Back in February, ProXCskiing published an article about the Danish Skimarathon Team, in which we described how this group of skiers from Denmark were aiming to become the first Pro Team from their country competing at Ski Classics.
Now they finally achieved their goal. Despite many challenges, the Danish team registered for the upcoming season as a Pro Team. From having difficulties finding sponsors to not being easy to register female athletes, these skiers have managed to achieve their goals.
They hope to help make traditional and long-distance skiing more appealing in Denmark. ProXCskiing talked to the Pro Team to know how their first season will be – and who their new athletes are.
How is summer training going? Did the team start in many rollerskiing races?
“Summer training has generally been good, allowing for some quality rollerski training, but also various other alternative training methods such as mountain biking, road biking, stand up paddle, and more. Unfortunately, due to conflicting work schedules, we did not have any summer training camps this year. Sune and Joachim had the joy of participating in a couple of races. In the western part of Denmark, there is a well-established rollerski cup called Vest Cup. Sune has participated in some of the events. Joachim participated in a cross rollerski race, going in the forest on 150 mm wheels (mostly skating technique), but it gives another dimension compared to a regular paved road. We also had Joachim at Alliansloppet with his best performance so far. At Kongevejsløbet (The Kingsway’s race), the biggest rollerski race in Denmark, Joachim won, and Sune came in 3rd. The two Australian girls of our team decided to put in some extra winter training Down Under, enjoying the opposite seasons to the north.”
You are the first Pro Team from Denmark. How challenging has it been? Is the Danish public getting more interested in long-distance skiing?
“It has been quite a challenge. It has been especially hard to find partners and female athletes that want to join the team. In Denmark, it seems that many sports had a difficult start after Covid-19. It isn’t easy to describe people’s interest in the Ski Classics circuit. If we get snow and negative degrees, the interest will surely spike. Cycling is the main endurance sport in Denmark; we all saw how popular the Tour de France start was. We want to promote the Ski Classics as a similar sport, but on skis. But, to do so, it would require the same direct TV transmission as in Norway and Sweden.”
What about sponsorships? Do you have any potential sponsors? How do you finance travel and racing?
“We are still working on the sponsorships, and we hope to expand the number of partners we have. We have some good material sponsors like Northug, Alpina, and Energy in Brix Rechargeable. We also have discount prices with Auklandlegend, Abiilica, and Bioracer, which decrease our expenses. When we decided last winter to go for the team license, we agreed that we would be willing to pay the cost ourselves if we failed to secure sponsors. The whole team has gone into it with this in mind.”
“You can thus say that the joy of the sport drives the whole team, and we see and promote ourselves as a “workers team.” One of our inspirations is the Danish cyclists in the old days, carpenters, brick workers, etc., that had long, hard days of labor but still managed to go out training and racing. We want to be the modern version of these cyclists, but in XC skiing, since cycling has been transformed to anything but a workers’ sport. It is now almost a luxury sport. The inclusiveness on the Ski Classics circuit, where both the world’s best skiers and beginners start almost at the same time, is something that attracts us.”
What are the ambitions for the first winter as a Pro Team?
“We want to conquer top results at the national level, both Denmark and Australia. We want to be faster than at least some Norwegian or Swedish Pro Tour athletes in all the events we participate in. Have fun in the process and get experience to be used for the next season. And most of all, we hope to continue inspiring younger athletes to switch to cross-country and long-distance skiing in Denmark, so we get a bigger community in this sport.”
At the beginning of summer, the team was looking for female athletes. Now you have signed with two skiers. Can you tell us a bit about them?
“Yes, after having good talks with different athletes, the team expanded with two female athletes from Australia. Thus, fitting very well with the general idea of being the odd bunch, not the typical cross-country skiing nation. However, we will do our very best to surprise. Ella (Jackson) is the youngest athlete on the team, and she has been representing the Australian national XC skiing team for eight years. Now she wants to take her shot at long-distance skiing. Ella’s parents unintentionally put her in the endurance sports training camp as soon as she could walk, going on grand adventures in the Australian mountains with her family. Margeaux (Thompson) comes, as most of the team with another sports background, from elite lightweight rowing and cycling. Margeaux became hooked on cross-country skiing during a season abroad in Montana. Margeaux has moved from Down Under to Austria, where she finances her skiing by working in a medical device company.”