Season Reflections with Annika Landis, EnjoyWinter Factory Team

Posted by Annika Landis, Enjoywinter Factory Team on Apr 12th 2024

Season Reflections with Annika Landis, EnjoyWinter Factory Team

After 3.5 weeks in Norway and almost a 1.5 months on the road, I had one last stop in Sun Valley for the International Spring Series races, before heading back to Boston for some rest and recovery. I was not expecting any outstanding performances here, considering the first race was a team sprint, and it has been quite a while since I have done anything even close to that short. I knew it was going to hurt, but I was so excited to team up with my friend Sarah Goble and race for the heck of it, even if I was not all that prepared. The last races always have such a good energy surrounding them, something about the spring sun and fatigued anticipation of celebrating another season done. It will be nice to cap off the winter at home with friends, and hopefully plenty of sunshine.

Sarah and I qualified 2nd in the team sprint, and placed 5th in the finals. I surprised myself by finishing 8th in the individual qualifier, so maybe marathon training is the new sprint training?

I surprised myself (again!) with a podium finish in the 10k skate. It was some of the most fun racing I’ve had all year.

Besides these last races, (team sprint and a 10k skate) I am done with the 23/24 racing season, and it was unlike any season I have raced before. It was an experiment for me to see if I could keep racing in a way that I enjoyed, and whether the Enjoy Winter Factory Team could get all types of racers excited about racing domestically and continuing to build up the ski community. I think overall things went really well, and even better that I expected. After spending a little time reflecting, I wanted to share with you a few things that I think went well and a few that were challenging for me this season.

What went well:

The best part about this season was ski racing on my own terms. I got to do more skiing, with less stress and more overall enjoyment. I got to race the distances that I enjoy the most, explore new trails, and race just for the fun of it. That alone made the season a success for me.

One of my favorite things to do is go out and ski indefinitely. That is pretty hard to do when you need to be fresh for racing during the winter. This year, that was not an obstacle and I could take advantage of good snow and good skiing wherever I was. I didn’t always ‘taper’ well for certain events and I’m sure that didn’t always help me race faster, but the joy that I got from skiing! skiing! skiing! was well worth it. For example, when I went to Alaska to race the Tour of Anchorage, I spent a good portion of the week skiing as much as possible and exploring as many trails as I could. I knew that doing that would leave me feeling a bit tired, but I wouldn’t take back a single extra kilometer that I skied, because I enjoyed every one of them.

I was pleasantly surprised by how well my fitness held up over the season, despite training a bit less than last year, and doing far less intensity. My base fitness felt steady throughout the season, but I felt that I was missing my top end speed (which I had always had to work really hard to build anyway) and especially towards the end of the season, I could feel the lack of strength training starting to affect my racing. There is a reason that skiers do intervals and go to the gym if we want to be at the top of our game!


One of the hardest parts of this season was that it was largely a solo endeavor, and at times I found myself desperately missing the companionship of teammates, both in training and traveling/racing. I always felt like my teammates were my secret weapon, a superpower to fall back on when you need that extra support or motivation. This was the first year I have ski raced without a full team around me and I felt that absence in a profound way. But, good teammates are forever teammates, and I am lucky that many of my travels included seeing friends, teammates, coaches and family that made me feel supported.

It was also difficult to be adjacent to the SuperTour circuit, but no longer in it, and there were definitely times where I felt like I was missing out on some fun races and opportunities. I was prepared for this, knowing that it would be a challenge to not feel some doubt about ‘retiring’. The grass is always greener, and a quick reminder to myself of why I chose to do something different was usually enough to keep me grounded.

A phenomenal crust cruise in Beitostolen, Norway.

Quick Season Favorites:

Favorite Race: Boulder Mountain Tour. What can I say, I can’t get enough of this race and I look forward to it every year. The energy is unmatched, the people are incredible, and getting to go home is always a perk.

Needs Further Exploration: Anchorage!

Favorite New (to me) Trail: Lunkefjell trail, Sjusjoen

Of course, None of this would have been possible without the support of Enjoy Winter; Andy Gerlach, whose vision to resurrect a factory team provided me with this opportunity in the first place and Jacob Huseby, who provided my main ski service. I cannot thank them enough for helping me keep doing what I love. And of course to all of the people who so generously donated their time, their homes, their cars, and their expertise to me over the course of the season. You are all part of my team, and I couldn’t have had a successful season without you!