By Teemu Virtanen
All good things must come to an end, and that is exactly what the former Team BN Bank skier Simen Østensen has realized over the summer. He had a good winter with his successful team, but they were not able to continue as their title sponsor withdrew from the game. Naturally, it was a shock to the skiers, but they soldiered on. Petter Eliassen found solace in Team Ragde Eiendom, Øystein Pettersen decided to take it a bit easier but still found a comfortable home within the “Coffee Boys”, Team Kaffebryggeriet, and Morten Eide Pedersen got an offer from Team Jobstation.
After being a skier for 30 years of his life and a professional athlete for 15, Simen Østensen had come to a strange place. A place that he hadn’t visited before, and that was the place of uncertainty. He didn’t know what to do or where to go. On top of things, he didn’t feel the same hunger as before. After a careful consideration, he admitted to himself that he wasn’t that motivated any more. He had been trying to find some sponsors together with Morten, but when his teammate moved on to the new team, that initiative came to an end. Then, he got an offer to join the same team as Morten, which he accepted, but around the time of Alliansloppet in Sweden in August, everything came crashing down. The French Pro Team had to call it quits as they didn’t get the financial support they expected and needed to carry on.
Again, Morten and Simen were on their own. Morten wasn’t ready to give up, and he even considered going solo and finding personal sponsors, but then Vetle Thyli made him an offer, which Morten couldn’t refuse. Simen, on the other hand, felt that he was running out of mojo, and he just didn’t feel motivated to push against all odds. He decided to bid adieu to the sport that had served him well for so long and find a new path to walk upon. However, Simen has signed a contract with Frogner Runners aiming to run a marathon with a target time 2:20 in mind next year.
“This is the first time in my life that I feel this way,” Simen tells me over the phone. “I have always been motivated, but after last season I just didn’t have the same motivation anymore. After all the troubles we’ve been through in terms of finding sponsors and joining new teams, I became more determined about leaving all this behind. Now, it’s time to do something else. If I was at my early 20s, I would certainly just continue on my own, but at 35 it’s a different ball game. I will always love skiing, and it will be an important part of my life. Right now, I find roller-skiing very boring, but I know when the snow hits the ground, I will be on my skis again. I will keep myself fit and continue training for fun.”
Perhaps, Simen needs to take his mind off skiing and pursue new ventures in life. When time passes, he could find his way back to the sport he loves so much. The fact is that the passion never dies, and Simen has a lot to offer to cross-country skiing in all its forms. So Simen, take your time, find your new calling and come back to us when you are ready. You will surely be missed next season, but Visma Ski Classics is always going to be around, and the door is open to you as it is to all family members. So, happy trails to you and see you soon!
Check out Simen Østensen's results in Visma Ski Classic (Ski Classics) since 2011: