By Teemu Virtanen
Team Northern Fish Hätälä is an interesting Pro Team as it combines athletes from two countries; Finland and Norway. The leader of the gang is Heikki Korpela, a Finn who has spent a lot of time in Norway, and there are five Pro Skiers in the team; two from Finland and three from Norway.
Heikki managed to be 5th at the Finnish National Championships, 50 km classic, while Kari Varis is known as Mr. Finlandia-hiihto, the biggest ski race in Finland, due to his record number of victories in that particular race. He has got many medals at the Finnish National Championships, and he has performed well in several free technique long distance races abroad, too.
The Norwegian athletes have also raced well in long distance skiing. Håkon Mikalsen was 27th at Reistadløpet in Norway last winter while Vegard Solheim-Johnsen reached Bardufoss as the 65th fastest skier. The only female athlete in this two-country team is Silje Theodorsen who has done many Scandinavian Cup and FIS races but has no appearances in Visma Ski Classics.
The Pro Team will have their early season training camp in Muonio, Finland, where they will meet each other for the first time. According to Heikki, everything has gone well and the team is very motivated. Both Heikki and Kari had a chance to race on snow in Vuokatti last weekend when the Suomi Cup (Finlandia Cup) events took place. The Norwegian athletes will start their racing season in Muonio.