The Long Distance Ski Championship

“My goal is to win the overall title”

The Team United Bakeries skier Astrid Øyre Slind had an impressive season with five visits on the podium. Now she aims to win Vasaloppet and to become the Visma Ski Classics champion.

Text: Erik Wickström. Photo: Magnus Östh

We reach Astrid during a camp in Switzerland.

" I am here with my two sisters Kari and Silje. We are enjoying nice weather and long climbs for rollerskiing and running, Astrid says

Astrid’s twin sister Silje and her three years younger sister Kari are both skiers at a high level. But in contrast to Astrid, they have not (yet) switch focus to Visma Ski Classics.

" A couple of years ago I felt I didn’t develop as a skier on traditional distances.  Therefore I transferred to long distance skiing. For me it has been great. I truly enjoy the races and it is financially better.

Training in Trondheim
Astrid has been part of the Norwegian Team United Bakeries since she started to race Visma Ski Classics the season of 2016.

" It works great for me. As long as I keep my costs low, I don’t need to work to make a living. Training is more fun than buying stuff. Most athletes on the team live in Trondheim and since I am the only girl on the team, I train a lot with the guys. During the autumn it happens several times a week, which I think makes me stronger.

During rollerski workouts, Astrid use faster wheels to keep with the guys. During running workouts, Astrid simply needs to put in a bigger effort.

" But if we run intervals I am behind. We reassemble during the rest between the repeats.

Won Blink Classics

Since most skiers on the team live in Trondheim, they only have two camps out of town during the summer and the autumn – one at Mallorca, one in Italy. The camp in Italy starts with Fiemme Rollerski Cup, a 50 km long race in the hoods of Marcialonga.

Fiemme Rollerski Cup is one of four events in World Classic Tour. The other rollerski races in the cup are Olaf Skoglunds Minneløp, Blink Classics and Alliansloppet. Even tough Astrid was first in Blink Classics and might win the overall title, she doesn’t take the dryland events too serious.

" Of course it is great the win races during the summer, but the performance is dependent on how much you train prior to the race. Most Visma Ski Classics athlete don’t taper before rollerski events.

High goals

In the Visma Ski Classics season of 2016 Astrid was 6th overall with one visit on the podium. The year after she climbed up on the podium five times and finished 3rd overall.

" Yes, I developed a lot and I had a great season. I trained more and I was more specific in terms of double poling. My first long distance season was some kind of transition period. Now I am ready to win races. My goal is to win Vasaloppet and to become the Visma Ski Classics champion. I prefer to have high goal. Two other races that would be great to win are Birkebeinerrennet and Marcialonga.

Astrid mentions Britta Johansson Norgren (Lager 157 Ski Team), Katerina Smutna (Team Pioneer Investments), Sara Lindborg (Team Serneke) and Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes (Team Santander) as strong opponents.

" I will be the only girl on Team United Bakeries for most of the season, so I need to perform well to enable us the win the team competition. But of course Team Santander is the favourite. After the Olympics the Japanese Masako Ishida will join our team. I think this will be her last season before she retires.

Short sleeve

If you regularly watch the Visma Ski Classics Races you might have noticed that Astrid almost always roll up the sleeves on her race suit.

" It is a remnant from my childhood, when I was always dressed way too warm. Now it is like a ritual to roll up the sleeves on the starting line. But at La Diagonela it was cold, so I had to roll them down.

Lastly, a recurrent question about double poling to Visma Ski Classics athlete:

" I will probably double pole all races except Reistadløpet and Kaiser Maximilian Lauf. But it depends on the snow conditions. If it’s good weather I might do Birkebeinerrennet with kickwax and in bad weather I might double pole even the most hilly events.  

Astrid facts

Born: February 9th, 1988 in Norway 

Home: Trondheim, Norway

Education: Masters in physiology

Team: Team United Bakeries

Results long distance skiing: Five podium positions and third place overall in Visma Ski Classics 2017. Second place in Kaiser Maximilian Lauf and sixth place overall in Visma Ski Classics 2017.  

Results traditional skiing: Nine times top 30 in individual World Cup races. Gold and silver at U23 World Championships. Four relay medals at the National Championships, including one gold.

Favourite workout at home: “Elghufs” (ski bounding) intervals at Vassfjellet, 5 times 10 minutes.

Equipment: Madshus (skis), Alpina (boots), Swix (poles)

Instagram: astridoslind