The Long Distance Ski Championship


Written by: Teemu Virtanen

In the eve of the legendary Marcialonga in Italy, a new team has entered the game of long distance skiing. Team Yoko Optiwax wants make waves in Visma Ski Classics with their roster of mostly young skiers from Southern Norway. And not just from Norway, but there are two Finns in their ranks as well and there is more to come from the land of "Sibelius, sauna and sisu (guts)".

The team's hefty goal is to inspire young skiers to choose long distance skiing and just raise interest of cross-country skiing in general. There are two older skiers, born in the 70s, guiding the way for the younger ones to follow.

"We want to get young people to the sport," the team director Anstein Mykland says firmly. "We want them to realize their potential, accomplish their goals and satisfy their ambition. We believe that this will also help young people to succeed in their respective professions later in life."

"Naturally, we also want to promote the benefits that our sponsors can bring. We are entering Visma Ski Classics just before Marcialonga, and to do well there is one of our goals in addition to Vasaloppet. We wish to get some skiers in the top 50 in those two races. Our long term goal is to develop the team and use this first year as a building block for the future."

The team may seem to be yet another Norwegian group of hungry skiers, but Mykland has high hopes of getting great enforcements from Finland because both Yoko and Optiwax are Finnish brands.

"I think the great thing about our team is that we bring together skiers from both Finland and Norway, which hasn't really been done before. I believe we'll get more attention in Finland very soon, and for the next season we will have more Finnish skiers in our team. We have a three-year focus, and Harri Kirvesniemi, the Finnish ski legend, is involved and he is actually going to race against our team mentor in Marcialonga. The two Finnish skiers in our team have raced in many national and international races."

The team and its nine athletes feel that Visma Ski Classics is the best possible platform to develop themselves, to compete against the best skiers in the world and to get a wonderful opportunity to enjoy some of the most fantastic venues and events that cross-country skiing can offer.

To see the registered athletes go to: