19.12.2023 | WINTER 2023-2024 – HILLA’S TRAINING DIARY

A corporate supporter of sports, Robit signed a sponsorship and cooperation agreement in 2021 with Hilla Niemelä, one of the most promising young skiers in Finland. Hilla has been keeping a training diary for our readers; here is episode four.

The competition season has finally begun. Summer training was overall very successful. It’s been enjoyable to compete in the early season races, knowing that I have improved.

The season kicked off with the Vuokatti Finnish Cup sprint, which went smoothly from the start despite having skied only a few dozen kilometers on snow. I competed in all four races and finished fourth in the final.

After Vuokatti, I traveled to Ylläs for a training camp. The conditions were excellent and I did some great sport-specific training with two friends. After two weeks, we moved to Ruka for another round of the Finnish Cup. A good sprint day and an OK distance day earned me a spot in the Ruka World Cup, held a week after the Finnish Cup.

The Ruka World Cup was my main goal of the early season, and I especially succeeded in the sprint. I was 16th in the qualifiers and finished 21st – my best performance to date at the World Cup level. It was truly rewarding to see that I had improved since last season.

I had hoped for a better performance in the next day’s 10 km classic, but at least I got to wear the green U23 Cup leader’s bib for ten kilometers.

A week later, I competed in the FIS races in Imatra, in the sprint and the 10 km classic. The sprint was a qualifier for the Trondheim World Cup stage, held a week before Christmas. Winning in Imatra sent me to Trondheim and my first international World Cup of the season.

My main goal for the season is the last U23 World Championships, to be held in Planica in February. I’m looking forward to competing in the youth races one last time, but before that, I need to prepare and find my peak form…

Best Regards and Season’s Greetings, Hilla

PS. Trondheim was a nice place, I can go again. For the first time in a World Cup freestyle technique sprint, a top 30 placement was a strong performance for me. As a bonus, Saturday’s 20 km skiathlon was surprisingly enjoyable for a first-timer who originally had only freestyle technique equipment for the entire journey.