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Who To Watch This Season?

October 16, 2023

The race season is approaching, and our Madshus athletes are ready to inspire. Learn about a few to watch this season. 

The highest forms of racing are quickly approaching, both for the cross-country skiers and biathletes, and we wanted to share a few with you to watch this winter. 

Starting with cross-country, the FIS Cross Country World Cup is the main show opening in Ruka (FIN) on November 24. With no major international championships on the calendar for the 2023/24 season, the Tour de Ski will be one of the biggest highlights this winter. The 9-day stage race starts in Toblach (ITA) on December 31 and ends with the brutal final climb up Alpe Cermis in Val di Fiemme (ITA) on January 7. 

See the complete 2023/24 FIS Cross Country World Cup schedule

Photo by: Nordic Focus

Harald Østberg Amundsen (NOR) was truly on a roll last winter. The 25-year-old won the National Championships in January, bagged his first-ever World Cup victory the next week, took home the silver medal from the 15-kilometer skate race at the 2023 World Championships in Planica (SLO) in March, and posted World Cup podiums in sprint events before the season was over. 

He also won the overall Scandinavian Cup, which grants him a free spot for the entire first period of the 2023/24 World Cup. Østberg Amundsen surely will not waste the opportunity, but he considers the entire upcoming season a 4-month party. 

“With no major championship on the schedule, every race weekend will be a highlight, and there is a lot to be excited about. Tour de Ski and the new World Cup round in Trondheim (NOR) in December are two events I’m looking forward to, but I’m also super excited about the World Cup rounds in the United States and Canada in February,” Østberg Amundsen says. 

At 25, Østberg Amundsen points out that he will be in his prime at the time of the 2025 World Championships on home turf in Trondheim next season, as well as for the 2026 Olympics in Milan (ITA), the 2027 World Championships in Falun (SWE) and beyond. 

Among the young and promising members of Team Madshus, Ben Ogden (USA) certainly put his name on the map last season. The 23-year-old from Vermont won the 2023 overall U23 World Cup and bagged a number of World Cup sprint finals last season as well as a strong 6th place in a 10-kilometer classic race during the Tour de Ski. Rumors have it that the bold and ambitious American has taken new steps this summer.

Photo by: Nordic Focus

And while talking about young and promising, it’s hard to avoid a few of our Swedes. 

Edvin Anger, who entered the World Cup circuit with a statement last season by helping the Swedish relay team to two podiums, including a victory, is back for more. He earned six individual World Cup sprint finals and a spot on the Swedish national team for the 2023 World Championships. For 2023/24, the 21-year-old has his goals set high. 

“I will be disappointed if I don’t bag an individual World Cup victory this season,” Anger says. 

Then there is another Madshus junior Alvar Myhlback. The 17-year-old Swede was ONE scant second from beating the world’s best cross-country ski racer Johannes Høsflot Klæbo (NOR) and triple reigning World Champion Simen Hegstad Krüger (NOR) at the prestigious 4-day roller ski festival Toppidrettsveka in Trondheim in August. 

“This was fun. It went well,” the young Swede said of his race week in Trondheim.  

The next week, Myhlback took over the stop spot beating, both the established World Cup elite and the Ski Classics long-distance pros, in the 15-kilometer classic race at the Alliansloppet in Sweden. While Myhlback has, so far, focused primarily on the Ski Classics long-distance series as a part of the Swedish pro team Lager 157 Ski Team, he is now chasing the World Cup as well - with the 2025 FIS Nordic World Championships in Trondheim as an overall goal. 

“I will be back in Trondheim in a year and a half. Then I will win,” Myhlback says. 

Read more: “I will be back for the World Championships in 2025. Then I’ll win”

For Finnish World Cup veteran Krista Pärmäkoski, the Tour de Ski, and specifically the brutal final stage, is an annual highlight. Now the 32-year-old is heading into her 15th World Cup season and she is as motivated as ever. 

“I already know that it feels bad to climb Alpe Cermis, but I want to experience that pain one more time,” says Pärmäkoski. 

Additionally, while Pärmäkoski has 12 major championship medals, she is still chasing her first individual gold medal, and the next opportunity is the 2025 World Championships in Trondheim.

Photo by: Nordic Focus

And finally, after a sub-par season last winter, Helene Fossesholm (NOR) has spent the summer training well and will return to the World Cup eager to chase podiums. 

In 2021, then still only a 19-year-old junior, she went straight to the podium in her first World Championships at the senior level. But leading up to the 2022 Olympics, Fossesholm was “a little hot on the jets” and fell into the overtraining trap.  

“I want to fight for World Cup podiums again. That’s my goal. I don’t put in all this work just to be top-10 or top-15,” says the 22-year-old, who has spent the last year digging her way back from overtraining. 

“I had to learn the hard way. Now I know how far I can push and where my limits are,” Fossesholm says. 

Photo by: Nordic Focus

See the complete 2023/24 IBU World Cup Schedule

On the biathlon side there is also a lot to look forward to when the World Cup gets underway in Östersund (SWE) on November 25. Additionally, Nove Mesto (CZE) will host the 2024 IBU World Championships from February 5-18. 

So, who to watch on the biggest biathlon stage this winter? 

For starters, Sturla Holm Lægreid (NOR). Second in the overall World Cup both last year and in 2022, the 26-year-old is aiming for the big crystal globe this year. 

Always lightning fast on the track, accurate and cool as a cucumber at the range, Lægreid has sharpened his shooting skills further this summer. Now, he cleans the targets, even his standing stages, in 15 seconds flat. 

“If there is one place I can improve, it is standing. So, I have been working on that,” Lægreid explains. 

Madshus veteran Benedikt Doll (GER) returns to the World Cup as the reigning 2023 German Champion of Summer Biathlon. The 33-year-old enters his 13th World Cup season, and after nearly 300 World Cup races, Doll is still as excited for every race now as he was the first time. His overall goal: “To do a perfect race when the stakes are the highest.” Fellow German biathlete, Roman Rees, is entering his eighth World Cup season. Bagging six World Cup podiums last season, his best season so far, the 30-year-old is still chasing his first victory. 

Photo by: Nordic Focus

Additionally, Madshus welcomes Endre Strømsheim (NOR) to the team. The 26-year-old made an impressive debut at the World Cup last winter. First, he hauled to a fourth place in his first-ever World Cup race. Then he helped Norway to third place in the relay only a couple of days later. Finally, he earned a World Cup victory in the relay in Östersund in March. 

Speaking of fresh faces: For years, Vilde Nilsen (NOR) has dominated cross-country. Now she’s going for a double by adding biathlon to the lineup and aiming for the 2024 World Championships. Here’s how the 22-year-old from Tromsø plans to do it.

Also, Madshus racer Tara Geraghty-Moats (USA), who pioneered women’s Nordic Combined for years, recently transitioned to biathlon. Now, heading into her second season on the IBU Biathlon World Cup, the 30-year-old from Vermont is aiming for a spot on the US team to the 2024 IBU Biathlon World Championships. 

“The transition was less difficult than I thought it was going to be. Standing shooting is still really inconsistent and hard for me, but at the end of the day, I made the World Championships team about a year after my first international race doing biathlon. So, the progress has been good, even if I still have a lot to improve,” Geraghty-Moats says. 

Read more about how to follow your dreams: Meet Tara Geraghty-Moats (USA)

Photo by: Nordic Focus