When the 2021 Cross-Country World Championships drew to a close, 31 year-old Sadie Maubet Bjornsen announced that she would retire from international competition to pursue a career in accounting. Bjornsen, who grew up in Washington’s Methow Valley has called Alaska home since moving there to attend the University of Alaska at Anchorage in 2008. Bjornsen attended her first World Championships in 2011 and has been a member of the U.S. Ski Team on the World Cup circuit since. While living in Alaska Bjornsen has been a student and athlete at Alaska Pacific University (APU), completing her degree while racing a full World Cup schedule.
Over the course of her career she earned seven individual World Cup medals, five team World Cup medals, and one World Championship medal—bronze in the 2017 Team Sprint. Possibly more impressive than her medal count, though, is the impact she made on the skiing community during her time as a racer.
“As her teammate for over 10 years, I witnessed Sadie transform from a young rookie to a seasoned veteran with several World Cup podiums under her belt,” recalls Olympic Gold Medalist, Kikkan Randall. “I was the “big sister” on the team for a while but in the end I learned far more and improved because of teammates like Sadie. She was engaged, collaborative and always quick to laugh, which brought such good energy to our team.”
Skiing allowed Bjornsen the opportunity to see the world. Before travelling to Slovenia in 2004 for her first World Junior Championships, she had never been to Europe or outside of North America. “It was an extreme culture shock for me.”
“I love the openness that skiing creates,” Bjornsen says. “I think it can teach you a lot about different cultures, different backgrounds, different views. It teaches you to appreciate your world and environment.”
Skiing allows Bjornsen to travel deep into the wilderness around her Anchorage home, crust cruising in the spring through the mountains or through the woods at a local Nordic center to find release from the constraints of focused training.
“Skis provide opportunities to bring you places that are really incredible and unique, like the two Olympic venues I raced in Russia and South Korea,” Bjornsen states. “Those are two places I never would have been to if not for skiing.”
When asked about what comes next, Bjornsen points to both personal and professional goals. “I have a few things I am really looking forward to. First, starting a family. Second, hopefully doing some local marathon races, or some of the fun races that I was always too busy or focused on World Cups to be able to participate in,” she says. “And as far as career, I started working in the public accounting world last summer, and then started studying for my CPA exams, which is a four exam process. Each exam takes somewhere between three and seven months to study for. I passed my first one a few weeks before heading to the World Cup, so I will continue the process of studying super hard for those.”
While Bjornsen won’t be seen on World Cup courses again, her impact on the U.S. Ski Team, international competition, and the country’s whole ski racing community will be felt for years to come.
At Fischer, we’re proud of everything you’ve accomplished, Sadie, and are so thankful to have been a partner of yours during the journey. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with you during the next chapter of your life as you focus on a new career and domestic racing opportunities.