Madshus Has Signed 4 New World Cup Biathletes.

November 28, 2023

Endre Strømsheim, Emma Lunder, Ragnhild Femsteinevik and Maya Cloetens are amongst the promising athletes who swapped out their gear for Madshus equipment this season. Let’s dive in and get to know them!

Endre Strømsheim had an extraordinary breakthrough season last winter and the 26-year-old Norwegian has replaced his entire quiver of skis and boots. Lock, stock, and barrel.

“A lot of good things happened to me last winter. I made significant changes to my training leading up to last season, and it worked really well. So, I'm continuing that this year. And that's why I think a radical change in equipment now could work well,” says Endre Strømsheim.

Strømsheim is one of four new racers joining the Madshus Biathlon World Cup team this season. We sat down with the 26-year-old from Rykkinn, Norway, for a chat about this radical and seemingly risky move. More on that later in the story. 

Emma Lunder from Canada switched to Madshus prior to this season. Throughout her career, Lunder has built a solid foundation, stepping up her performance year by year. The 2023 season was her best to date, finishing among the top 25 in the overall World Cup.

When the 32-year-old veteran with 181 World Cup races under her belt is entering her 11th World Cup season, it is on Madshus skis. Fun fact: Outside the biathlon arena, Lunder has a talent for …. Building gingerbread houses! Check it out here.

Photo by: Emma Lunder

Ragnhild Femsteinevik was named to the Norwegian elite team prior to the 2022/23 season, and is ready to step up her game to another level. For the 28-year-old from Hatlestrand, Norway, switching to Madshus skis and boots was a natural part of that plan. “Becoming a part of the Madshus family feels like coming back to my roots, where it all started when Thomas Alsgaard was my hero and inspiration,” Femsteinevik says.

Photo by: Ragnhild Femsteinevik

At 21, and only entering her second season at the World Cup level, Maya Cloetens from Belgium is no stranger to the podium: In her first season at the international level, she was on the podium five times in the IBU Junior Cup just during the month of December 2022. 

Just in a month, she earned herself tickets to the World Cup, the 2023 European Championships and even the 2023 IBU World Championships in Oberhof. Germany. 

“That was just crazy. In December I was still a junior athlete and then I was on the start line in Oberhof. My eyes lit up; I was so happy to be able to experience that,” Cloetens says. Now, she’s eager to chase more podiums, on Madshus skis and boots. 

“I’m so proud to reveal the colors of my new skis, and I thank Madshus for their trust and warm welcome,” Cloetens says. 

Photo by: Maya Cloetens

Looking for an extra boost
Now, let’s dive into Strømsheim’s story: how and why the 26-year-old changed his entire quiver of skis and boots following his most successful season yet and his goals and expectations for the future. 

After a tough season in 2021/22, Strømsheim had a real upturn last winter. He dominated the IBU Cup, won two goldmedals and a bronze in the European Championships, and made his debut at the highest level in both the World Championships and the World Cup with very respectable results: Three top-15 finishes in the World Championships and two podium finishes, including a victory in the World Cup. But despite strong performances in the World Cup, Strømsheim was not selected for the elite national team for the upcoming season.

However, as the overall winner of the IBU Cup, Strømsheim has a free pass to the World Cup opening in November. With good results there, he has the opportunity to secure a spot in the World Cup team for the following rounds. He plans to do it with an entirely new ski fleet.

“Everything I'm doing now is aimed at the 2026 Olympics. So now I'm excited to see if I can get a boost by changing ski brands,” explains Strømsheim.

He says that the idea had been on his mind for a while, but the timing after a fantastic season is perfect for negotiating a contract.

“The thought of changing ski brands has been in my mind for a while, but now was a good time to do it. Madshus is not the brand with the most athletes on a World Cup contract, but those who ski with Madshus have had very good results consistently and in all conditions,” says Strømsheim.

But isn't it a big risk to throw out all the skis you used in the breakthrough season?
“Yes, you could say that. And there was absolutely nothing wrong with the skis I used. I was very satisfied with them. But I think a change can be positive. I know several good Norwegians who ski with Madshus, I've had good contact with Madshus' racing service, and I got to test a lot of equipment at the end of the season,” says Strømsheim. 

“This season there will be significant upheavals and changes anyway, as everything from now on must be completely fluor-free. So, in that sense, this might be the very best time to change brands. And there are still a couple of seasons before the Olympics.”

Photo by: Endre Strømsheim

Innovation and Involvement
For Strømsheim, innovation and development are crucial parts of the decision. He believes the Norwegian manufacturer is at the forefront of product development, and athletes are involved in the processes.

“They are always on the ball, and they have taken big steps in product development in recent years. It feels like they are ahead in the game there, and it will be cool to be a part of it. And it's also exciting to represent a Norwegian brand,” he says.

Furthermore, Strømsheim highlights the proximity to the factory as an important factor. The factory is located in Biri, a stone's throw from Lillehammer where the talent lives and trains.

“Being close to Lillehammer makes it easy to communicate with them about equipment. But it's a whole package: the products, the proximity to the factory, the people at Madshus, and the service they provide,”he says.

Equipment is an X-factor
Strømsheim emphasizes that equipment is an X-factor, also mentally, in a sport where miniscule margins separate winners from the rest. If you question your equipment, everything can fall apart, even if you feel super sharp physically.

How important is equipment for performances?
“It's absolutely crucial that you trust the equipment and feel that you have gear that allows you to chase the results you want. If you are insecure about the skis and you get a negative split time, it's easy to lose a lot mentally. Then everything gets really hard,” explains Strømsheim.“And now, actually, four out of the six of us guys on the development national team are skiing on Madshus. Vebjørn Sørum, Vetle Rype Paulsen, and Johan Olav Smørgrav Botn. That's a little extra fun,” he adds.

Photo by: Nordic Focus