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Ski Classics Ski or Die: “I always knew I wanted to do more long-distance”

The second episode of the Ski Classics Ski or Die documentary series was released yesterday. This time, we get a peek behind the scenes of the Vltava Fund Ski Team and follow Fabián Štoček and Jan Šrail on their hard-fought journey towards their goals. The episode doesn’t just showcase their dedication but also opens up about their emotions, insights, and deep passion for the sport. 

Photo: Reichert/NordicFocus

In this episode of Ski Classics Ski or Die, you can listen to Fabián Štoček describe his journey from a young age, when he started skiing in the Czech Republic, through his time in the USA, until he reached the top of the sport he loves so much. 

Fabián speaks excellent English, having moved to the US at 15 and attended school there. He talked about the US university system and how it was much more supportive of skiing than in Europe. 

“My grandparents were both cross-country skiers and coaches, my aunts went to the Olympics at some point, and yeah, I couldn’t get away,” says Fabián Štoček and adds about the tradition of cross-country skiing in his area:

“I grew up in a small town in the Czech Republic, and everybody skied around, all the community. Everybody knows about it, and that’s how I got into it at a very young age.”

Fabián just finished his studies and now wants to focus on skiing. But before, the Czech Pro Team athlete spent some time in the US. 

“When I was 15, I moved to the US. I spent three years at high school in the US and then decided to stay for college. I skied for the Dartmouth Ski Team for four years, and then after that, I moved back to Europe for my PhD.”

The article continues below.

Ski Classics Ski or Die – Episode 2 – Vltava Fund Ski Team

Ski Classics Ski or Die – Part of the SC – The Ski Community

You can watch Ski Classics Ski or Die exclusively as a member of SC – The Ski Community. By becoming a member, you get access to exclusive benefits and unlimited access to all content and features on,,,, SC Play, and SC MyPages.

What did you learn, and what did you take away from those years?

“I was a younger skier. It was nice because I had a variety of coaches and a variety of terrains to train on, and I got to experience the US pipeline of skiing, where a lot of skiers end up going through college and then turning to the US Ski Team.”

“I wanted to have a B-plan, and to me, getting a college or higher degree was an achievement that I wanted to go for, and that taught me how to combine athletics and academics at a fairly high level.”

And what’s the difference between cross-country skiing as an athlete in the USA and Europe?

“Their pipeline is quite different, more integrated with the colleges. There, you have full support from coaches, massage, strength coaches, and scholarships as well. I think in Europe, if you try to ski and go to college at the same time, it’s very hard,” and adds about the situation in the Czech Republic.

“In Czech, it is like, after high school, you decide you go full or end, and that’s kind of the path you have.” 

Joy for long-distance skiing

Fabián has always skied long distances with the Vltava Fund Ski Team, but longer distances were discouraged during his time in the US. 

“Growing up in the US, I did lots of 10k’s and 5k’s, sometimes 20k’s, but that wasn’t that common to ski any longer races, and the coaches were like ‘oh, you shouldn’t ski 40k or 50k, it’s going to destroy you for the season,’ and I did maybe only one race, one 40k or 50k when I was a junior, but I really enjoyed.” 

“I didn’t like the short 10k when you couldn’t ski with anybody else, just on your own. The pain cave was one thing, but I enjoyed much more the strategy of skiing without the skiers, having the emotion and passion around you, and just knowing, ‘ok, I can push myself, be better than this guy.’ So, I think that’s what got me into long-distance skiing. I knew throughout college that I wanted to do it, so after returning from the US, I ended up on this team (Vltava Fund Ski Team). And after that, I just transitioned to kind of full-time Ski Classics,” says Fabián Štoček and concludes: 

“I think for me, I always knew I wanted to do more long-distance, always liked pushing more hours and more kilometers.”

Having finished his studies, Štoček now wants to focus on skiing, and his goal for Season XV is to become a consistent top-20 skier in Ski Classics while picking up sprint points whenever possible.

Read More: Ski Classics Ski or Die: This Czech Pro Team continues the Ski Classics documentary series.

Ski Classics Ski or Die release dates

  • November 17, 12:00 CET – Episode 1: Team Ragde Charge (WATCH HERE)
  • November 24, 12:00 CET – Episode 2: Vltava Fund Ski Team (WATCH HERE)
  • December 1, 12:00 CET – Episode 3: Lager 157 Ski Team

Ski Classics Ski or Die – Part of the SC – The Ski Community

You can watch Ski Classics Ski or Die exclusively as a member of the SC – The Ski Community. A membership gives access to the streaming service SC Play, where you can watch the new documentaries and live-streamed events.

If you are an active skier, you can, as a member, also generate your global Ski Classics ranking, see your historical race results, and sign up for new events. Get the latest news in the ski world and full access to all content on and its sister sites (,, – such as member articles, equipment tests, and training videos. 



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