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Erik Valnes

Entire Norwegian sprint team tests positive for COVID following Lahti World Cup

Corresponding with a social media post from Johannes Høsflot Klæbo, the Norwegian news outlet NRK reported yesterday that each of the men’s national team sprinters who competed in Lahti last weekend has tested positive for COVID-19. Head sprint coach Arild Monsen told NRK that Håvard Solås Taugbøl was the first to test positive on Monday, followed by Erik Valnes, Pål Golberg, Sindre Bjørnestad Skar and Johannes Høsflot Klæbo on Tuesday. According to Trondheim regional newspaper...

Russian athletes expected to compete in Norway despite Norwegian Ski Association message that they are not welcome

On February 26th, the Norwegian Ski Association (NSA) released a statement indicating that in light of the nation’s recent invasion of the Ukraine, Russian participation was not welcome at the upcoming World Cup sprint races in Dramman or the storied Holmenkollen distance races outside of Oslo. In addition to these cross country events, Norway is scheduled to host competitions in alpine, nordic combined, and ski jumping, including the World Ski Flying Championships in Vikersund.  A...

Norway Pulls off a Historic Team Sprint Gold Repeat; Canadians in 5th and Americans in 9th for Strong Team Debut

This World Cup coverage is made possible through the generous support of Marty and Kathy Hall and the A Hall Mark of Excellence Award.  To learn more about A Hall Mark of Excellence Award or to learn how you can support FasterSkier’s coverage please contact info@fasterskier.com.   The team sprint: it’s the youngest event on the Olympic program, having been contested only since the 2006 Torino Games. The event has since become a marquee event...

Klæbo Runs Away with Third Stage Win in the Classic Sprint; Ogden 22nd, Jager 27th

This World Cup coverage is made possible through the generous support of Marty and Kathy Hall and the A Hall Mark of Excellence Award.  To learn more about A Hall Mark of Excellence Award or to learn how you can support FasterSkier’s coverage please contact info@fasterskier.com.   As we begin Stage 4 of the Tour de Ski, the first classic sprint since the opening race of the season in Ruka, Finland on November 26th, we...

Klæbo Takes His Fourth Sprint Win in Davos; Ogden 12th

This World Cup coverage is made possible through the generous support of Marty and Kathy Hall and the A Hall Mark of Excellence Award.  To learn more about A Hall Mark of Excellence Award or to learn how you can support FasterSkier’s coverage please contact info@fasterskier.com.   Three weeks in, the World Cup swings to the picturesque Alpen valley which holds Davos, Switzerland. As may be hinted by the towering mountains surrounding the glacial valley,...

Klæbo Strikes Back; Two Americans in the Semis, Three in the Top-30 in Lillehammer

This World Cup coverage is made possible through the generous support of Marty and Kathy Hall and the A Hall Mark of Excellence Award.  To learn more about A Hall Mark of Excellence Award or to learn how you can support FasterSkier’s coverage please contact info@fasterskier.com. Last weekend in Ruka, a new season of World Cup racing came in like a lion. Right off the bat, there were so many storylines to follow. Here, we’ll...

Norway Speeds Ahead for Men’s Team Sprint Gold, Canada’s Cyr and Ritchie 7th Overall

This World Championship coverage is made possible through the generous support of Marty and Kathy Hall and their A Hall Mark of Excellence Award. To learn more about A Hall Mark of Excellence Award or to learn how you can support FasterSkier’s coverage please contact info@fasterskier.com. The firepower was evident on the start line. Norway, Russia, France, Italy, and six other teams paired for the team sprint Sunday at the 2021 Oberstdorf, Germany World Championships....

Norwegian Triple Championship Podium with Klæbo Crowned the Winner; Ogden 17th for the US

This World Championship coverage is made possible through the generous support of Marty and Kathy Hall and their A Hall Mark of Excellence Award. To learn more about A Hall Mark of Excellence Award or to learn how you can support FasterSkier’s coverage please contact info@fasterskier.com. Against the backdrop of hundreds of cardboard cut-out fans, the men battled for the first medals of the 2021 World Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany. Despite warming temperatures, conditions were...

Norway’s Erik Valnes Outduels Klæbo to Win Ruka’s Classic Sprint

This World Cup coverage is made possible through the generous support of Marty and Kathy Hall and their A Hall Mark of Excellence Award. To learn more about A Hall Mark of Excellence Award or to learn how you can support FasterSkier’s coverage please contact info@fasterskier.com.   At roughly two minutes into the men’s final of the 1.4-kilometer classic sprint in Ruka, Finland, the race broke apart. On a notoriously steep and taxing hill, Norway’s...

Norway’s Blink Festival: Rollerski Racing with Some Social Distance

Times are what they are. Precautions are the name of the game. This year’s Blink Festival in Norway played to a reduced field and limited spectators due to COVID precautions. Some races, as will be noted, included modified race rules to limit close contact between athletes.    Lysebotn Opp – 06/08 The Lysebotn Opp is perhaps the marquee event. It features lovely fjord views and a grueling 7.5-kilometer uphill skate switchbacking up a mountainside. In...

Relocated to Konnerud: Drammen will wait 365 Days while Klæbo and Sundling Celebrate Now

Men’s Sprint Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Norwegian men showed up on form for today’s freestyle sprints in Konnerud, just outside the city of Drammen. As the venue was used for the Norwegian National championship at the end of January, most of the team has already had a dress rehearsal racing on the windy course.  It seems that Johannes Høsflot Klæbo, who sat out the national championships, did not need a dress rehearsal. He won the qualifier...

Klæbo Hop Skates to a Stage 3 Win; Hamilton Settles into 14th as he Returns to World Cup Sprinting

Let’s explain. The format was basic, a freestyle sprint. Otherwise, that’s where sprints as we know it ended. The 0.66-kilometer course shot off from the start up a gradual V2-able climb. It then rounded a left-hander where athletes descended what looked like a salted banked turn found in a X-Games terrain park. Down to the course’s bottom zoomed the skiers. Then things turned skyward. The course ascended a mini-Alpe Cermis lasting around one-minute for the...

Norway’s Golberg and Valnes Go 1-2 in Falun Classic Sprint: Bolshunov Third

Thousands of spectators, slate skies, and a manmade loop of snow laid down in the otherwise green-brown Falun, Sweden ski stadium greeted the World Cup on Saturday. After a weekend hiatus last week, racers contested a 1.4-kilometer classic sprint in one of Sweden’s skiing epicenters. The main World Cup sprint star, Johannes Høsflot Klæbo, was absent. The twenty-three-year-old Klæbo broke two fingers last week. According to Norwegian broadcaster NRK, he will be reevaluated on Feb....

Klæbo Runs Away with Oberstdorf Classic Sprint Win

Sunday’s men’s 1.5-kilometer classic sprint course in Oberstdorf, Germany deserves some recognition. Site of the 2021 FIS Nordic Ski World Championships, racers were offered a glimpse into how the world’s foremost sprinter, Johannes Høsflot Klæbo of Norway, would navigate it’s kicker climbs, steep descents, and roughly three minute and thirty-second effort.  The sprint course offered three distinct climbs, one at 0.2 k, the largest at 0.52 k, and the third starting at 1.1 k. The...

From under the umbrella to inside the snow globe. Fat flakes were falling in Planica, Slovenia at the start of the freestyle team sprint. A painful mix of speed and endurance, each team member skied three 1.2-kilometer laps for a total of 7.2 k. Comprising the victorious Norway I team, Sindre Bjørnestad Skar and Erik Valnes stopped the clock at 16:54.52. Fellow countrymen Håvard Solås Taugbøl and  Gjøren Tefre took the Norway II team to...

Monday Race Rundown: U23 Worlds Classic Sprint (Updated)

FIS Junior World Ski Championhips U23 1.4 k/1.6 k Classic Sprint Link to U23 classic sprint photo album from Doug Stephen. Monday, the second day of racing at the 2019 Junior World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland the U23 women raced a 1.4-kilometer classic sprint. Norway’s Tiril Udnes Weng set the standard in qualification. Her 3:26.52 minute time placed her in bib 1 for the heats. Three U.S. skiers qualified for the heats. Julia Kern qualified...

Saturday Race Rundown: Otepää Classic Sprints and Beyond (Updated 2x)

FIS World Cup Otepää, Estonia 1.3 k / 1.6 Classic Sprint Starting the day’s performance benchmarks off was Stina Nilsson of Sweden with the fastest qualifier in the women’s 1.3-kilometer classic sprint in Otepää on Saturday. She stopped the clock in 3:07.62 minutes. The U.S. Ski Team’s (USST) Jessie Diggins was the top-qualifying North American in 18th (+5.37). Sadie Bjornsen (USST) qualified 20th (+5.71), and Ida Sargent 27th (+8.38). On a course rewarding patience and...

Spills and Thrills as Norway I wins Men’s Team Sprint in Dresden

A strip of imported snow along the Elbe river, iconic architectural reminders of old-world Europe’s city-scape in Dresden, Germany, Lycra, speedy skiers, and teams of two: all the ingredients for the men’s 1.6-kilometer freestyle team sprint. With tight pack skiing a function of the the relatively flat Dresden ski loop, the ten teams in the final attempted to play stay-out-of-trouble-skiing for the six total laps. But with a crowded tag area and tight corners where...

Sunday Race Rundown: Dresden Team Sprints & Oberhof Relays (Updated 2 x)

FIS World Cup Dresden, Germany 6 x 1.6 k Freestyle Team Sprint The first World Cup team sprint of the season was run amidst drizzle and the Dresden, Germany city-scape as the women raced a total of six 1.6-kilometer laps. Round and round on the looping course, the pace was a mix of tactically subdued speeds with sustained bursts of energy to break the pack. After all the speed changes and exchanges with one athlete...