Two-time Olympian a World Cup star for U.S. Ski Team
By Don Nelson
After a legendary career as one of America’s top Nordic skiers, Methow Valley native and two-time Olympian Sadie Maubet Bjornsen is retiring from the professional circuit.
Bjornsen, who grew up in Mazama and whose brother Erik also represented the United States in two winter Olympics, announced last week that she was ending her decade-long pro career.
And what a career it’s been. According to an article last week in the Anchorage, Alaska, Daily News, Bjornsen’s legacy includes nearly 200 World Cup starts, the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics, competing in seven World Championships, 11 World Cup medals, one World Championship medal and five consecutive seasons as one of the world’s top-16 skiers.
Bjornsen is returning to Anchorage, which has been her home base for many years. She will take advantage of her degree in accounting to launch her next career. Bjornsen holds degrees in accounting and nonprofit business management from Alaska Pacific University, where she competed as a college athlete.
Last week, Bjornsen was part of a U.S. team that took fourth place in the women’s 4×5-kilometer relay in the World Championships at Oberstdorf, Germany– less than a second behind the third-place finishers. It would have another podium appearance for Bjornsen had her team taken the bronze.
Bjornsen, 31, first competed on the World Cup circuit 10 years ago. In 2019, she married a French alpine skier, Jo Maubet. Bjornsen’s retirement followed her brother Erik’s by about a year.
Bjornsen was 14th overall in 2019 and eighth overall last season in World Cup rankings. In 2018, she achieved her highest World Cup rankng, finishing sixth.
In April 2018, after the Olympic games in PyeongChang, South Korea, Bjornsen returned to the Methow Valley and was feted with a welcome-home parade. Like Sadie, Erik also represented the United States at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
“Returning stateside after closing out an absolute dream chapter to my professional ski career,” Bjornsen said in a recent Facebook page post. “Although I will be taking a step away from my ‘first love,’ I will remain a skier for life. The tools I gained, the lessons I learned, the teams that I was surrounded by, and the community I found will remain deep rooted within me. I couldn’t have succeeded on this extraordinary path without the support of my family, friends, sponsors, teams, coaches, techs, and my incredible husband. Thank you for dreaming with me, believing in me, running with me, and most importantly supporting me. You are my team for life!”
Erik Bjornsen and his wife, Marine, are now co-owners of Winthrop Mountain Sports, along with husband-and-wife Eric Purpus and Kelly Bolinger, who are valley residents and longtime friends of the Bjornsen family. The two couples took ownership of the store in September 2020.
Eric retired in 2020, after more than a decade of extraordinarily successful competition in Nordic skiing as a member of the U.S. Ski Team. He won several national championships and was often the top American finisher on the intensely competitive European race circuit.
Sadie’s and Erik’s parents, Tom and Mary Bjornsen, live near Mazama. Tom is a contractor who has built many houses in the Methow Valley.