Davos Notes and Quotes: The Women

FasterSkierDecember 12, 2016
Maiken Caspersen Falla (red bib) wins the final of the skate sprint in Davos, Switzerland, on Sunday. Norwegian teammate Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (bib 5) took second and Hanna Falk of Sweden (bib 3) third. (Photo: Fischer/NordicFocus.com)
Maiken Caspersen Falla (red bib) wins the final of the skate sprint in Davos, Switzerland, on Sunday. Norwegian teammate Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (bib 5) took second and Hanna Falk of Sweden (bib 3) third. (Photo: Fischer/NordicFocus.com)

A weekend of World Cup action in Davos, Switzerland, saw two Norwegian women take top honors: Ingvild Flugstad Østberg in the 15 k interval-start skate, and Maiken Caspersen Falla in the skate sprint.

Here’s all the reporting – and there’s a lot – that didn’t make it into the race reports.

On ending up in a sprint heat with your teammate

“I picked that heat because it was just the heat with the least amount of people at the time. You never want to be in a heat with your teammate because maybe only one of you can go on, but sometimes you have to, and the last couple of weekends I’ve been with teammates. So it is what it is.”

-Sadie Bjornsen, U.S. Ski Team (15th in the sprint, after a quarterfinal with Sophie Caldwell)

On imperfect preparation

“I had bit of a rough fall after an awesome summer training. I was at high altitude for a long time in October and I got really tired at our camp there, so I had to take a little more time off than I anticipated. Then I caught sort of a mild cold before coming over here. So it wasn’t the perfect fall, but I did try to recognize that it might take a little time to work into the season– the base that I got this summer isn’t going to just disappear. So it will come back, I just have to do some searching.”

-Sophie Caldwell, U.S. Ski Team (12th in the sprint)

“Unfortunately I had a filling right before I left for Europe. I actually had two. The one on the right side was totally fine and didn’t cause any pain, but from the beginning the one on the left was bothering me. And so, long story short, I was in a lot of pain after the sprint race in Norway, and so the Norwegians got me in to see a dentist in Norway. She kind of looked at it and said, ‘I think you need a root canal. Looks like you might like have an issue there.’ But I didn’t want to do it right before the other races. So she pulled the old filling out and put a temporary one in that she thought might not be pushing up against the nerve. I went into the dentist here and she pulled it all out, and was like, ‘Holy shit, you have a huge infection.’ And so I had quite a painful experience with her on Tuesday, but so far – I mean, I was exhausted after that, for sure, but, you know, I have another appointment in a couple weeks to do the actual root canal itself.”

-Liz Stephen, U.S. Ski Team (28th in 15 k, 61st in sprint)

On distance racing

“I like distance racing a lot, because if you’re fit and you’re ready, you will win.”

-Jessie Diggins, U.S. Ski Team (4th in 15 k, 5th in sprint)

“Really exciting for Jessie and really proud of her effort. You can see she had a really strong first lap. Then you can see her getting a little fatigued at the start of the second lap, coming through at 5 k, and you know her standings in the next couple of kilometers dropped. They dropped from third down to maybe seventh or something. And then she really battled back and she was just kind of in the mix there with Roponen and Von Siebenthal and Tchekaleva, so I’m super proud that she could just battle back in that. By far her best Davos finish, and 15 k finish. A big step forward for her, so really cool to see.”

-Chris Grover, U.S. Ski Team Head Coach

“I think I’ve had some pretty bad races here in Davos, and I think this one stacks up as one of my better ones. I wish I could figure out how to get a ride, and actually stay on. That would really help, but honestly the downhill this year skis better than it’s skied in years. I wasn’t scared of it. That’s way more enjoyable than freaking out the whole race thinking, ‘I have to go down that thing again?!’ Overall, I’m not excited with the race, but I’m not disappointed. I guess, it’s just kind of Davos.”


“I got better throughout the race. I feel so unaquainted with the race pace, so it takes me a while to get the feeling; the second half is good. I feel like my body responded pretty well. It’s more about tuning in the mind and the body to the actual race pace, but I think overall I felt pretty good.”

-Kikkan Randall, U.S. Ski Team (33rd in 15 k, 58th in sprint)

On sprinting

“I’m really satisfied with my first podium in sprint this year. I want to be fighting for the podiums in distance and sprint. With the 15 k yesterday and then today, it was more than I expected from this weekend… My goal for the day was to get in the final. Once I was in the final I really wanted to get on the podium.”

-Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, Norway (1st in 15 k, 2nd in sprint)

“Unfortunately Rosie [Brennan]’s not feeling great, so there was an opportunity to start and I was like, ‘Meh, I’ll just take it.’ It’s always fun. I think every sprint I’ve skied so far, I’ve skied my bib number. So I can’t say I’m super psyched on my sprinting right now, but I didn’t have any expectations. I just wanted to get some good training. It’s fun for me to kind of be the one, I don’t know,  I can make the jokes in the van, instead of being so nervous that I can’t. It’s totally fun to be a sprinter, for sure.”


On snow farming

“You could tell where the sun had hit it was slower. But the course held up great. I’m so impressed with the organizers here in Davos, because it is not easy to hold a World Cup when we are standing on grass and dirt right here. And they managed to snow-farm extraordinarily well. I’m just very impressed.”


On fatigue

“I’m really tired actually. I’m getting a little bit pooped, but the idea is to load high, and then rest for the Tour de Ski because you need to be able to go ‘boom, boom, boom’ during the Tour, and to be able to recover and to cope with the big load. So I think this is great practice for that. Usually I race everything; last year I raced over 30 times and I was really tired at the end. It’s less physically, more mentally the racing over and over, you have to kind of get psyched, get prepared, do all the work, do all the psychology work every race, and that is the hard part I think. Physically, once you’re in the race you get the nerves, the adrenaline, and you can finish the race, but mentally to really be engaged with the course, that’s a challenge I think.”


On next week’s World Cups in La Clusaz, France

“I am really stoked about next weekend. I have a french boyfriend and I have for 6 years and so I am stoked to have his family and him there and having a relay there it’s like I literally can’t wait.”


“The relay, to me is, everything. So I want to rest up for that for sure.”


“I expect as always in this first period really strong competition in the relay. The Swedes are really strong as a team right now, the Finns are strong, Norway’s of course strong, Russia’s women have taken a step up this year with some new faces, Germany is strong, I think we will have an absolute battle on our hands come Sunday next week. It will be fun.”


On not going to La Clusaz

“I haven’t made any definite plans, but I don’t think I will go to La Clusaz because we can only start one relay team and the 10 k skate at altitude is not really my strong point! So I might just start Christmas break early. My parents are actually over here. Maybe I will just start getting in a good little training block and feel good for the beginning of the Tour.”


“I am actually going home tomorrow. There is not a sprint there, and I just feel like I get to February sometimes and am just like, I am so tired of this…. it feels soon to be going home, but also there is good skiing there too.”

-Ida Sargent, U.S. Ski Team, 20th in sprint

On World Championships in Lahti, Finland

“It’s World Championships. The skate sprint there is my biggest goal. I will go home now for some training over Christmas.”

-Hanna Falk, Sweden (3rd in sprint)

“My goal is to ski in Lahti.”


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