Normally, Kari Øyre Slind focuses on the World Cup and traditional cross-country skiing. But after the climbing accident this summer where Øyre Slind broke both legs, she now sees long distance skiing as a more gentle transition to a comeback at World Cup level.
Øyre Slind admittedly made a comeback already during the season opener at Beitostølen on November 21st, and went onto finish in 15th place in the 10 kilometers classic race. But she realizes that she still has a long way to go before she is close to the level required to be eligible for the World Cup.
“It is a little more gentle to go long distance cross-country skiing, so I want to use the long distance cross-country skiing early in the season to build myself up for traditional cross-country skiing in the long run,” says Øyre Slind.
That is why Øyre Slind has signed with the long distance cross-country skiing team Team Koteng Eidissen, and will make her debut as a long distance cross-country skier already in this weekend’s Visma Ski Classics opening race in Orsa, Sweden.
The plan is to go the first four races in Visma Ski Classics, and then go to Norwegian Cup and Scandinavian Cup later in the season with the goal of qualifying for the World Cup that way.
At the same time, Øyre Slind is excited about how she will assert herself in pure double poling races.
“I have never run any other cross-country skiing race than traditional, and never a double pole race. I have trained a little hard on the SkiErg this autumn, but not many long double poling trips,” she says.
But even though the ambition then is to fully focus on traditional cross-country skiing from and including the Norwegian Cup at Lygna last weekend in January, Øyre Slind does not rule out that she may consider switching to long distance cross-country skiing.
“The first priority is to use the long races as training for the Norwegian Cup and Scandinavian Cup later in the season. But there is a good level in Visma Ski Classics, and I look forward to skiing in the Alps.”