-4 days ahead, and after that, I review what I’ve done before moving forward. This method has made me sharper, and I’m paying more attention to my daily shape, potential sicknesses and injuries. I love challenging myself, and my favorite workout is double-poling fast and long with many hard climbs in my hometown Åre.”
4. How would you describe a perfect long distance skier?
“Someone who has a powerful mind, strong arms, great sprinting abilities and loves challenges.”
5. Winning Jizerska must have been an incredible experience - to prove everyone that you are indeed one of the best - tell us about it?
“I felt that my body was strong even days before the race. We had also found a great pair of skis for the race. I was relaxed and convinced that the race would go well. Right from the beginning, I felt that my body, my head and my skis were in top form. It was an amazing feeling to see that I’ve left everybody behind and I was able to keep my pace all the way to the finish. It’s that moment that we pro athletes aim to achieve, the feeling of being invincible. It’s fantastic!”
6. You are also a Vasaloppet winner, what does that mean to you and how did it feel when you finally achieved your long-term goal?
“To win Vasaloppet in 2018 was unbelievable as it’s been my dream ever since I started skiing. I’m still extremely proud of the accomplishment, and I can still recall all the feelings I had during the race. For this year’s race, I feel confident and secured that I’m ready to repeat the feat. I’ve done it once, and I can do it again. It’s a thought that keeps me inspired!”
7. Describe your opponents with your own words; Britta Johansson Norgren, Astrid Øyre Slind, Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes and Katerina Smutná?
“Britta – strong as a bear!
Astrid – feisty and has great lungs!
Kari – a tactic player, seldom shows her cards too early in a race!
Katarina – never gives up!”
8. How would you describe Visma Ski Classics in one sentence?
“It’s a perfect mix of seriousness, challenge and joy on skis!”
9. Speaking of, VSC continues to grow, but what developments would you like to see in the tour?
“I think Visma Ski Classics has evolved and introduced new types of events; we have double-poling, skating and diagonal striding races now, which makes the tour more all-around and hence accessible to a wider range of skiers. I think this is a very positive development. For the future, it’s important that the women bear the same importance as the men. Now, two men and one woman can score points for a team, but I think it should an equal number of men and women bringing in the points. This will help the development of the cup and attract more women to the tour.”
10. What things do you value most in life?
“I wish my family and friends can stay healthy and happy. Then, I’d like to get good food every day and be surrounded by mountains.”
11. What are your future goals in skiing and in life?
“My goal is to have another victory in Vasaloppet and to continue developing Team Ramudden, which can give a chance to young skiers to take up long distance skiing and participate in Visma Ski Classics.”
12. Finally, what is your motto for life?
“Everything will work out fine!”