Roar Hjelmeset will replace Jon Arne Schjetne as the Norwegian women’s national sprint team.
Hjelmeset replaced Fredrik Aukland as the Norwegian junior national team in 2008. After three years as the head coach for the Norwegian junior and U23 national teams, Hjelmeset was supposed to be the head coach for the new recruitment/development national team for the upcoming season.
“A month ago, I was approached about the position as the women’s sprint team coach, and I’ve spent a lot of time making my decision. We’ve worked with a lot of very inspiring and talented young skiers on the junior national team and on the U23 team. I’ve really enjoyed working with these skiers, but I felt like I couldn’t turn down this opportunity. I also thought that it might be a long time to be with the development team for three years, given that the senior head coaches most likely will continue in their positions at least through the Olympics in Sotchi,” Hjelmeset said in a press release from the Norwegian Ski Association.
Roar Hjelmeset, who is Odd-Bjørn Hjelmeset’s younger brother, has extensive experience with elite cross country skiing, both from the racing and the coaching perspective. He retired from racing after the 2005 season and started coaching. After six years in the coaching profession, he is now the coach for some of the best sprint skiers in the world.
“The girls on the women’s national sprint team are not very old either, and there are several skiers who are developing rapidly. I’ve signed up to coach a very accomplished sprint team,” Hjelmeset said.
National team director Vidar Løfshus is excited that Hjelmeset accepted the offer.
“We know what qualifications he has. Roar will work closely with the women’s national team head coach Egil Kristiansen, who was actively involved in the final selection,” Løfshus said, adding that there were several highly qualified applicants to the position.
However, when Hjelmeset accepted the sprint coach position, the head coach for the new recruitment/development team is now open. But Hjelmeset has a clear opinion on what kind of coach the team needs.
“The ideal candidate is an up-and-coming person who is capable of seeing the whole picture. The coach needs to be aware of the second-tier skiers as well as the top young racers. The coach needs to attend a lot of race venues, including Norway Cup events and Scandinavian Cup events,” Hjelmeset said. He admits that it will be hard for him to leave the new recruitment/development team already, when the 2011-12 season is just barely underway.
Press release from the Norwegian Ski Association May 11, 2011. Translation by Inge Scheve
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.