Photo courtesy of Sadie Bjornsen’s Facebook page

Sadie Bjorsen celebrated her 3rd-place finish in the women’s 10-kilometer classic race at Lenzerheide, Switzerland, last weekend.

By Don Nelson

Methow Valley native Sadie Bjornsen raced to her third podium finish of the season as World Cup Nordic racing resumed last weekend, taking 3rd place in the women’s 10-kilometer classic event at the Tour de Ski in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

Meanwhile, her brother Erik continued as a top performer for the U.S. men’s cross country team.

Both Bjornsens were on the 2014 U.S. Winter Olympics cross country skiing team, and are in the home stretch of competition leading up to the 2018 Winter Olympics PeyongChang, South Korea, Feb. 9 – 25.

On day one (Dec. 30) of the three-day competition, Sadie finished 13th in the sprint finals. Fellow Americans Sophie Caldwell and Jessica Diggins were 2nd and 5th, respectively.

“I got pretty boxed in when I was finally starting to get some good momentum at the end of the heat,” Sadie said her post-race commentary. “With the new snow, it made for some tactical skiing, which I have never been the best at.”

Erik finished 25th in the men’s sprint final, behind fellow Americans Simeon Hamilton in 15th and Andrew Newell in 19th.

On day two (Dec. 31), Sadie powered to a bronze medal finish in the 10K classic — “the first distance podium of my career,” she said. Diggins was 7th and Caldwell 21st.

“Wow, what a dream day,” Sadie said in her commentary. “That was one of my crazier experiences in ski racing. It was a tricky day of skiing with really icy conditions, and tough to kick your ski. I decided before the race I was just going to get scrappy and make it work, and never give up.”

“A distance classic podium has been a dream of mine since I first started racing World Cup, so that was so fun to achieve,” she added.

Erik was the top American finisher in the men’s 10K, taking 27th place.

Sadie missed another podium performance by about 30 seconds on day three (Jan. 1), taking 5th place in the women’s 10K pursuit. Diggins took 3rd place.

“It was my goal to try to catch Jessie [Diggins] and ski with her, but I knew I needed to get it done in the first kilometer, because she was going to be on a mission,” Sadie said in her commentary. “I got darn close, but not quite close enough. I could tell right away I was going to be on a solo mission and needed to really push hard to stay ahead of the group working together behind me. I managed to stay ahead until literally the last downhill … but I left the day pretty satisfied.”

Erik was once again the top men’s finisher for the U.S. team in the 15K pursuit, taking 22nd place.

Next up for the Bjornsens is Oberstdorf, Germany, Jan. 3-4; then Val de Flemme, Italy, on Jan. 6 – 7 — concluding seven races over nine days in three countries in Tour de Ski competition.