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Danish SkiMarathon Team Aims To Be The First Pro Team From Denmark

Denmark had its first long-distance ski racing team in 2020. Now, this group of passionate skiers aims to become the first Danish Pro Team competing at the Visma Ski Classics events.

Photo: Danish SkiMarathon Team

Danish SkiMarathon hopes to become the Visma Ski Classics Pro Team from Denmark.

Despite its geographic proximity to Norway and Sweden, Denmark is not known for its cross-country skiers. There have been some good results, like Martin Moller’s performance at the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships in 2021. And every year, Vasaloppet and Birkebeiner have many Danes competing among thousands of recreational skiers.

But now, this group of ambitious skiers is getting ready to change this situation. With the help of big brands and strong teams like Team Ragde Charge, Danish SkiMarathon hopes to become the Visma Ski Classics Pro Team from Denmark, thus inspiring the development of long-distance skiing in their country. ProXCskiing talked to the Team Director to know more about their ambitions.

How did you get the idea to create the first long-distance ski team in Denmark? And what have been the challenges so far?

“The first seed for the idea came in 2020 during the Danish National Championships, where the talks began within a group of Visma Ski Classics and long-distance skiing fans. We realized long-distance racing was the favorite type of event for all. Bjørn Toft then took up the mantle and became the primary driver for starting up the team.”

“We have had a lot of interest from the broader Danish cross-country skiing community, which is awesome. We have also had a good training camp in Mallorca and hope to repeat it. We counted with the help from Northug and Alpina Ski Boots, who helped us drive up the interest and engagement with our team. We also had help from other teams, especially Team Ragde Charge. It has been very grateful for us, and we hope to learn more from the best in the world of long-distance cross-country skiing.”

“For the difficulties, we are geographically spread out, which gives some organizational difficulties. And with the whole covid situation, things have been worse than expected. We had a dark expectation at the beginning of winter, but now everything seems is brighter, and we hope it will become easier.”

How is the current season going, and what are your goals for the rest of the season? 

“The season thus far is going well. We have participated in two of the Visma Ski Classic races this season (La Diagonela and Marcialonga) and a couple of other races, with mostly satisfying results. This shows an improving shape in general for all of us, and we are looking forward to Vasaloppet, Birkebeinerrennet, Nordenskioldsloppet, Reistadløppet, and Ylläs-Levi, where we will have people starting. The goal for Vasaloppet is to be within the first 300.” 

Can you tell us a bit more about your background?

“We have a wide range of backgrounds and age distribution on our team. However, what we have in common, is that we all have previously been seriously engaged in other sports.”

“Bjørn Toft has been doing freeride snowboarding and competitive road cycling, while running a physio clinic in Switzerland which takes up a lot of time and energy. Summertime training is commuting on a mountain bike to work, and road cycling training has been changed for more roller skiing since last year. Uphill double polling on roller skis is a favorite training for Bjørn.”

“Joachim Thrane comes from mountain biking. Joachim does most of his training on roller skis and gets about 50% of the volume from commuting from the work as a scientist in downstream development in the pharmaceutical industry. Alternative training is mostly done on a mountain bike during the summer.”

“Sune Elmose was a professional volleyball player. He has a very active work life as a teacher in an outdoor and adventure sport study college, so he gets a lot of activity during the day, which he then supplements with running, weight training, roller skiing, and SkiErg training.”

“Martin Christensen has been doing a mix of sports like road cycling and running during his spare time. He was a rower and athlete of the Danish National Team. Martin lives in northern Norway-Tromsø, where he is doing his Ph.D., balancing his work and training. He trains on skis during the winter season, but during the summer season the primary training source is running. Other alternatives are roller skis, SkiErg, and weight training.” 

What is the popularity of long-distance racing in Denmark nowadays? 

“That is hard to say. The engagement seems to be rising, but the number of people performing long-distance skiing is probably constant now. However, the good winter conditions last year may have helped stir some additional interest, and we hope we may help improve this by having a Danish team as well. The training environment in Denmark is good, with organized training by ski clubs and the possibility to use the cycling paths and rolling/flattish roads are very good for training in Denmark.” 

What are your goals for the future? Becoming a Visma Ski Classics Pro Team is a possibility for you? 

“We hope to gather a group for registration as a Visma Ski Classics Pro Team next season, even if we have to pay the registration ourselves. We do not have the whole team yet; however, we believe this will be possible, especially with other Scandinavian skiers. We are currently looking into developing our network. We have had conversations with Visma Ski Classics, and they have been supportive and inclusive, which gives us extra motivation to become the first Danish Visma Ski Classics Pro Team!”

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