By André Santos
26-year-old Anikken Gjerde Alnaes has joined Team Ragde Eiendom and will make her debut as a Pro Team athlete in Visma Ski Classics in season XI, with the ambition of getting in the fight for the green Sprint bib.
While getting ready for a new phase in her career, Anikken shared her thoughts about training, ambitions for the future and her new team.
Hello Anikken! You are an experienced skier with good results from previous seasons, can you describe your career until you decided to focus on long distance skiing?
“I participated in my first «race» when I was about 11 months old and I’ve loved it since. However, it’s been a troubling way, and I’m not taking for granted to get this opportunity to race with Team Ragde Eiendom.
I was a promising junior skier who failed due to illness and incompetency of training. After my victory in the Junior National sprint back in 2012, it took me five years to get back on track and even two years to get on the level I was last year. Three World Cup-starts were more than expected, and the 8th place in the sprint in Dresden wasn’t even in my wildest fantasy.
However, it’s neither a specific result nor race I look back at as my main achievements. It’s the strength I found to change my mindset and to find happiness in small improvements, from an interval to a personal test race. To be able to continue to work hard even though everything was pitch black.”
What are your expectations now that you are a member of Team Ragde Eiendom?
“I expect it to be though and inspiring, as I will get new input and grow stronger as an athlete. I think it will be a challenge both mentally and physically, as well as a ton of fun.”
You will be training with champions like Aukland, Eliassen, Nygaard, and also a legend like Marit Bjørgen. How do you feel about being their teammate?
“I’m beyond stoked to be their teammate. I respect them in terms of their achievements, as well as their willingness to share and include everyone within the team. I’m looking forward to listening to their opinions about training and ways toward success. It’s an inspiration every day, and I get the motivation to do the work.”
What are your ambitions for the next Visma Ski Classics season?
“I’m always working hard to take new steps and improve as a skier and a person. My ambitions are to improve race by race. With my attributes as a sprinter, I want to get in the fight for the green jersey.”
What do you usually do when you are not skiing? And what are your projects for the future?
“Besides skiing, I'm working as a ski coach for teenagers in Rustad IL, designing web-pages, communication and social media work, and as a training planner of the project «Best i Birken» through Online Skikurs.
Additionally, I will start to work towards an M.A degree.”
What tips can you give to younger athletes who are becoming more ambitious about long-distance races than shorter races?
“First of all, dare to do what your heart tells you to do, never give up, and find your way towards success. I don’t think you have to compromise between long distance racing or shorter distance racing. I believe training for long distance will make you a better skier. However, start working on your double poling skills.”
Can you tell us a bit more about the project for Birkenbeinerrennet?
“It’s an online training community where you get a weekly training program based on how many hours you choose. The goal is to race at your best potential, based on the hours you've chosen through the year at Birkebeinerrennet in March. Some committed to this training plan in June, while some will commit after the summer leading towards their main goal. I want to make it easy for people to exercise, give them the right tools for them to be able to reach their goal in the race.”
Photo: Børre E. Helgerud.