Team Front Rustad IL – Pro Team Presentation Season XIV
Rustad IL in Oslo is one of Norway’s largest and most prestigious ski clubs. The club has been home to many Olympic and World Championship heroes over the years, and this Pro Team has carried their flag with honor on the Ski Classics battlefield. This team, with nine skiers, has a great mixture of youth and experience.
Nils Ø. Berg is a master skier who turns 54 in January. He has been around the block a few times, and he has participated in many local long-distance ski races in the past. Birkebeinerrennet is a familiar playground for him as he has finished the race several times, usually placing himself in and out of the top 200. In 2011, he had a glorious day on the tracks of the legendary Marcialonga, and he reached Cavalese as the 87th-best skier.
Hans Petter Rolke was the busiest team member with his seven Pro Tour events last season, and he was also the most successful one by finishing in the top 50 in all of them, except Marcialonga, where he was 55th. This skier certainly has the needed capacity to be in the top 30 this season if his summer training has proceeded well.
Lars Sørensen was also no stranger to Ski Classics as he took part in five Pro Tour events last winter and finished in the top 50 in two of them: 43rd at Jizerská50 and 38th at Reistadløpet. He also performed quite well at the Norwegian National Championships.
Marius Harv’s race season included three Pro Tour events, and he was in the top 60 in two of those races and finished 202nd at Vasaloppet. Unlike his teammates above, Henrik Bøyum Webjørnsen does not have as much experience in long-distance skiing due to his young age. However, this 20-year-old skier was brave enough to try five Pro Tour events, and Prato Piazza Mountain Challenge proved to be his best race, with 65th place there. His teammate Magnus Waaler is not a Ski Classics Pro Athlete per se, but he is a keen cross-country skier and last winter finished 103rd at Birkebeinerrennet. This social media influencer wanted to test his endurance capacity by skiing 24 hours in 2021. He managed to go beyond 200 kilometers during that timeframe.
Ståle Fenstad has a long result list covering years of long-distance skiing, but last winter, he only finished one Pro Tour event, Birken, where his name can be found as the 154th fastest skier in the result list.
The two female skiers on the team are Christine Louise Stavnum Arnkværn and Ingvild Bratlie. The former is only 20 years old and participated in the Individual Prologue with the 45th position last winter. She was actively involved in junior racing and took part in the 5 km skating race at the Norwegian National Championships by finishing 141st. On the other hand, the latter has gained more experience in skiing long distances as she finished five Pro Tour events. She was in the top 40 in all of them, and Reistadløpet’s 19th place was her best result.
This Pro Team has potential top 50 male skiers, and if everything goes well for them, some of them can even reach the much-coveted top 30 group. The women on the team still need to gain more experience and tactical savviness in order to succeed in the competitive field. It will be interesting to see how far these Rustad skiers can go this winter.