Text: Kati Roivas/Photo: Andreas Sandström/Bildbyrån
A long Visma Ski Classics season came to its end almost three weeks ago in Ylläs-Levi, where the Finnish Lapland offered some real challenges in soft snow for the Pro Team skiers. ProXCskiing talked with some of the Pro Team skiers to find out how they are spending their April and how it differs from what they do during the season.
After 14 Pro Tour events from mid-December at Orsa to the final at the beginning of April in Ylläs-Levi, Pro Team athletes enjoy well-deserved rest before starting their preparation for the upcoming season.
Now, as most of the Pro Team athletes have finished their season, various activities such as spending time with their friends and families, backcountry skiing, ski touring, holidays, and for some, enjoying the spring still on skis have filled their days. While many athletes prefer to stay active, a break from competing and planned training may differ for different athletes. The need to take a break or keep training varies significantly from one athlete to another.
Astrid Øyre Slind, Team Koteng Eidissen, who won 4 races in Season XII and took home the Climb competition, has enjoyed different forms of training during the latter part of April. Still, she also competed in Kobberløpet in the north of Norway the past weekend.
“I have been doing a lot of backcountry skiing! I love being active but find peace and have fun doing something other than double poling,” Øyre Slind says.
For Morten Eide Pedersen, Team Eksjöhus, who fell ill with covid during the season, the spring has included renovation work and camping in the mountains but also some training.
“Since I had a break during the season with covid and also a break before the last race of the season, I have kept on some training – but short sessions and also as I was going to compete in Skarverennet. I do not feel so tired that I would need a big break this spring, but I will still take it easy for a week or two and then train with a lot of variety next month.”
On the other hand, some athletes have chosen not to race in the spring after the Ski Classics final in Levi. For example, Ida Dahl, Team Ramudden, told earlier in her interview for the youth bib that she has been enjoying some family time, focusing on her studies, and renovating a new apartment with her boyfriend Eddie Edström from Lager157 Ski Team.
Off-season offers athletes a needed opportunity to spend more time with their families and do things that they usually do not have time for. It also provides an essential mental break, giving the athletes more choice when they do not need to think about traveling, race preparation, or optimal rest between the trainings.
Mental renewal is perhaps the most crucial factor in the off-season, allowing the athletes to re-gain energy and motivation for the next season. Racing and traveling take a toll on the body, and depending on how the athletes have recovered during the season or whether they were able to achieve their goals and stay healthy, affect the way each of them perceives the need for rest and mental recovery before setting goals and planning the next season.
Finally, maybe the most important single factor in the off-season is to do enjoyable things, which lets both the mind and body recover.