The Long Distance Ski Championship


LAGER 157 SKI TEAM (Ranking 2)

Written by: Teemu Virtanen

This Swedish team had an impressive year and took home a nice trophy for their efforts as the second best team in the long distance ski circus. The queen in the court is certainly Britta Johansson Norgren, but the male skiers are certainly not just jesters amusing their crown head. Britta had a severe fight against Katerina Smutná all season long, and for a while it looked like the Czech lady was going to win the day. But Britta finally triumphed in Vasaloppet and then repeated the feat by conquering Årefjällsloppet. She won the Yellow Jersey and will start the new season as the reigning Champion.

Let's then take a look at these knights who gallantly stand by their queen. They all are extremely gifted skiers on their way to the top. The podium was close when Markus Ottoson passed the Mora Church and finally crossed the finish line as the fourth skier in Vasaloppet. That was not the only good race he can be proud of as he managed to get five other top 20 finishes under his belt. His teammate Fredrik Byström also did well in Vasaloppet (11th) and pushed himself to the top 15 eight times, of which three in the top 10.

And the list goes on. Oscar Persson finished 4th in Vasaloppet China (9 times in the top 20) while Marcus Johansson was 7th in the same race and got four top 20 places. Jimmie Johnsson and Anton Karlsson are both solid top 30 skiers, and Stefan Palm, 47, is a great master skier with his 92nd place in Marcialonga and 118th in Vasaloppet.

No wonder this team is the second best in Visma Ski Classics. And it seems they will be on the rise starting from the first race in Pontresina. Only time will tell if one of these troopers will be crowned The King come the gala night in Levi. Nygaard, Hoelgaard, Gjerdalen and the rest -- be afraid, very afraid, because these guys are coming with vengeance.