The Long Distance Ski Championship

”Our goal is to beat Team Santander”

Anton Järnberg, team directior in Lager 157 Ski Team, is determined to win the team competition in Visma Ski Classics. Today he gives some summer training advice for pros and recreational skiers. 

Text: Erik Wickström. Photo: Magnus Östh.

When Stefan Palm – skier and owner of a Swedish clothing-retail company – wanted to start a ski team, he asked former Visma Ski Classics pro athlete Anton Järnberg. Anton developed his previous team Helsinge Ski Team into Lager 157 Ski Team, which was founded in May 2014 at Ulricehamn, Sweden.

The first season was a debacle. Despite stars like Jörgen Brink and Daniel Richardsson they were only 10th in the team competition. Injuries, sickness and other setbacks characterised the season of 2015.

Recruited Johansson Norgren

After that they recruited Britta Johansson Norgren, which of course was a great contribution to the team. Since Britta joined the team, she has a remarkable list of positions in her Visma Ski Classics races: 3rd, 2nd, 1st, 1st, 1st, 4th, 1st, 2nd, 4th, 7th, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 6th and 2nd. It seems like the only way to put Britta outside the podium is to set her in hilly races, since she (in contrast to other girls) insists to double pole all races.

Lager 157 Ski Team was 4th in the team competition in 2016. But they were still not satisfied.

“Otto” 4th at Vasaloppet

Last season Lager 157 Ski Team was 2nd among the team, even though they lack a big star on the men’s team. Instead they have a deep squad were all are capably of finishing top ten in any given race. Markus “Otto” Ottosson, who finished 4th place in the Vasaloppet, accomplished the best individual result on among the men.

Get many applications

With four months to the start of the next season, team director Anton Järnberg is looking forward to win the team competition.

– Of course it will be a great challenge to beat Team Santander, but it is possible. We also have watch out for Team United Bakeries, who had a mediocre season in 2017. And I think Lukas Bauer’s team will be strong next season. They have recruited Britta’s antagonist Katerina Smutna.

Anton Karlsson joined Lager 157 Ski Team for the spring races last season and he will now be a permanent member of the team. He took some sprint points and now he aims to win the green jersey. Other than that the team is the same as last year.

– We had a pretty big turnover with athletes the initial years, so we don’t want to change too much among the members now, Anton Järnberg says. We had some dialogue with skiers from Team LeasePlan after they retired as a team, but we decided to stick with the athletes we already have. We also get tons of spontaneous applications from Swedish skiers.

Camps in Sweden

During summer the Visma Ski Classics pro teams train like there was no tomorrow. Lager 157 Ski Team has four camps from May until October, each about 5-6 days long. Ulricehamn in May, Torsby in June, Orsa in August, Torsby in September and Ulricehamn in October. It doesn’t sound too exotic?

– Of course it is great to go to Ramsau, Val Senales, Mallorca or other places in Europe. But we appreciate the resorts in Sweden. We have great relationships with Ulricehamn, Torsby and Orsa. We know the roads and the paths on the sites and we can focus on training. Ulricehamn is the hometown for the team, Torsby has a ski tunnel and Orsa stores snow over the summer to secure an early start in the fall. In November and December we will travel to where snow can be found, and there is a good chance we will go to Orsa again.

So far the training is going well for the team members. All athletes have participated in both camps, which not has been the case previous years.

New plan for Marcus Johansson

– I don’t think our training deviates much from other Visma Ski Classics team, Anton Järnberg says. Long distance skiing is all about double poling for a long time. We have a collective philosophy on the team and we usually train once a day, about 70 percent double poling during the summer. The rest of the training is skating, running etc. A key ingredient the “Vasa workout”.

The “Vasa workout” is at least three hours long and is part of every camp. It starts with a short warm-up, followed by a prologue for about 10 minutes, individual start. After that the workout includes several sets of intervals of different length. The speed between the intervals is kept pretty high. The workout ends with full speed for 30-60 min.

– We could ski 50 km flat out as a race. But in Visma Ski Classics, there lots of tactics and we want to include that in the workouts. Also, we want to stick together as much as possible. If we had a regular race, some skiers would probably have been alone for a big part of the time.

Anton tells that the most skiers have similar training plans, with small exceptions for each skier. For Marcus Johansson, this summer will be significantly different training wise.

– Marcus improved a lot as a skiers for several years. But last season he stagnated and all long double poling workouts worn him out. Therefore, we have put him on a training schedule that is more similar to training for traditional distances.

Training three times a week

It is not easy for a recreational skier to train like a pro. Anton Järnberg’s best advice for a person who trains three times a week is to be specific.

– If your goal is a Visma Ski Classics race I think you should to all three workout on classic rollerskis. Two tough sessions and one long workout. And do some strength with your body weight after one of the workouts.

Lager 157 Ski Team

Founded: May 2014 (stems from Helsinge Ski Team)

Title sponsor: Lager 157 is a clothing-retail company with over 20 stores in Sweden. The owner of the company, Stefan Palm, is also a member of the ski team (but not on the pro squad).

Team director: Anton Järnberg

Team owner: Anton Järnberg

Pro team members: Britta Johansson Norgen, Markus Ottosson, Fredrik Byström, Anton Karlsson, Markus Johansson, Oscar Persson and Jimmie Johnsson

Results in Visma Ski Classics’ team competition: 10th in 2015, 4th in 2016, 2nd in 2017

Webwww.lager157skiteam.com

Podcast (in Swedish): www.vasapodden.podomatic.com