Funeral services were held on Thursday for former top Norwegian skier Vibeke Skofterud, with four of her national ski team members carrying her casket to her gravesite. Skiing stars Marit Bjørgen and Therese Johaug were among those tearfully serving as pall bearers.
The Eidsberg church in Skofterud’s home county of Østfold, southeast of Oslo, was packed to overflowing in honour of Skofterud, who was killed in a water jet ski accident last month while on summer holiday in Arendal. The church has capacity for 450 people but many more gathered outside the church, where a large screen was set up to follow the service that also was aired live on state broadcaster NRK.
Skiers Kristin Størmer Steira and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg also escorted Skofterud’s casket to its burial site just outside the church. Bjørgen, Johaug, Steira and Skofterud made up the women’s relay team that won a gold medal at the Olympics in Vancouver in 2010 and again at the World Championships in Oslo in 2011.
Skofterud retired from the team a few years ago but went on to win Sweden’s famous long-distance Vasalöppet and was long considered a vital, inspiring member of the nation’s skiing elite. She was 38 and leaves her partner, Marit Stenshorne, who spoke at the funeral in addition to former national skiing chief Åge Skinstad.