Jessie Diggins looks forward to train rides and point-to-point race during Ski Tour 2020

In one week, the world best cross-country skiers will gather in Östersund for the first stage of Ski Tour 2020. One of them is Olympic gold medalist Jessica “Jessie” Diggins. And one thing is for sure, she is bringing glitter and grit to Scandinavia.

Foto: Philipp Brem /Bildbyrån

In one week, the world best cross-country skiers will gather in Östersund for the first stage of Ski Tour 2020. One of them is Olympic gold medallist Jessica “Jessie” Diggins. And one thing is for sure, she is bringing glitter and grit to Scandinavia. Jessie Diggins is in the middle of preparing for the Coop FIS Cross-Country World Cup in Falun and the upcoming Ski Tour 2020 when we get a chance to talk to her over the phone from her training camp in Seefeld. The US ski team has been on a break from competitions ever since the world cup in Oberstdorf and are making good use of the free time by catching up on some training.

“The breaks are really important, I mean they can be a little bit boring because racing is exciting and we love to be racing, but I think it is important to be able to slow down and have some balance in your life” says Jessie Diggins.

The upcoming tour includes six competitions in five different venues. Including Åre, Storlien and Meråker as totally new editions to the list of world cup venues, which Diggins is thrilled about.

“I am really excited. I have heard so many good things and I am excited to see a few new places where I haven't raced before.”

Ski Tour 2020 includes a train travel rule for all athletes who wants to participate. Travelling by train is mandatory between the different stages in Östersund, Åre, Storlien, Meråker and Trondheim. Something that makes the tour stand out according to Diggins.

“I actually think it is going to be so cool that the athletes are riding in the train together. I think that it is really awesome and unique and a great move to make it a greener tour.”

She is particularly looking forward to the stage between Storlien and Meråker. A race where both men and women compete the same 38 km course over the Swedish and Norwegian boarder, as well as carrying their own drink to reduce the amount of snow mobiles needed for assistance along the course.

“I am really looking forward to the long one because it is a point-to-point, and that is really cool because the women have never got to do that before” says Jessie Diggins.

She refers to the 35 k race from Cortina d’Ampezzo to Toblach that previously has appeared on the world cup as a part of Tour de Ski.

“The men got to race, but the women never did, and I do not like that. I am really excited for a chance to do the point-to-point during Ski Tour 2020”

Half way through the world cup season, Jessie Diggins is in fourth place in the overall world cup standings. But she does not bring thoughts about the overall standings and world cup points during her many races. For her it is all about one race at a time, especially when competing in a tour. And it is the little things that can make a big difference when competing for the podium in Ski Tour 2020.

“I think it is really important to be smart about the details, like taking care of yourself. To make sure that you eat enough so you have a lot of energy. Making sure that you always have the right clothes to change into, so you don’t get sick. I think there is a lot of little things that add up to a better tour.”

But this season is not all about the competitions. In March, Jessie Diggins releases a book about her journey from the ski-crazed town of Afton, Minnesota, to winning the first cross-country gold medal ever for the United States together with her teammate Kikkan Randall. A journey were she openly shares her struggles with bulimia and how she managed to heal, in order to bring hope and understanding to others going through and struggling with eating disorders.

She committed to the book after realising the impact she had when speaking up about things that are hard. Not only for people that might go through the same thing, but also people that are close by, like parents and coaches.

“It is important to not just share the times when you win, and the times when it was easy. But the times when it was really hard and you got through it anyway” says Jessie Diggins.