Meet the brave faces of the Ylläs-Levi challenge!
Petter Hoxmark and Victoria Ernstsen from Norway, Jonna Holmberg and Joakim Granat from Sweden, Matti Aaltonen and Albert Wikström from Finland has accepted the ultimate Visma Ski Classics challenge! From January we will follow them on the journey towards becoming long distance skiers at Yllas-Levi on April 8.
Read about their immediate reactions when they received the news just before Christmas:
Name: Albert Wikström (on the left)
Company: Visma Solutions Oy
Position: Partner Manager
Experience with skiing: I have some skiing experience. There is a photo in my childhood´s photo album from 1986 when my father took me and my sister skiing in Helsinki Central Park. The outside temperature was -20 degrees and I remember that there was no one else in the park that day. I have some experience also from later years (2009-2013), when we had properly snow here in Helsinki area.
Why did I apply: I applied for the project because I have been dreaming about participating in a long-distance cross-country skiing competition. My sister has often participated in the Vasa Loppet competition and has challenged me to the competition too, but I have never been brave enough to participate. Now I can prove to my sister that I can do it. Maybe she can give me some tips on how to survive the race.
My expectations: I expect that this project Ylläs-Levi will be a memorable experience. My own goals in training have been lost lately and I hope I will find new energy for training again. I`m looking forward to training with a professional coach for the competition. In honor of my 35th birthday on 7th of April, I'm going to prove to myself that I can do this. The project includes a heavy training period and probably some despair at times, but it will be worth it when I cross the finish line!
Name: Matti Aaltonen (on the right)
Company: Visma Software Oy
Position: Application Specialist
Experience with skiing: I have a long background in track and field, but to be honest, winter sport and skiing is unfamiliar sport for me. I love to watch it from TV though, and it will be great to learn skiing and technique from the professionals!
Why did I apply: I see this project really interesting and super motivating since I'm a quite competitive person and love these kind of challenges. And I guess I'm also a bit crazy and reckless since I applied to this project.
My expectations: Now that the participation of the Ylläs-Levi ski project is reality, my mind is open and expectations are high! I look forward to finding my inner skier with my motivated and enthusiastic attitude and encouragement from my colleagues and friends. I'm sure that great, professional coaching will train this kind of former race runner into a street credible skier who can cope with honor 60 kilometer skiing next spring in Ylläs and Levi terrain. The coming spring will show, what kind of success story or via dolorosa this project will be in the end!