Tag Archive | "Norway"

Bysprinten in Norway to be Streamed Live – Apr. 27

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April 26, 2013 (Mosjøen, Norway) – Bysprinten, the popular nordic ski festival in Mosjøen, Norway, will be featured in a two-hour live broadcast on the Norwegian TV network TV4 on Saturday April 27. For those outside of Norway, Bysprinten will be streamed live online at www.bysprinten.no/live and www.helgeland-arbeiderblad.no .

Event Organizer Lyder Sund of Helgeland Event is excited about live coverage. He is very satisfied with the first live television broadcast from the race. “There is no doubt that live TV coverage is the important for us. When we negotiate with potential sponsors on a national level, there are always questions about TV coverage. We are much more appealing to the sponsor market when we can offer live broadcast,” Sund said.

IEC in Sport will be producing the broadcast from the event, in cooperation with the crew from Bysprinten. Jon Ola Lien has been the producer the recent years, and the production has preliminary been shown on big screens at the arena. Also this year there is a big screen production, but at the same time the crew will be producing for internet and TV.

The company IEC is known as one of the largest producers of sporting events. In the world of skiing they are the producers of Swix ski Classics, but they produce many other sporting events. Among other, they cover 40 tennis tournaments every year.

Entire Norwegian National Team to Bysprinten
Bysprinten will guaranteed be a fast race this Saturday. The event will see nearly the entire National ski sprint team from Norway.

The National team with Eirik Brandsdal, Anders Gløersen, Ola Vigen Hattestad, Tomas Northug, and Øystein Pettersen will all be at the starting line. Only Pål Golberg is absent from the race.

“The recent years we have had the best sprinters in the world in place, and it looks as if they enjoy themselves up here,” said Lyder Sund.

Last year Eirik Brandsdal won just in front of Ola Vigen Hattestad after a dramatic last turn. Swedish Teodor Peterson had a lead, but crashed in a fence.

A Norwegian – Swedish duel?
History shows that the winners are hard to predict at this event, but we are confident that both Teodor Peterson and Robin Bryntesson are eager to beat the Norwegians. Little brother Cologna is also an exciting skier. He is a really good sprinter, says Sund. Gianluca Cologna is a new star this season. He is Swiss Champion, and has been in a final in the world cup.

Germany’s Top Skier
Tobias Angerer (36) began as a sprinter many years ago, and has become the winningest German skier. In 2004, he won his first world cup race, and has in a total 10 world cup victories. He won the overall world cup in the 2005/2006 and 2006/07 season. In 2007 he became the first male winner of Tour de Ski. This year, he is finally ready to compete in Mosjøen.

“It is really exciting that he wants to come to Mosjøen. He is one of the world cups ‘grand old men’,” said Sund.

Bysprinten Start List

Women:
– Katja Visnar, Slovenia
– Denise Herrmann, Germany
– Charlotte Kalla, Sweden
– Mari Eide, Norway
– Maria Nysted Grønvoll, Norway
– Laurien van der Graaff, Switzerland
– Magdalena Pajala , Sweden
– Sanna Halberg, Sweden
– Elin Mohlin, Sweden
– Johanna Meyer, Sweden
– Ida Indahl, Sweden

Men:
– Ola Vigen Hattestad, Norway
– Øystein Pettersen, Norway
– Robin Bryntesson, Sweden
– Teodor Peterson, Sweden
– Niklas Dyrhaug, Norway
– Eirik Brandsdal, Norway
– Anders Gløersen, Norway
– Tobias Angerer, Germany
– Morten Vannebo, Norway
– Rolf Einar Jensen, Norway
– John K Dahl, Norway
– Kalle Lassila, Finland
– Daniell Heun, Switzerland
– Anders Tettli Rennemo, Norway
– Andreas Myran Steen, Norway
– Kristian Tettli Rennemo, Norway
– Chris Jespersen, Norway
– Joeri Kindschi, Switzerland
– Gianluca Cologna, Switzerland
– Håvard Klementsen, Norway
– Magnus Moan, Norway
– Tomas Northug, Norway
– Even Northug, Norway

Canada’s Harvey and USA’s Randall on Norwegian Late Night TV Show

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March 21, 2013 (Norway) – Alex Harvey and Kikkan Randall were recent guests on Norwegian late night talk show Senkveld (Late Night) with Thomas & Harald. Check out their great interview on YouTube (in English)!

Drammen World Cup 1.28km CL Sprint Qualifications – 3 North American Women, 4 Men Advance

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March 13, 2013 (Drammen, Norway) – The 1.28 CL FIS World Cup city sprints are underway in Drammen as the FIS World Cup season is in its final phase. In the women’s qualifications, three North Americans advanced to the heats, including Canada’s Dasha Gaiazova in 16th, Sadie Bjornsen (USA) in 26th, and Kikkan Randall (USA) in 29th.

Finland’s Mona-Lisa Malvalehto set the fastest time with a 3:06.59, followed by Katja Visnar (SLO) clocking into second spot at 3:07.58, and strong favourite Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) in third with a time of 3:07.82.

Americans Holly Brooks, Sophie Caldwell, Ida Sargent, Rosie Brennan, Jessie Diggins did not advance, finishing 34th, 35th, 48th, 52nd, and 55th, respectively. Canada’s Perianne Jones and Emily Nishikawa also did not make it through to the heats with a 45th and a 63rd place.

The Norwegians made their mark in the men’s qualifications, sweeping the top three, led by Petter Northug with a time of 2:41.27. Eldar Roenning qualified second at 2:42.95, and Kent Ove Klausen was third in a time of 2:43.24.

Andy Newell (USA) had a solid qualifier, finishing 10th, followed by teammate Torin Koos in 26th. Canada’s Len Valjas and Alex Harvey barely squeaked through to the heats with 29th and 30th place runs, respectively.

Devon Kershaw (CAN) finished 49th and did not advance. Simeon Hamilton (USA) experience the same fate with a 59th place qualifier, along with teammate Dakota Blackhorse-Von Jess in 65th and Canada’s Jesse Cockney and Graeme Killick in 67th and 71st, respectively.

Women’s Qualifications HERE.
Men’s Qualifications HERE.

Norway Claims Men’s Team Relay Gold at 2013 Nordic Worlds – USA 10th, Canada 12th

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March 01, 2013 (Val di Fiemme, Italy) – Like their female counterparts the Norwegian men, took the gold in the 4x10km relay event at the FIS Nordic Worlds in Val di Fiemme, Italy on Friday and once again defended their title. But spectators were on the edge of their seats as a late race bid by Sweden’s Calle Halvarsson threatened the four final contenders including the famed Petter Northug (NOR).

Northug responded on the final Zorzi climb as he and Halvarsson shook off Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov and Italy’s David Hofer making it a two-horse race. Halvarsson was still leading over the final bridge to the finish but Northug quickly caught his rival and took over the lead down the finishing lanes for the win by a 1.2s margin.

The battle for bronze was won by Ustiugov who sprinted fiercely for third over Hofer denying the host nation spot on the final podium. It was a close finish in the 40km event as the top five all crossed the line within 12s of one another. Teams USA and Canada finished 10th and 12th, respectively.

Waxing played a large role as race day dawned at a balmy 10°C. The pack stuck close together on the first two laps of the race as Sweden’s Daniel Richardsson and Russia’s Evgeniy Belov set the pace. Germany’s Hannes Dotzler was also high up in the fray, animating the action with an attack on the final lap, which was marked by Norway’s Torde Asle Gjerdalen. The USA’s Andy Newell was well positioned near the front throughout the race and was a strong 5th at the exchange. Canada’s Len Valjas skied well over the first two laps as well but dropped to 11th as the 10km-leg ended.

Leg #2 saw Germany’s Tobias Angerer leading a seven-man group, including Norway, Sweden and USA. However, a motivated chase group soon caught back on to double the size of the lead group, that included the USA’s Kris Freeman who was well-positioned near the front as Russia’s Maxim Vylegzhanin assumed control at the front. Canada’s Devon Kershaw in 12th tried to bridge to the leaders.

Local fans cheered loudly as veteran Giorgio Di Centa (ITA), at his 9th Nordic Worlds, seized the opportunity to attack on the Velena climb on final lap. But Swiss superstar Dario Cologna jumped on his tail, followed by Vylegzhanin, Angerer, Johan Olsson (SWE), and Eldar Roenning (NOR) to create a lead group of six. Freeman and Kershaw did not make the selection, with the American skier handing off to Noah Hoffman in 9th at 1:14 back with Kershaw tagging Ivan Babikov in 12th.

The start of the third leg saw the top six nations stay together with Norway, Russia and Sweden exchanging the lead. Japan’s Nobu Naruse, whose squad was putting together a brilliant race, chased in seventh, followed by the Czech Republic in eighth. USA’s Noah Hoffman had a strong leg with the 5th fastest time but the team remained in 10th as Babikov fought in vain as well. On the final lap Sweden’s Marcus Hellner attacked as Russia’s Alexander Legkov responded along with Sjur Roethe (NOR) as four leaders charged to the final transition as Germany and Switzerland suffered behind.

The final leg of the race started slowly as the strategizing began at a training pace. Suddenly Germany’s Axel Teichmann was able to regain contact with the lead group, while the other trailing skiers also gained back time including the USA’s Tad Elliott. On the second lap of the leg, Elliot was positioned in seventh as Finland’s Matti Heikkinen put in a surge and bridged to the front group putting his team back into contention. Canada’s anchor, Alex Harvey, was too far back to fight for contention.

As the finish approached, the lead group – now six strong – picked up the pace forcing the chasers to dig even deeper. Sweden’s  Halfvarsson finally initiated the attack before the on the last climb up Zorzi and the only skier able to respond was Northug. But the Norwegian veteran was on to Halfvarsson like bees to honey and suddenly they emerged at the front of the race alone contesting the gold. The storming Northug gave Norwegian fans what they were hoping for and defended Norway’s relay title yet again. The USA finished in 10th and Canada ended up 12th.

Full results HERE.
Full results detail HERE.

Bjoergen Will Not Race TdS – Hospitalized Due to Irregular Heartbeat

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December 24, 2012 – An abnormally high pulse in training Saturday morning prompted Norwegian Marit Bjørgen to go to the hospital, and on Sunday, the defending World Cup champion was discharged after being examined for cardiac dysrhythmia, also known as arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat.

Without knowing the full extent of her rhythmic disturbances, coach Egil Kristiansen said they wouldn’t be taking any chances.

“I can say for sure is that she is not going to the Tour de Ski,” he told NRK.no, adding that there’s no reason to worry about Bjørgen ending her career due to heart disorders.

The 32-year-old first detected an unusually high heart beat at practice Friday. She took another reading on Saturday and contacted a private physician, Hans Petter Stokke. Bjørgen was then admitted to St. Olav’s Hospital with what appeared to be cardiac dysrhythmia and spent the night there.

She returned home Sunday to her family with electrodes attached to her body for doctors to detect future abnormalities in her heart’s rhythm.

“The intention is to do research of heart rhythm disturbance while actually happening,” Stokke said.

“To my knowledge, there is no more serious than that she may soon start training again,” Kristiansen said. “But it’s important that she does not burden your body too much. Tour de Ski is a huge burden, so it goes without saying that she can not attend there.”

“She’s an incredibly tough lady, and there is no doubt that Bjoergen will come out stronger from this,” teammate Maiken Caspersen Falla told NRK. “I think she will use it as motivation towards the World Cup in February.”

Another young teammate, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, 22, said she was “very put out” by the news, but was glad everything turned out well.

“I have great faith that she comes back even stronger,” Østberg said. ”She is so strong both physically and mentally.”

“Fitness-wise, we live pretty similar lives,” Petter Northug said. “It is sad that she loses Tour de Ski, but when all is said and done it does not mean anything. It is health that is most important.”

Read the NRK article HERE.

Hero of Telemark – Birger Stromsheim Used Skis to Fight Nazis

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December 17, 2012 – Birger Stromsheim, a Norwegian hero, died at the age of 101 in Alesund, Norway. Stromsheim is remembered for his part in WWII, during which he and a small team of Allies used skis to infiltrate a Nazi-occupied hydro facility in Norway, which was believed to be producing materials for building an atomic bomb. Stromsheim and his team successfully destroyed the facility and skied over 200 miles to safety in Sweden. Read the full story in Stromsheim’s obituary in the New York Times HERE.

Bjoergen Ready to Race

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November 01, 2012 – There are only 24 days left until the 2012/13 FIS Cross-Country World Cup season gets under way and the defending Big Crystal Globe winner Marit Bjoergen looks optimistic towards the winter.

“I’ve done a very good job in the summer and autumn and I cannot wait until the season starts,” she wrote on her website www.maritbjoergen.no.

The multiple Olympic and World Championships medallist says she has trained more than ever. “Every year has made me stronger and my body’s ability to recover has been better,” she claimed.

The Cross-Country season kicks off for Norwegian athletes in Beitostoelen on November 16-18 with the traditional Cross-Country and Biathlon opening. This time, the three days of competitions will be featuring 10/15 km free ladies and men, classical sprint and 10/15 km km classic ladies and men.

“Beitostølen is my favourite place and I enjoy the atmosphere of the national opening,” she revealed.

Cross-Country Skiing fans can still recall unforgettable moments from the last season when Marit Bjoergen and Justyna Kowalczyk challenged each other for the FIS Tour de Ski victory and the Big Crystal Globe.

Also this winter Bjoergen and Kowalczyk are expected to fight for top positions both in the World Cup, FIS Tour de Ski and the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. FIS Cross-Country World Cup season kicks off in Gällivare on November 24-25.

“It will be exciting to meet other skiers at the World Cup opening. Rumours say that Justyna is in a good shape and I am looking forward to meeting her on the World Cup circuit,” said Marit Bjoergen and continued: “Charlotte Kalla visited me in Oslo in the summer and there’s no doubt she will be a strong contender for all the Norwegian girls,” Bjoergen claimed.

Northug to be Caught in Speed Trap at 2012 Bysprinten

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April 25, 2012 (Mosjøen, Norway) – Petter Northug (NOR) will be tested in a laser speed trap at this year’s Bysprinten in Mosjøen, Norway. Fellow Norwegian champion, the celebrated Oddbjørn Hjelmeseths, will also be in attendance at this much anticipated sprinter’s duel.

“We have gathered some of the best skiers in the world for this years event, and we have a lot to look forward to on Saturday,” said Trond Are Rasmussen, Event Manager. Bysprinten 2012 is the 6th annual show race in Mosjøen, but it’s the first time the Police will control the speed of the skiers. We will try to beat the world record on 100 meters sprint on skis, which is currently 11.82 sec.

This year we will also have a “Brother’s Relay Race”, where the Northug brothers will compete against the Pasini brothers from Italy and the Tettli Rennemo brothers from Norway.

FACTS

– The Bysprint is arranged on April 28th with nearly 30 international ski stars
– The arena is placed right in the town center of Mosjøen
– The course is 750 meters x 2
– In 2011 Petter Northug and Marit Bjørgen met for the first time in a duel in Bysprinten

All websites can broadcast live from Bysprinten. The broadcast starts Saturday April 28th at 13.00 CET

You will find the broadcast at www.bysprinten.no/live

Contact and questions: Trond Are Rasmussen, (+47) 957 14 195

Participants Bysprinten April, 28:

Women:
– Greta Laurent (19), Italy
– Denise Herrmann (23), Germany
– Kjersti Bø (25), Norway
– Katja Visnar (28), Slovenia
– Mari Eide (22), Norway
– Liza Goodwin (22), Norway
– Bettina Gruber (27), Switzerland
– Laurien van der Graaff (24), Switzerland
– Gaia Vuerich (21), Italy
– Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (21), Norway
– Marthe Kristoffersen (22), Norway
– Heidi Weng (20), Norway
– Britta Norgren (29), Sweden

Men:
– Daniel Heun (25), Germany
– Teodor Pettersson (23), Sweden
– Ola Vigen Hattestad (30), Norway
– Eirik Brandsdal 25), Norway
– Robin Bryntesson (26), Sweden
– Odd-Bjørn Hjelmeset (40), Norway
– Øystein Pettersen (29), Norway
– Anders Gløersen (25), Norway
– Petter Northug Jr. (26), Norway
– Tomas Northug (22), Norway
– Renato Pasini (34), Italy
– Fabio Pasini (31), Italy
– Kristian Tettli Rennemo (27), Norway
– Anders Tettli Rennemo (23), Norway
– Ole Marius Bach (23), Norway

Steira and Jespersen Take Haukelirennet – Flemmen & Gløersen Win Røldal Opp

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April 16, 2012 (Røldal, Norway) – Kristin Stoermer Steira and Chris Andre Jespersen were the quickest in Saturday’s Haukelirennet over the 32km freestyle race. Steira won the competition in 1:21.05 and edged out the big Crystal Globe winner Marit Bjoergen and Therese Johaug.

On the men’s sides Chris Andre Jespersen was superior over Sjur Røthe and Martin Johansson.

On Sunday, April 15, an unconventional competition took place in Røldal, Norway. More than 3,000 fans turned out in the mountain resort of Røldal to see an event that combined giant slalom and then 4km free uphill climb.

Some of World’s best cross-country skiers showed up at the start, including Charlotte Kalla, Johaug, Bjoergen, Anders Gloeersen, Oeystein Pettersen, Jean-Marc Gaillard, and Petter Northug Jr.

Organizers reckoned with the advantage cross-country specialists might get, therefore 1-second behind in the giant slalom meant 20 seconds back in the cross-country skiing portion.

Former top alpine skiers Andrinne Flemmen and Lasse Arnesen won the first part of the competition. Right after the alpine leg it was time to change the skiing equipment and climb 4km up with a vertical gain of 240m.

Andrinne Flemmen kept the lead after the alpine section and came in first at the finish. Norwegian youngster Tuva Toftdal came second at 16 seconds back. As expected, Johaug was the fastest climber with 15:39.6.

On the men’s side, Nordic skiing specialists prevailed over alpine skiers as Gloeersen led the way with a 33-sec margin over Nordic Combined athlete, Mikko Kokslien. Chris Andre Jespersen had the fastest climb time of 13:54.8.

Results

Haukelirennet – 32 km free, 14. April 2012

Women
1. Kristin Størmer Steira, IL Forsøk 1:21:05
2. Marit Bjørgen, Rognes IL 1:21:19
3. Therese Johaug, Nansen IL 1:22:48
4. Martine Ek Hagen, BUL IL 1:23:00
5. Charlotte Kalla, IFK Tärendö 1:25:47
6. Pia Sofie Måbø, Stathelle og Omegn IL 1:35:39

Men
1. Chris Jespersen, Byåsen IL 1:17:19
2. Sjur Røthe, Voss IL 1:17:20
3. Martin Johanson, IFKMora ski 1:18:33
4. Vebjørn Turtveit, Voss IL 1:20:16
5. Gaute Kvåle, Røldal IL 1:20:21
6. Magnus Krog, Høydalsmo 1:22:03

More information HERE.

DH Slalom / XC Free Climb – 15. April 2012

Women
1. Andrine Flemmen
2. Tuva Toftdal Staver, +16
3. Kristin Helland Hansen, + 1.09
4. Charlotte Kalla, + 2.09
5. Karina Birkelund, + 2.54
6. Mari Eide, +3.03
7. Marit Bjørgen
8. Ingvild Skare Thygesen
9. Therese Johaug
10. Martine Ek Hagen

Top 3 fastest times
1. Therese Johaug 15:39.6
2. Charlotte Kalla 16:15.4
3. Martine Ek Hagen 16:30.8

4. Marit Bjørgen 16:42.5

Men
1. Anders ,
2. Mikko Kokslien, +33
3. Harald Astrup Arnesen, + 55
4. Vebjørn Turtveit, + 1.08
5. Stian Sverdrup Lilleeng, + 1.22
6. Jørgen Graabak, + 1.37
7. Bård Thuren Høgheim,
8. Jean-Marc Gaillard
9. Gudmund Storlien
10. Øystein Pølsa Pettersen

Other skiers
12. Sjur Røthe
14. Petter Northug jr.
15. Odd-Bjørn Hjelmeset
18. Eirik Brandsdal

Top 3 fastest times

1. Chris Andre Jespersen, 13.54.8
2. Anders Gløersen, 14.33.1
3. Sjur Røthe, 14.38.7

11. Petter Northug jr. 15.45.0

Marit Sprint Inspires Kids

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April 09, 2012 (Budal, Norway) – The annual Marit Sprint took place in Budal, Norway recently. “It’s a true fun to see all the happy kids,” Marit Bjoergen told nrk.no. After the race, the roles changed for the 2011/12 Cross Country World Cup Crystal Globe winner. This time it was Bjoergen who was hanging medals and hanging them around kids’ necks after Marit-Sprint in South Trøndelag.

In total, 350 kids took part in the sixth edition of event. Some kids were not sure if it was the real Marit Bjoergen supporting them on the course. “They are used to seeing me on TV, so they did not think it was me,” Bjoergen laughed.

Norwegian Birkebeiner Success with New Atomic Technology

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March 19, 2012 (Norway) – A new course record was set this weekend at the highly prestigious Norwegian Birkebeiner. Anders Aukland of Norway skied the hilly 54km course with a winning time of 2:21:26. Norwegians swept the Men’s podium with Roger Aa Djupvik in second and Espen Harald Bjerke in third. Switzerland took first for the women’s event with Seraina Boner winning in 2:46:54 followed by Stepanie Santer of Italy in second and Jenny Hanson of Sweden in third.

The Aukland brothers, Anders and Joergen, have been extremely successful this year in Europe’s top classic Marathons. A key component of that success has been training specifically for long distance classic events. Year round, their training has been aimed at endurance over speed with an emphasis on classic.

The Aukland brothers have also learned how to take advantage of their new Atomic’s SDS technology. This was especially evident at the Birkebeiner. Anders calmly skied with the main pack on the flats and casually double poled as the other athletes had to push themselves to maintain the pace. The highly elastic inserts in the kick zone of the new Atomic Classics allow the grip wax to ride well above the snow even though the ski has a low camber height.

When the pack reached the hills toward the end of the Birkebeiner, a well rested Anders dropped the other skiers and climbed the hills with a tempo they could not match. The same inserts that keep the kick wax well above the snow during glide easily compress as soon as just a little downward force is applied during the kick. Anders and the other Atomic athletes have found that the best strategy for them is to go easy and glide with the pack in the flats and then take advantage of how the ski climbs and drop the rest of the guys in the ascents. It has continuously paid off this year at the long classic events.

The Norwegian Birkebeiner is always limited to a field of 16,000 skiers. Entries were sold out in 18 minutes this year. It is always classic only and the Birkebeiner is one of the most technical of all the Worldloppet courses. Victory here is considered the most prestigious test for classic equipment.

Results and race report HERE.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy WCup 2011/12 Contest Standings after Drammen

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March 09, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to announce the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy WCup 2011/12 Contest standings after the WCup in Drammen, Norway where USA’s Kikkan Randall made history when she clinched the women’s WCup Sprint title. Read about it HERE

It was also a decisive day for team JOlca2 who jumped into the pole position ahead of longtime leader Siggy’s Speedsters.  The race is incredibly tight, with only a one-point difference – JOlca2 has 1,553 points to Siggy’s Speedsters’ 1,552. Team FxGo has maintained third place with 1,527 points. The maximum number of points after Drammen is 1,629.

For the complete FIS WCup Fantasy Contest standings after Drammen click HERE

The next FIS WCup takes place in Oslo, Mar. 10-11.

SkiTrax Fantasy FIS World Cup 2011/12 Contest Prizes
* 1st Prize Fischer 11/12 Carbonlite Hole Skis, Xcelerator Bindings, Carbonlite Poles (value $1,100)
* 2nd PrizeSkiGo Carbon 780 Roller Skis (value $580)
* 3rd Prize
Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449)
* 4th Prize Bjorn Daehlie Exclusive US XC Ski Suit (value $300)
* 5th Prize Sporthill XC Pants/Tights and Glacier Top (value $220)
* 6th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)
* 7th Prize – Bliz Proflip Visor (value $129)
* 8th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $120)
* 9th Prize
Concept2 Goodie Duffle Bag (value $100)
* 10th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* WCup BreakBuff Headware (value $23) to top 3 contest leaders before the Tour de Ski

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including Fischer, SkiGo, Alpina, Bjorn Daehlie Clothing, Sporthill, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Bliz, Concept 2, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

FIS Marathon Cup News – Brink, Skofterud Victorious at 88th Vasaloppet

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March 05, 2012 – Perfect conditions made this year’s Vasaloppet the fastest ever! Jörgen Brink from Sweden, won the Vasaloppet, for the third consecutive time and broke the record by19s, which is therefore now 3:38.41! By breaking the record, Brink got himself a brand new Volkswagen! Brink finished first in a fantastic sprint, which left four skiers to wait for the photo finish to decide who gained the famous victory this year. Then it was clear, Brink was once again the number one. Behind him, Daniel Tynell (SWE), who has won the Vasaloppet twice, took second, and Stanislav Rezac (CZE) the leader of the overall FIS Marathon Cup, grabbed third place.

However, for a long time it looked as if the winner would be Joergen Aukland (NOR), who got away from the pack around 15km before the finish, but the ones left behind worked well together and caught the Norwegian soon after his attempt to break away. In the end, the younger one of the two Aukland brothers starting in the Vasaloppet today, got only 10th – 14s behind Brink.

On the women’s side, it was was a bit less spectacular at the finish. Vibeke Skofterud, who already holds several Olympic and World Championship medals with the Norwegian National Team, claimed the victory in her first ever start in the Vasaloppet. Behind her, it was a another Norwegian, who took second place: Young Laila Kveli skied a fantastic race and finished ahead of Seraina Boner of Switzerland. Early in the race, it didn’t appear to be Skofterud’s day, as the Norwegian lost one of her poles. Thinking the race was already over for her after that, she still felt good and just went for it – a move which definitely paid off. Especially as she also broke the old record time which also made her the owner of a new Volkswagen car! The new record time for the women is now at 4:08.24.

Blue sky, temperatures around -10 at the start, and only a slight breeze awaited the over 14,000 skiers who started the 90km in classic style. The most traditional and world renowned Vasaloppet not only welcomed elite athletes, but also such personalities as His Royal Highness, Frederik, Prince of Denmark and the sister and the brother of the Duchess of Cambridge, Pippa and James Middleton. Cesar Baena, who already competed for this country Venezuela in the Nordic World Ski Championships, was equally on the start and finished the race in just over 6 hours.

Rezac Still Leads Overall Men’s FIS Marathon Cup, Nyström New Women’s Leader
Stanislav Rezac (CZE) is now leading the overall FIS Marathon Cup with 405 points in front of Joergen Aukland (NOR, 282 points) and Jimmie Johnsson (SWE, 275 points).

Susanne Nyström (SWE), fifth today, still received enough points to regain the leader’s bib from Stephanie Santer (ITA), who didn’t ski the Vasaloppet. Nyström now leads the overall with 410 points ahead of team mate Jenny Hansson (SWE, 382 points) and Santer (381 points).

The next FIS Marathon Cup race will be the Engadin Skimarathon (SUI), 42km skating technique, on March 11.

Elite Results HERE.
Full Results HERE.

Comments from the Top Three

Jörgen Brink (SWE):
I felt good all the way, my plan was to get a good position and keep it. With only a few kilometers left I felt that I still had power left in my arms and the goal was to be the first on the home-stretch. It was a hard fight in the end and the more am I happy that I was able to secure the victory! Especially, as it is already my third consecutive win!! It’s absolutely fantastic!!! Sure, I prepared this race very well, but you never know what will come, therefore I am really satisfied!

Daniel Tynell (SWE):
Two years ago it felt like I was losing the first place, this year it felt like I won a second place. It feels so good to be back and I am really satisfied with my race today. It was a hard fight in the end and I am happy that I was able to gain this second place!

Stanislav Rezac (CZE):
Next year, I am going to win! :-)

Vibeke Skofterud (NOR):
It was a great feeling to win and I’m going to take it with me for sure! Well, it’s simply amazing! I lost a pole right at the beginning of the race and Jenny Hansson passed me with such a speed that I thought that the race was over for me! However, I felt very good and therefore I just tried to go for it and to enjoy the race which I did. It’s just fantastic that it then even worked out for the victory!!!

Laila Kveli (NOR):
It’s for sure one of the goals of the season to be good in the Vasaloppet and if you then really are, it’s just great! I am really happy and very satisfied with my second place! It’s just amazing! My best race so far in the FIS Marathon Cup so far this season and that in the Vasaloppet – that’s just great!

Seraina Boner (SUI):
I am really happy with my third place. The Vasaloppet is a very special race and you prepare especially for it, however, you never know if it will work as you wish. Therefore I am really satisfied with my race today. The track was very fast and I really enjoyed skiing.

More photos from the race HERE.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy WCup 2011/12 Contest – Standings after Sjusjoen REVISED

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November 27, 2011 (Toronto, ON) – With the 2011/12 Viessmann FIS XC World Cup season officially underway, we are pleased to announce the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy WCup 2011/12 Contest standings after round one of the series in Sjusjoen, Norway this past weekend and apologize for the delay. Leading the contest is team Paulleloupbleumauvevertgrisnoirblanc with 174 points. Probably the winning team trails by 6 points and is tied in second with team domy.

The World Cup series moved to Kuusamo, Finland this weekend for round two and we’ll have the contest standings following these races posted shortly.

For the Contest Standings after Sjusjoen click HERE.

SkiTrax Fantasy FIS World Cup 2011/12 Contest Prizes
* 1st Prize Fischer 11/12 Carbonlite Hole Skis, Xcelerator Bindings, Carbonlite Poles (value $1,100)
* 2nd PrizeSkiGo Carbon 780 Roller Skis (value $580)
* 3rd Prize
Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449)
* 4th Prize Bjorn Daehlie Exclusive US XC Ski Suit (value $300)
* 5th Prize Sporthill XC Pants/Tights and Glacier Top (value $220)
* 6th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)
* 7th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $130)
* 8th PrizeBliz Proflip Visor (value $129)
* 9th Prize
Concept2 Goodie Duffle Bag (value $100)
* 10th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* WCup BreaksBuff Headware (value $22) to top 3 contest leaders before the Tour de Ski

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including Fischer, SkiGo, Alpina, Bjorn Daehlie Clothing, Sporthill, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Bliz, Concept 2, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

Sjusjoen World Cup Opener Photos by Holly Brooks

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November 23, 2011 (Sjusjoen, Norway) – Check out the gallery of photos below from this past weekend’s World Cup opening races in Sjusjoen, Norway, courtesy of  the USST’s Holly Brooks. The women of the USST had a historic weekend, with personal best results in individual distances races by Kikkan Randall (8th) and Liz Stephen (18th), and a historic ninth place in the women’s 4x5km relay (anchored by Brooks), equaling their performance in the World Championships in Oslo last year. While the US men couldn’t match the success of the women’s team, they put in some good hard efforts, including finishing 11th in the men’s 4x10km relay, and will be looking to move up the results in Kuusamo, Finland this weekend.

For Women’s Relay coverage, click HERE.
For Women’s 10km Free coverage, click HERE.

The Sasseville Report – First World Cup is in the Can

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November 21, 2011 (Sjusjoen, Norway) – Without a doubt, one of the most stressful weekends for a cross-country ski racer is the first meaningful race weekend of the year. All of the skiers have trained for six or more months and it is not until you race these first races that you know even a little bit about where you stand in relation to your competitors.

This is the nature of cross-country ski racing. There are no personal best times or world record times in this sport. You can do all the testing you want, and compete in roller ski racers or early season time trials, but the only way that you can really measure yourself is racing against your peers.

This is true at every level right up to the World Cup and if you read the quotes from the skiers from Saturday (link to this article) you will see that a common theme is that they didn’t know how they would do before the start and that made them nervous.

Here are some of my thoughts after the first weekend in Sjusjoen, Norway:

– I think that the Norwegian women are going to dominate all year long. They had seven of the top nine on Saturday and their relay teams finished 1st and 2nd in the relay on Sunday. Only Charlotte Kalla of Sweden and Kikkan Randall of the US were able to break into the top 9 – it looked like a Norwegian championship race.

– Marit Bjoergen has lost nothing since last year. She won by almost 30 seconds in a 24-minute race. If they had been racing a track and field event she would have almost lapped the whole field. Last year Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) won the overall World Cup because Bjoergen was concentrating on winning at the World Championships in Oslo. This year is going to be different.

– it’s clear that the USA’s Kikkan Randall is better than last year – 8th in a distance race is a fantastic result. Watch out!

– I also think that the US women’s team is really improving. With Liz Stephen placing 18th on Saturday and then having a decent relay on Sunday – and Randall’s and Brooks’ strong legs – the team is now showing just how much they have improved.

– Johan Olsson is one of the best technical skaters in the world and when he’s healthy he’s certainly one of the best. He had a tough year last year after two bronze medals in Vancouver but it looks like he is back now.

– I think that NO ONE – and I mean no one seems to be able to beat Petter Northug (NOR) in a sprint. It was sad watching the last leg of the relay on Sunday. None of the lead skiers was willing to put it on the line and go for the win except for another Norwegian Sjur Roethe. The lead group was going SO slow that he was able to come from 45 seconds back to pass all of them and take the lead in only 5km. It looked like Northug was just playing with those guys. He has an almost unbeatable formula now for distance races. All he has to do is hang around the leaders, never leading and then in the last km he moves to the front and wins the sprint.

– but Northug IS beatable in the individual start races, despite the fact that he’s getting better in these events as well. He was second on Saturday and is having a much better start to his season than last year when he over-trained and did not have any good results until after Xmas at the Tour de Ski. I also think that he is pretty well a lock to win the World Cup this year unless someone can figure out how to beat him in a sprint.

– that being said Canada’s Alex Harvey may be the one to beat Northug. His 5th place showed that he is in great shape and his sprint win in Oslo over Ole Vigen Hattestad to win the Team Sprint gold at the Nordic Worlds have shown that he has the fitness and the sprint speed to win. He has beaten Northug in a sprint in the past and even Petter has acknowledged that Harvey can beat him. I think that if Canada wants to do anything in relays they have to have Alex on the team as the anchor skier. This is the second relay in a row including the relay in Olso that Harvey did not race.

Next weekend the World Cup moves to Kuusamo, Finland for a three day mini-tour de ski. The skiers will likely have to race on icy, man-made snow again, but it will be colder and darker and the hills will be bigger and steeper. It will be the first chance for the sprinters to come out and play as well as the classic skiers. Should be a lot of fun to watch.

Vegard Ulvang Journies to the South Pole

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November 02, 2011 – Triple Olympic gold medalist, Norway’s Vegard Ulvang, along with Jan-Gunnar Winther, Stein P. Aasheim and Harald Dag Jølle have finally sought out on the journey to the South Pole and skied the few first kilometers of their trek.

Delay
Due to have snowfall on the Union Glacier the expedition got delayed. The expedition had to stay at Punta Arenas, Chile longer than expected and got little bit inpatient. “Everything remains uncertain, but now they are talking about Monday as the next possible opportunity. Our patience is starting to wear very thin, even though we were fully cognizant of the risk that it might turn out like this,” they write on the website. Finally the expedition left Punta Arenas on October 28 and at 15:45 landed at Union Glacier. “The weather here is fantastic: –28°C and almost no wind at all,” the first words are on the expedition diary. “We are all thoroughly pleased to have snow under our feet and are keeping our fingers crossed for a speedy onward journey to the Bay of Whales.”

Bay of Whales
Two days later, on Sunday October 30 the expedition got the green light for the final move to Antarctica, to the Bay of Whales. Travel time – 7-8 hours.

Wikipedia depicts the Bay of Whales as a natural ice harbor, or iceport, indenting the front of Ross Ice Shelf just north of Roosevelt Island. It is the southernmost point of open ocean not only of the Ross Sea, but worldwide. The Ross Sea does extend much further south, but that area is covered by the Ross Ice Shelf.

“At long last we have arrived at the Bay of Whales. We flew for six hours with one stop to refuel, covering a distance roughly the length of Norway,” the expedition diary says. Vegard Ulvang, Jan-Gunnar Winther, Stein P. Aasheim and Harald Dag Jølle have made it to Antarctica and 1311 km skiing trip lied ahead of them.

Finally on the road
The quartet finally set out for the journey today, on November 1 in the morning. “We set out at 9 a.m. with the sun in the back and the wind in our faces. Finally, we’ve moved towards our target. Our routine is an hour’s walk. Short pause. And then the same thing over and over again,” the expedition diary says.

First day in Antarctica is over. The expedition made in five sessions 20 km. “A short day, but it is important to go in on such a trip. The body will get used to the load. Step by step, literally. So far, no pain anywhere,” the expedition says.

Follow the expedition daily!
You have the unique opportunity to follow the quest to the South Pole every day. Go HERE and then click on “Expedition Diary”. The updates are there every day in Norwegian and English! You can also follow the adventure on facebook HERE.

Magda Genuin Retires from World Cup Racing

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October 26, 2011 – Elite Italian cross-country ski racer Magda Genuin, 32, recently announced on her personal website her intention to retire from World Cup racing. In the post, Genuin wrote that she returned early from a training camp in Val Senales after making her decision after a successful 11-year career, which included four World Cup individual podiums and a fifth-place finish at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

“It is not a bolt from the blue, already last spring as I anticipated that I would need to find a period of stimulation and see if I still had the ability to return after the disappointment of how things had gone to the World Championships in Oslo,” Genuin wrote about her decision (translated from Italian via Google Translate).

“I leave the World Cup, but I do not leave cross-country skiing, because it’s what I’ve done all my life and I still like to ski, but now I will only do for me!” she added.

Read the full article on the FIS website HERE.
Read Genuin’s announcement HERE (Italian).

Petter Northug Extends Partnership with Alpina

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September 14, 2011 – Norwegian Petter Northug, the best skier in this year’s World Championships in Oslo, extended his contract with Alpina. Petter Northug, who won three gold and two silver medals at the Oslo 2011 World Championships and is the holder of four Olympic medals from Vancouver 2010, has extended his contract with the Slovenian company through May 2014.

With permanent investments in development, Alpina has become one of the most important manufacturers of Cross-Country boots and today reaches one third of the market share in the segment of XC boots. Alpina is proud that one of the best and most popular athletes in the Cross-Country Skiing world continues to use its shoes for his future challenges. Furthermore Alpina also believes this will help to consolidate the Alpina brand all over the world.

Oslo 2011 Reports a Profit

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June 23, 2011 – The Organizers of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2011 in Oslo (NOR) announced last week that they were able to close their books highly successfully, producing a profit of 40 million NOK (5 million Euro / CHF 6.1 million) from the event.

“The main reason for the good result was the higher than expected ticket income. We maintained good control over our costs until the end, which helped deliver this successful financial result,” said Oslo 2011 Chairman of the Board Svein Aaser.

The Oslo 2011 Organizers were able to sell tickets for 38 million NOK over budget. Aaser also stressed that Oslo 2011 was organized without governmental support. In effect, Oslo 2011 was set up as a joint company by the Norwegian Ski Federation and the Federation for the Promotion of Skiing (Skifoereningen) with starting capital of just 2 million NOK.

“Much could have gone wrong, with warm weather or rain or some global catastrophe,” Aaser added. “We are very pleased that we had strong management and luck with many external influences.”

The profit will be used to promote sport of Skiing in Norway, providing a healthy foundation for better and more World Cup events, among other things. Norway also already plans a bid for another FIS World Championship in the future.

FIS Roller Skiing World Cup 2011 Kicks Off June 25

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June 16, 2011 – Italy’s Simone Paredi and Guro Stroem Solli of Norway will try to defend their Roller Skiing World Cup titles from the 2010 season as the FIS Roller Skiing World Cup 2011 kicks off on 25th June in Bessans, France.

Paredi dominated last season’s series and collected 641 points. Runner-up Ragnar Bragvin Andresen of Norway lost to Paredi in the overall standings by only four points and will have a chance to pay back this year. Sweden’s Anders Svanebo occupied third place with 614 points.

On the ladies’ side Norway’s Guro Stroem Solli clearly dominated the World Cup standings last season with 774 points and edged out two Russians, Elena Rodina and Evgenia Kurochkina.

The FIS Roller Skiing World Cup 2011 will feature 15 races in four countries. After Bessans, France where a mass start and an uphill race will be carried out, the circuit will visit traditional places such as Bad Peterstal and Markleeberg in Germany. The two final events this summer will take place in Oroslavje, Croatia, on 17-18th September.

The main season highlight, however, will be the FIS Roller Skiing World Championships that will be held in Aure and Kristiansund in Norway from 9-13th August. The World Championships kick off on Tuesday, August 9 with 10 km classic uphill race for ladies and men. Following day, the roller skiing specialists will fight for titles in a 24 km mass start in free technique. On 12th August the Championship action will move to Kristiansund for relays in free technique. The final set of medals will be handed over on Saturday, 13th August for the 200 meter sprint.

Longer Tour de Ski – Poland and Moscow Debut

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June 13, 2011 – The FIS Cross-Country World Cup calendar for the upcoming season 2011/12 was finalized during the FIS Calendar Conference in Portoroz from 1st to 5th June, and confirmed by the FIS Council at its meeting in Ljubljana on 6th June. 19 World Cup venues are included in the season which will kick off in Beitostoelen, Norway on 19th November. The 6th Viessmann FIS Tour de Ski performance by Craft Sportswear was confirmed with the dates from 29th December 2011 to 8th January 2012. In the season without a FIS World Championship and Olympic Winter Games, the FIS Tour de Ski will be carried out over 11 days with nine races in two countries.

Other highlights of the calendar include Russia with an event Moscow and the debut of Szklarska Poreba and Poland which will make their World Cup debut. The World Cup races there will be held on Friday and Saturday whilst on Sunday, the FIS World Uphill Trophy will be carried out. This is a unique race with about 3 km uphill and 3,5 km downhill on an alpine downhill slope and will not be a part of the World Cup. In addition, Milano will return to the World Cup calendar in January after having held a sprint for the first time in 1998.

In terms of rules changes, the most important ones include the renaming of the race format pursuit (classic & free technique combined race) to skiathlon in order to distinguish from the handicap races which are a type of a pursuit, too

To increase the excitement for the spectators in future team sprints, only two teams are directly qualified from the semi-final into the final (until now, three made the direct cut). To complete the field of 10 teams in the final, six teams will earn their spots in the final by virtue of their times.

Finally, to always have a field with the leading nations participating in all World Cup competitions, the five best (Ranking Team World Cup 2010/11) according to the gender ranking (Top 5 ladies’ teams: Norway, Sweden, Italy, Finland, Poland and top 5 men’s teams: Norway, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy) have to start in all World Cup competitions during the season 2011/12, except for one FIS World Cup weekend.

Oslo 2011 Debriefs Val di Fiemme 2013

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May 12, 2011 (Cavalese, Italy) – The traditional debrief by the Oslo 2011 team for the benefit of the upcoming Organizers in Val di Fiemme 2013 took place in Cavalese, the administrative center of Val di Fiemme, on 5th and 6th May. The Norwegian group was led by the Oslo 2011 CEO, Asne Havnelid along with Sports Director John Aalberg and Finance Director Stein Opsal. Delegations from FIS and Falun 2015 (SWE) also attended along with representatives of the European Broadcasting Union, the Fiemme 2013 host broadcaster RAI and EBU’s marketing partner Tridem Sports.

In a candid exchange of their lessons learned, the Oslo 2011 team especially highlighted the challenges of dealing with more than 1.2 million spectators that needed to be transported and managed. They also noted the great efforts by the organizers and the city of Oslo stage the World Championships as eco-friendly as possible, such as using bio-diesel only for all buses. The Oslo 2011 representatives praised the great cooperation from the Fiemme 2013 team for the Casa Trentino Fiemme 2013 in Oslo during the event. Oslo 2011 also looks as though it will be a financial success.

The 6th meeting of the Coordination Group for Fiemme 2013 followed the Oslo 2011 debrief. Since the previous meeting in October, the Fiemme 2013 team took full opportunity of the winter’s World Cup season, especially the 5th FIS Tour de Ski, to further test promotional and organizational concepts such as the South Nordic Festival in Cavalese and the Rampa con i Campioni popular race on Alpe Cermis. The renovation projects at the Cross-Country Ski Center in Lago di Tesero and the Ski Jumping stadium in Predazzo have advanced well and are on schedule for the first tests during the coming winter. Next season, the official test events in all Nordic disciplines, including the first ladies Ski Jumping events are planned in Val di Fiemme. The Fiemme 2013 team also revealed plans for the opening ceremony that will take place in the historical city center of Trento, 60 km from Cavalese, on 20th February 2013.

Sarah Lewis, FIS Secretary General commented: “Every time we return to Val di Fiemme we are newly impressed by the level of preparedness and energy to embark on new initiatives to create a festival spirit at the Championships With less than two years to go, we can already be excited about the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Fiemme in 2013, which will have a special focus on servicing the athletes and teams in many new ways.”

For more information visit www.fiemme2013.com

World Cup Teams Announce New Coaching Staff

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May 12, 2011 – The start of May also signifies the start into the new season – summer preparations have now begun for most Cross-Country World Cup teams. For the coming season, some changes in the coaching structures have taken place. Below a summary of some that have come to the attention of the FIS so far:

In France, Christophe Deloche will be responsible for the men’s team in addition to being the head coach. As his assistant, Patrice Paquier will join the team and work as a conditioning coach. The newly introduced sprint team will be led by Matthieu Fort. Anael Huard will take over the role of the ladies’ coach while former world champion, newly-retired World Cup racer Vincent Vittoz will be responsible for the U-23 team.

In Norway, Åge Skinstad has been appointed Head of Cross-Country Skiing and will be responsible for the national team, recreational Cross-Country and marketing. Vidar Løfshus will move to Skinstad’s former position as head coach. After the retirement of Morten Aa Djupvik this spring, the position of the men’s coach is still open. Meanwhile Roar Hjelmeset (33) will become new coach for the female sprinters succeeding Jon Arne Schejtne who stepped down after last season. Roar is the younger brother of Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset who retired in 2005.

In Germany, the coaching structure for the national team stays the same with Jochen Behle in the lead. Bernd Raupach will be returning to Germany after a spell in Austria to lead the training base in Ruhpolding. Norwegian Guri Hetland has extended her contract as the Swiss head coach and World Cup distance team coach whilst her husband Tor Arne Hetland stepped down as the sprint coach for the Swiss team. Christian Flury, who was coach of the ladies’ team last season, has become new head of the National Cross-Country Performance Center in Davos and will coordinate the training base there.

In Canada, head coach Justin Wadsworth continues in his role as does Finnish head coach Magnar Dalen. The Swedish coaching trio, Joakim Abrahamsson, Rickard Grip and Arild Monsen, will work at least another year together. The Czech team remains in the hands of Miroslav Petrasek.

In several countries, negotiations are still underway and new appointments will be announced shortly. For the latest updates, visit www.fiscrosscountry.com

Aukand Declines Team Norway Head Coach Job

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May 11, 2011 – Professional cross country ski coach Fredrik Auklund, who trains Olympic and World Cup medalist Dario Cologna (SUI), declined the dream job offer of Norwegian XC Team Head Coach, formerly held by Coach Morten Aa Djupvik, who retired unexpectedly at the end of last season. Aukland, a husband and father of two, was not able to commit to the over 200 days of travel that the position required, according to an NRK article. Read the full story HERE.

Canadian Para-Athlete Tyler Mosher Completes Three Birkies

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April 29, 2011 – Canada’s Tyler Mosher, 2009 Para-Snowboard World Champ and 2010 Paralympic XC ski team member, completed three Birkebeiner events this season, and recently finished fourth and sixth at the World Snowboard Federation Para-Snowboard World Cup Tour finale in Lake Louise.

Mosher said that his snowboard results would have been better, had he not spent so much time on XC skis training for the Birkie loppets, and he’s considering tackling another next year. He’s also hoping snowboarding will be named a Paralympic sport for the 2012 Games in Sochi.

Read the article full Whistler Question article HERE.

Norway’s Skarverennet to Wrap Up 2010/11 Ski Season

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April 29, 2011 (Norway) – The end of the Cross-Country season is expected to witness 12,000 cross-country skiers at the start in Geilo, Norway for the season-concluding Skarverennet on Saturday, April 30th. For most of the participants, their race time won’t matter as they will enjoy the 38km race, stopping to picnic and enjoy the views.

Yet several World Cup stars are also expected to compete. Leading the way are Norwegian stars Marit Bjoergen, Therese Johaug and Petter Northug along with Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) and the Swiss Team head coach Guri Hetland. Last year’s champion Curdin Perl (SUI) will also be challenged by Jean Marc Gaillard, Vincent Vittoz (both FRA) and biathletes Tarjei Boe (NOR) and Michael Roesch (GER).

Warm temperatures and little snow in this part of Norway at this stage of the season have provided a formidable challenge to the organizers. In higher elevations, the tracks are still in a good condition, but in several other locations, snow must be transported and distributed. However, the organizers are determined to carry out the event, claiming that cancellation is not an option!

Read more HERE.

Veerpalu Positive for HGH

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April 08, 2011 – Andrus Veerpalu’s B Sample has tested positive for Human Growth Hormone, finally confirming the rumours of alleged doping that first began to circulate about the Estonian when he retired from the sport on the eve of the Oslo 2011 Nordic World Championships, according to ERR News.

The announcement was made by the Estonian Ski Association yesterday. At the press conference, the two-time Olympic Champion maintained his innocence and denied knowingly taking any banned substances.

Read the article HERE.

Aussie XC Ski Team – Oslo 2011, Canberra National Rollerski Event

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March 24, 2011 – The general feedback on the 2011 World Championship in Oslo was that it was the biggest most spectacular World Championship ever held. Over 100,000 spectators were in the stands or out around the track each day for the last weekend of competition, and even the qualification race the day before the first official World Championship medal event had a bigger crowd than most World Cup events in central Europe. Seven Australian athletes competed – Esther Bottomley, Ben Sim, Callum Watson, Ewan Watson, Nick Grimmer, Mark van der Ploeg and Chris Darlington. The competition highlights for the Australian Team were Esther Bottomley’s 44th place in the Sprint Freestyle, the 19th place of Ben Sim and Callum Watson in the Team Sprint, and the 10km qualification race in which Mark van der Ploeg and Ewan Watson finished 4th and 6th. The lowlight was the overlapping of the men’s relay team before Mark van der Ploeg had a chance to start to the final leg. Waxing conditions were the most challenging the team has experienced probably since the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, not with grip waxing as can often be the case but from the glide perspective. The overall summary: Great atmosphere, incredible event, some solid results, it would have nice to have some faster skis and higher results in a couple of the distance events.

Most of the team athletes are now back in Australia, with the exception of Esther Bottomley who finished a very creditable 14th in the Engadin Ski Marathon two weeks ago and plans to race the Swiss Championship next weekend.

More details from the World Championship can be viewed on the AUS XC Website HERE.

National Rollerski Event, Canberra, April 23-24
On the Easter weekend of April 23-24 Ski Australia is organising some rollerski events in Canberra. While there are still some details to be sorted out with ACT Roads and the land managers, the preliminary schedule of events is as follows:

Saturday April 23
– 10:00 am – 3.3km Uphill Classic Time Trial – Mt Stromlo Road
– 2:00 pm – Freestyle Criterium – Canberra Institute of Technology, Bruce
Saturday April 24
– 10:00 am – 3.3km Uphill Freestyle Event – Mt Stromlo Road

More details will be available soon on the AUS XC Website.

IBU WCup Mass Start Oslo Finale – More Photos

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March 21, 2011 (Oslo, Norway) – Check out this great photo gallery of the action, drama, and emotion at Sunday’s Mass Start event, the final IBU World Cup of the season, in Oslo, Norway. Darya Domracheva (BLR) won the women’s 10km race – more here – while Emil Hegle Svendsen (NOR) took top honours in the men’s competition – more here.

Oslo – A Debrief

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March 10, 2011 – The 2012 Nordic World Championships proved to be one of the best championships in Nordic history. Great crowds, spectacular racing and beautiful tracks. The Nordic community expected nothing less when the event took place in the acclaimed birth place of skiing. We contacted Atomic’s Nordic Race Director, the outrageous Roman Toferer, to get his perspectives on what it is like to be a technician at the World Championships.

Congratulations, you turned in some pretty impressive results. Your boys and girls from Norway, Sweden, Germany and Finland won Gold, Silver and Bronze. Are you happy with your results?
Roman Toferer: Sure, we are happy with the results. The Atomic athletes we thought would win medals did win medals except for Hanna Falk in the Sprint. It means that selection of athletes has been well done, that we need more is clear but that is in progress.

Roman, a lot of people wonder what it is that company reps do at an event like the World Championships. The national teams have their own wax technicians and equipment coaches. What did you and your team actually do at Oslo?
RT: It is Nordic skiing. The conditions change every day. The job of our team is clearly to test new things like adjustments in wax pockets, new bases, new grindings every day. We react on change of conditions and we are in close contact with the National teams to adapt to those changes.

So, we will primarily test grinds and choice of wax. This is done first within the staff of Atomic. When we have data and decisions, we meet with the national team coaches. We discuss what is working best. Of course, the technicians from Atomic and the national teams will ski together and test what is working. But you know, the final decision is the athletes. They ski and test one more time, they choose what is working best for them.

Tell us about the facilities that the organizers provide for the ski companies for waxing and working on skis?
RT: Was done very good in Oslo. We worked in a 30-square ft room with air-conditioning, cleaning equipment already there, we brought our own measuring instruments, waxing facilities and approximately 400 pairs of skies with us.

400 pairs?! Was that really necessary?
RT: Yes, we have developed a new Hard Track Skating ski and this was our opportunity to put athletes on this ski. We also have a new classic ski with synthetic kick material. This ski was very popular with athletes.

So you brought the new Skintec waxless skis to Oslo. What were some of the reactions by coaches and athletes to this new waxless technology?
RT: They want us to provide them with these skis as soon as possible. Spring classic races are soon, very hard to wax for. But Skintec is for all conditions, not just Spring.

Did any of the wax technicians react negatively to Skintec because no more kick waxing might jeopardize their jobs?
RT: No. Much classic racing will still be on waxable skis.

It was the World Championships. Not only was it a very major event, but it takes place toward the end of the year. It must be very difficult to get athletes to try new gear at such a major event at the end of the season.
RT: No not at all, skiers always want to test when there is new things, especially now when everyone saw what skis Tord had at 50km.

It is a pretty amazing setting with the world’s best athletes on perfect tracks as well as the most knowledgeable equipment coaches. Can you take advantage of all of this to test new designs and technology?
RT: That’s the reason why I spend so long time up there as well, this is the place where a lot of new experiences get born to develop further. This is why I just arrived to Khanty (Russia for the IBU Worlds) today directly from Oslo. It must go on!!!!!!!!!!

Did you learn anything at these World Championships about the new gear that you did not already know?
RT: Yes this is a never ending process, anyway conditions were really not easy, I think everyone saw how difficult some races were. Details out from new experiences need to be worked out now after season.

What is the next event for you and your team?
RT: Like I mentioned above, I am in Khanty now for IBU Biathlon World Championships. Our Nordic service team is testing at home and then they will go to the finals in Falun, Sweden next week. Then, the whole team will again go to Scandinavia after the season, recruitment and testing goes on!

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Oslo Nordic Worlds 2011 Contest after Men’s 50km Mass Start

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March 09, 2011 (Toronto, ON) – We’re pleased to announce the standings for the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Oslo Nordic Worlds 2011 Contest following the final event, the Men’s 50km Mass Start held on Sunday in Oslo and won by Norway’s Petter Northug – for complete coverage of this exciting race with photos click HERE.

Following the Men’s 50km freestyle race GBx is leading overall standings with a total of 285 points. Yellowknife trails by only five points and there’s a tie for third place between Brown Chicken Brown Cow and BOOKER T at 275 points apiece. Close behind in 4th place are poiss team and peta each with 270 points.

Look for the final official standings on March 14, following the Doping De-Points rule, when we will announce the winners of the contest.

For the standings after the men’s 50km mass start click HERE.

Nordic Worlds 2011 Contest Prizes
*1st PrizeAlpina package – Peltonen Infra or Supra skis, Alpina ESK Boots, Rottefella Xcelerator Bindings, and Yoko 81100 Carbon Poles. (value $1,350)
*2nd PrizeNipika Package – 2-nights for up to 6 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,220)
*3rd PrizeFischer RCS Skate or Classic Boots (value $469)
*4th PrizeOne Way Diamond Storm Premio Poles (value $360)
*5th PrizeSwix Digital T72 Iron (value $350)
*6th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)
*7th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $130)
*8th PrizeSporthill Men’s XC Pants (value $120)
*9th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
*10th PrizeBuff Headwear (value $40)

Good luck to all contestants and thanks to FIS, Oslo 2011 and all of our great sponsors including Alpina, Peltonen, Yoko, Nipika Mountain Resort, Fischer, One Way, Swix, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Auclair, and Buff Canada.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

One Way Team Success with PREMIO Poles at Oslo and IBU Worlds

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March 09, 2011 – One Way is pleased with its athletes’ performances at the 2011 FIS Nordic Ski Worlds in Oslo, Norway and IBU Championships in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia, with five gold medals and even more hardware, courtesy of Martin Fourcade, Vibeke Skofterud, Kristin Stoermer-Steira, the French Nordic Combined team with Jason Lamy Chappuis, Tord Asle Gjerdalen, and many more.

After the launch of the Diamond Storm PREMIO poles, all of One Way’s athletes switched immediately to the new technology. The new generation of stiffness in this high end racing pole created a lot of excitement at the World Championships.

Congratulations to all athletes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holmenkollen Insider Wrap Up – Relays, One Way, Aalberg, Toferer, Bjoergen’s Personal Waxer, Oslo Cathedral

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March 09, 2011 (Oslo, Norway) – Sorry for the delay but we ended up with very slow internet connections over the final few days of the Oslo competitions, and also traveling home made for more sketchy internet connections. Here are some last impressions about our final days in Oslo.

Women’s Relay – Day 9
Back to the races – on site! The end of the World Championships is approaching which means it’s time for the relays and the final “King” and “Queen” of the distance races. Over the past few days there have been some holes in the crowd as many fans have had to return to work or school but tickets are more or less sold-out for rest of the Championships and we expect some intense racing!

As mentioned before, we have observed great sportsmanship here and while skiers are certainly competitive and driven, they are also very gracious and dare I say “normal” people despite their status. As journalists here we have seen what’s been written and how it was written, as well as the athletes in action, on the trails, and at the press conferences and there is somewhat of a difference.

The headlines do not always give the true picture, though it seems that some controversy can be good for the sport since we seem to survive the headlines. It’s only natural that some characteristics of a skier are either highlighted or ignored and skiers sometimes exchange words with each other that seem unnecessary – but taken out of context these things are sometimes made into a bigger deal than the skiers themselves think they are.

Aside from watching the races and enjoying the incomparable level of energy in the stadium, after a “recovery” dinner, we ventured over to the Finnish Team’s hotel to have a celebratory piece of cake with the medal winners, their teammates, and the coaching staff – see more photos HERE.

We also caught up with Andreas Bennert from One Way:

Men’s Relay – Day 10
We thought yesterday was crazy and loud (Women’s Relay). But Wow – today was even louder. Are these Norwegian fans just getting “warmed-up”? Today’s racing was unbelievable!! (but you’re all aware of the results already, so I will not go into detail. Suffice it to say that this race also required spectators to go find recovery food and drink after the competition. Whew.

Before the race started a group of old guys walked into the stadium. They looked like they were familiar with all of the hoopla… in fact, they looked very familiar. They were none other than Oddvar Brå, Harald Gronningen, Tormod Knutsen, Gjermund Eggen, Odd Martinsen and Vladimir Smirnoff!

Those guys hold more medals than any group you could possibly find “by accident” on the race-course. This is definitely the mecca of Nordic skiing. Thomas Alsgaard was a regular commentator on NRK (Norwegian TV), Bente Skari was Chief of Competition, Yelena Välbe was seen regularly (she is coaching now), Björn Daehlie was hanging out… and this is just to name a few of the medal winners and former World Cup and Olympic skiers that were at Holmenkollen.

Here are some of the folks we sought-out/ran into today.

Finnish Member of FIS

Chief of Competition – John Aalberg

Catching up with Atomic’s Roman Toferer

Taking a look inside the Norwegian wax truck with Knut Nystad

Chatting with Marit Bjoergen’s personal wax tech

 

Wrap Up
The races were followed up with some Italian food with our cousin/niece. Ritva balanced out the racing excitement with a trip to a concert with her cousin (Tord Gustavsen – Norwegian jazz musician – if you like jazz, especially piano jazz, I recommend looking up this guy and/or his trio – the music takes you to another place).

The concert was held in Oslo’s Cathedral (more info HERE), which recently re-opened after some renovations. The church is beautiful, but the pews sure are hard to sit on after a day of running around Holmenkollen!

On Saturday morning, Ahvo returned to the US for the Junior Olympic action while I stayed in Oslo, but opted to stay in town and take in the excitement from another vantage point. Part of me wishes I had gone up to the race course as the sun finally came out but I opted to try something new. My flight on Sunday left early enough in the evening that I had to read up about the 50km later.

The trails will seem a bit quieter after this experience, but I think it is safe to say that both Ahvo and I have some really fond memories of this trip. I know that he has wanted to watch the Word Championships in Norway for a long time (15 or more years), and I decided that I wanted to watch the WC in Norway after watching his videos from the Lillehammer Olympics in 1994 and experiencing a little Nordic World Ski Championships in 1995 when the whole family went to the WC in Thunder Bay.

I am still trying to figure out if this want/need to go to Holmenkollen for the WC is a result of nature or nurture. I doubt that any country can stage the Nordic Worlds as well as the Norwegians can, and I have a hard time imagining that there could be a more ski-crazy nation. I also wonder who makes the Norwegian flags… they must have a pretty fat checkbook by now.

At this point I would also like to mention the hotel that we stayed at – the Hotel Guldsmeden Carlton Oslo (more info HERE). The hotel was on the smaller side and has only been open since about October. They are currently polishing off a spa in the basement and have very comfortable rooms, a tasty breakfast buffet and nice location not too far from the harbor, public transportation and Oslo center.

The staff were fantastic during our stay. I have never met a more hospitable and friendly group of hotel staff in all of my travels. Should you be traveling to Oslo in the near future, check this place out and say hi to the hotel manager Kim (who speaks impeccable English and is actually from Denmark).

For a quick look around the lobby with Kim, check out this video:

That’s it for now! We hope you all have enjoyed reading about our adventures (and secrets) and also hope that at least some of the excitement from this event has been transferred to you through our coverage here at SkiTrax. An event like this is an excellent reminder of the many positive things that can be experience and absorbed from our sport.

Keep on skiing!

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Oslo Nordic Worlds 2011 Contest after Women’s 30km Mass Start

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March 07, 2011 (Toronto, ON) – We’re pleased to present the standings for the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Oslo Nordic Worlds 2011 Contest following the Women’s 30km Mass Start held on Saturday in Oslo and won by Norway’s Therese Johaug – you can read our complete coverage of this exciting race with photos HERE.

Following the Women’s 30km freestyle race BOOKER T and GBx have taken the lead. Both are tied with 260 points, while three (3) teams, poiss team, Yellowknife, and Bonoéquipe/Bonogagnants, are tied for second place each with 255 points. Brown Chicken Brown Cow and Turbo-Dino-Max are tied for third place with 250 points.

The top teams are very tight and anything could still happen! Look for the standings following the final event, the Men’s 50km skate, and then on March 14, following the Doping De-Points rule, we will announce the winners of the contest.

For the Standings after the women’s 30km mass start click HERE.

Nordic Worlds 2011 Contest Prizes
*1st PrizeAlpina package – Peltonen Infra or Supra skis, Alpina ESK Boots, Rottefella Xcelerator Bindings, and Yoko 81100 Carbon Poles. (value $1,350)
*2nd PrizeNipika Package – 2-nights for up to 6 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,220)
*3rd PrizeFischer RCS Skate or Classic Boots (value $469)
*4th PrizeOne Way Diamond Storm Premio Poles (value $360)
*5th PrizeSwix Digital T72 Iron (value $350)
*6th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)
*7th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $130)
*8th PrizeSporthill Men’s XC Pants (value $120)
*9th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
*10th PrizeBuff Headwear (value $40)

Good luck to all contestants and thanks to FIS, Oslo 2011 and all of our great sponsors including Alpina, Peltonen, Yoko, Nipika Mountain Resort, Fischer, One Way, Swix, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Auclair, and Buff Canada.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Oslo Nordic Worlds 2011 Contest – Standings after Men’s Team Sprint

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March 05, 2011 (Toronto, ON) – Here are the standings for the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Oslo Nordic Worlds 2011 Contest following the men’s team sprint won by the Canadian duo of Devon Kershaw and Alex Harvey. We have also included a link to the standings after the women’s team sprint.

Following the men’s team sprint, Yellowknife continues to lead with 215 points, ahead of a second-place tie between three (3) teams: Buenahora, Skila, and GBx with 195 points. There is also a three-team tie for third place between poiss team, Brown Chicken Brown Cow, and BOOKER T,  – all with 190 points.

For the standings after the women’s team sprint click HERE.
For the standings after the men’s team sprint click HERE.

Nordic Worlds 2011 Contest Prizes
*1st PrizeAlpina package – Peltonen Infra or Supra skis, Alpina ESK Boots, Rottefella Xcelerator Bindings, and Yoko 81100 Carbon Poles. (value $1,350)
*2nd PrizeNipika Package – 2-nights for up to 6 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,220)
*3rd PrizeFischer RCS Skate or Classic Boots (value $469)
*4th PrizeOne Way Diamond Storm Premio Poles (value $360)
*5th PrizeSwix Digital T72 Iron (value $350)
*6th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)
*7th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $130)
*8th PrizeSporthill Men’s XC Pants (value $120)
*9th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
*10th PrizeBuff Headwear (value $40)

Good luck to all contestants and thanks to FIS, Oslo 2011 and all of our great sponsors including Alpina, Peltonen, Yoko, Nipika Mountain Resort, Fischer, One Way, Swix, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Auclair, and Buff Canada.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

Canadian Team Sprint GOLD Videos

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March 04, 2011 (Oslo, Norway) – Check out these cool videos of Devon Kershaw and Alex Harvey winning Canada’s first ever gold medal at the Nordic World Championships in the men’s Team Sprint Classic. Watch the Canadian team’s reaction courtesy of George Grey and lots of great race footage.

NRK video HERE.

Canadian Team Reaction by George Grey

Oslo Men’sTeam Sprint Final Two Laps

Holmenkollen Insider Day 8 – Oslo Attractions, Canada Wins, Inside an Oslo Ski Shop, Canadian Fans

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March 04, 2011 (Oslo, Norway) – Last night we decided that we would take in the WC action and Oslo from a different perspective if the weather was foggy again. Well, it was foggy. We spent the morning with my cousin (Ahvo’s niece) looking at the Oslo Opera House (some fantastic architecture), Akershus Fortress, Vigeland Sculpture Park and a local ski shop (that sells about 5,000 pairs of skis per year!!) before watching the team sprint on the Jumbotron downtown. View more photos HERE.

The Oslo Opera House is relatively new building – construction completed in 2007 – and is an architectural masterpiece. The building is situated on the shore of the fjord and is home to the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. Click HERE for more info.

Akershus Fortress is also situated by the fjord and can be seen from the Oslo harbor. The fortress is one of the oldest structures in Norway (dating back to 1299) and includes a church, as castle and a number of museums. The fortress is still a site for official government events and military guards still patrol the area. More info HERE.

Vigeland Park (also known as Frogner Park) is Northwest-ish of downtown and is made up of both bronze and granite sculptures designed by Gustav Vigeland. The sculptures depict men, women, and children at different stages of life and is definitely a must-see if you are a tourist in Oslo. Click HERE for more info.

We could see more from the Jumbotron than if we had been in the stadium today and it was one heck of a final (actually two)! As you have probably already read, Krista Lähteenmäki overpowered the Norwegian ladies to take silver behind a solid Swedish team and Alex Harvey axed the Norwegian men in the final stretch of the race.

Needless to say, downtown got pretty quiet. The Norwegians were clearly disappointed that they missed out on gold in back-to-back home-stretch sprints. The areas around the Jumbotron emptied quickly and quietly. A single shout of “Go Canada” was all that could be heard above Ahvo and myself shouting “Yes!!!” (which were admittedly preceded by “oh nohs” when the Finnish team slipped out of the medals… but these were drowned out by Norwegian fans having cardiac problems).

We found the source of the “Go Canada” when the park emptied before the flower ceremony (which we stayed to watch). It was from three Alaskans standing in the empty plaza who happened to be watching the race close by. We are a bit bummed that we were not near the finish line up at Holmenkollen for this one, but we think it is fate. Had we been up at the stadium, things could have been different and this was meant to be. Way to go Devon Kershaw and Alex Harvey!

We did make it to the medals ceremony – got stuck in the back row, but were in the main area of the square – and got some comments from Canadians we met in the street.

Vigeland Park

Oslo Opera House I

Oslo Opera House II

Oslo Ski Shop

Canadian fan and Ahvo post-medals ceremony

Another Canadian fan (from Montreal) and Ahvo

OSLO 2011 Photo Slideshow

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March 04, 2011 – Check out this fantastic collection of Oslo 2011 photos with emphasis on men’s team sprint winners Canada’s Devon Kershaw and Alex Harvey. The Toronto Star photo gallery features lots of pics of Kershaw and Harvey, including their famous “air guitar” celebration pic. Click HERE to view the slideshow.

Holmenkollen Insider Day 7 – Fans, Oddvar Bra, Salomon and Fischer Reps, Finnish Teamers

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March 03, 2011 (Oslo, Norway) – What a day for Finland (or two days). Ahvo and I cheer for everyone, but there is an innate tendency for us to cheer for Finnish skiers and American skiers just a little bit louder – and now Canadians as well, since we’re writing for a publication based in Toronto. Ahvo was born in Finland and made his career in the US whereas Ritva was born in the US, but currently makes her home in Finland.

Norwegians are great sport fans as they cheer for everyone out on the trail or coming into the finish, but an eerie silence can fall over the crowd for a spell if the Norwegians are not in the number one spot. After Matti Heikkinen’s win he thanked the crowd for their support throughout the race. The hometown crowd certainly cheered for Heikkinen, but naturally they cheer louder for their countrymen.

Throughout the World Championships we have observed excellent sportsmanship on the part of the competitors and the fans. Every day you can see fans congratulating fans from other countries – this is truly a celebration of the sport and not just championship races.

View more photos HERE.

Today we caught up with Oddvar Bra, reps from Salomon and Fischer and some members of the Finnish team:

Oddvar Bra

Salmon (Alexander Haas) Part I

Salmon (Alexander Haas) Part II

Fischer (Thomas)

One of the Finnish Team Leaders

Toni Roponen (Matti Heikkinen’s personal coach)

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Oslo Nordic Worlds 2011 Contest – Standings after Men’s 15km Classic

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March 03, 2011 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to announce the standings for the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Oslo Nordic Worlds 2011 Contest following the men’s individual 15km Classic on Mar. 1 as we catch up with the world’s fastest racers and the current action.  We have also included a link to the women’s individual 10km Classic results from Feb. 28.

Following the men’s individual 15km Classic Yellowknife has pulled into the lead with 210 points, ahead of second place, Skila, with 195 points. There is now a tie for third between four (4) teams: poiss team, Brown Chicken Brown Cow, BOOKER T, and GBx – all with 190 points.

For the standings after the women’s 10km classic click HERE.
For the standings after the men’s 15km classic click HERE.

Nordic Worlds 2011 Contest Prizes
*1st PrizeAlpina package – Peltonen Infra or Supra skis, Alpina ESK Boots, Rottefella Xcelerator Bindings, and Yoko 81100 Carbon Poles. (value $1,350)
*2nd PrizeNipika Package – 2-nights for up to 6 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,220)
*3rd PrizeFischer RCS Skate or Classic Boots (value $469)
*4th PrizeOne Way Diamond Storm Premio Poles (value $360)
*5th PrizeSwix Digital T72 Iron (value $350)
*6th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)
*7th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $130)
*8th PrizeSporthill Men’s XC Pants (value $120)
*9th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
*10th PrizeBuff Headwear (value $40)

Good luck to all contestants and thanks to FIS, Oslo 2011 and all of our great sponsors including Alpina, Peltonen, Yoko, Nipika Mountain Resort, Fischer, One Way, Swix, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Auclair, and Buff Canada.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

U.S. Ski Team Enjoys An Evening with US Ambasador

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March 01, 2011 (Oslo, Norway) – U.S. Ski Team athletes, coaches, staff and trustees gathered on Monday evening for a social reception at the US Ambassador’s residence located in a lovely, historic building in Oslo. US Ambassador Mr. Barry White and Mrs. White welcomed guests for a chance to mingle and chat about the on-going 2011 FIS World Nordic Skiing Championships underway in Oslo. Here’s is a small selection of photos from the evening – read more HERE.

Diggins Report – World Championship Pursuits

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February 28, 2011 (Oslo, Norway) – Two days ago, I raced my first 15km pursuit ever… at the World Championships! Maybe not the ideal time to experiment with pacing, but it sure was fun while it lasted. It was an interesting day with heavy fog that made it hard on the spectators and racers alike; you couldn’t see the turns on the fast downhills till you hit them! I almost fell face-first a couple of times but managed to stay upright.

The crowds were fantastic; they lined the course and although 95% were totally intoxicated, the noise and enthusiasm really gave me a boost during the race. It’s impossible to give up when people are screaming “HI-YA!” at you! (it means GO! in Norwegian)

I had the best mass start I’ve ever been in, because I was situated #42, on the right outside track. I was able to hop out of the track and double pole up the outside while on the first hill out of the stadium people were going ballistic and tripping in the tracks. I snuck around the corner and caught onto the end of the big pack to be in the top 30. I was so excited because our skis were so fast – we had the perfect mix of good kick up the steep climbs and fast glide on the downhills.

However, I’d done a really poor job of hydrating and fueling up the days prior to my race, which proved to be a painful lesson to learn the hard way. I started to hit the wall at only 6km, and could taste iron in the back of my throat the rest of the race. I shouldn’t have needed a feed in a 15km, but the coaches had three stations ready, just in case.

And you know what? I missed all three! So embarrassing. I dropped the first bottle, and the second time around, I managed to grab the bottle… and gave myself a Gatorade facewash! So now every coach in the world knows that I had the worst feed in the history of world champs. What a prestigious title! To be fair, I’ve never tried to take a feed in a big race before. But now I’ve got good incentive to practice!

At the end of the day, Marit Bjoergen took the women’s title (surprise, surprise!) but the US women had a great day – Liz led the charge in 24th, Holly came in 25th, I finished 28th and Mo wrapped up our top 45 day in 43rd! Full results are linked HERE.

The next day was the men’s 30km pursuit, and Holly and I had a great time cheering them on. We got to be part of an international cheering squad as we hiked down a steep snowy hill to get right alongside the classic part of the course. It was really cool to see all the people camping in the snowbank; some had even shoveled out benches and settled down for the afternoon!

We hiked back to the stadium in time to see Alex Harvey of Canada pull the most ballsy move I’ve ever seen in a 30km pursuit – he broke the pack with like 6km to go and went off the front on his own! Sadly, his legs cramped up with about 3km to go and the pack sucked him back in. But it was super cool to see him off the front for a lap with a chase pack of 20 guys all scared to death that a U23 was going to beat them.

The men finished thus: Northug won, with Russians in 2nd and 3rd. Kris Freeman led the US guys in 29th, Noah Hoffman came in 37, Lars Flora finished in 53rd and Tad Elliott came in 55th. Full results are linked HERE.

Then we had a bit of a transportation snafu – due to the pedestrians crowding the street and the King of Norway getting back down the hill safely, they totally shut down the roads and we had to sit on a bus for an hour and a half before getting back to the hotel. It was a long day, but still worth it to see such an exciting race.

Today is the women’s 10km classic… and I’m headed out to cheer!

Holmenkollen Insider Day 5 – Predictions, Joensson’s Parents, Graves, Swiss Ex-President and Oslo Waxing Secrets

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February 28, 2011 (Oslo, Norway) – At breakfast on Sunday morning, the sun started peaking from behind the clouds and by the time we got to the stadium, the sun was shining warm and bright (check out the interview with Peter Graves to see the sun).

As you can see from our photos though, the clouds started rolling in again and the sky was covered by the time [Petter] Northug made his final charge for the finish line. Thank goodness the jumbotron and stadium were visible today though, what a race!

The roar of the crowd when a Norwegian edged into the lead contrasted greatly with the hush of concentration, nervousness and anticipation when the skiers were out on the course and another nation’s skiers were making moves.

Northug gave us a peek at his cards each time the lead pack came into the stadium by making a quick move to the front as if to say, “Don’t worry, I’m here”, which was followed up by a cheer from the crowd. The emotions were palpable when, for example, [Alex] Harvey (CAN) took a 16-second lead during the skate leg, [Alexander] Legkov (RUS) took a spill prior to the final climb and when [Marcus] Hellner (SWE) made a charge in the final 2km and again in the stadium but could not break away.

The energy bursting from Holmenkollen when a Norwegian wins is unbelievable!

Northug’s win today was big for both him, and the crowd. He commented after the race that he had met his goal for this World Championships and that the rest of the medals he might win are just icing on the cake. No word yet on weather he will race all of the rest of the events or if he will sit out the individual start on Tuesday to “save” himself for the relay and the 50km.

World Champs and Waxing
Waxing and weather have been a challenge so far during these World Championships for skiers and wax techs alike. Saturday’s women’s pursuit race was, as some said, “Won by wax techs”. As you may have seen in yesterday’s interview with Krista Lähteenmäki, or as might be written about the Swedes in today’s race, you can’t hit it on the nose every time… even with a knowledgeable staff that has tested “everything”.

Waxing at this level takes time, effort, experience, and judgment skills. Each team is testing skis and different wax combinations throughout the day. Wax techs, coaches and skiers compare notes and work together to find their magic combination for the day, while wax companies also have technicians and testers that are reading weather reports, testing and conferring with teams. It is exhausting work, but at the end of the day, can make a difference between going home with gold or not.

The wax techs here have told us that stonegrinding immediately before a race is not a problem. While the average skier can spend hours waxing one pair of skis for an event, the wax techs here can prep a whole teams’ worth of skis in one day (or less, if they have to).

We’ve been told, for example, that some teams have all of their wet-snow skis stoneground before each use and if necessary a ski can be prepped quickly with just some base wax, fluoride graphite molybdenum mix and a little more base wax, prior to race waxing (powders/gels).

As you know, snow conditions can change in an instant, which might spell nightmare for the average skier, but wax techs are able to switch gears and change race wax in a matter of minutes, if necessary. Despite hours of testing and years of experience, tested wax doesn’t always work after the gun goes off, and there is no mathematical formula for the perfect skis.

We can let you in on a little secret about waxing at large events like this one. Each wax company has newly developed products that are not yet on the market but are in tubes and containers with hand-written codes on them that are passed discretely to team wax techs sometimes accompanied by whispers and a wink (“007” like moves).

That’s it for the secrets today because either a) one of our sources might read this and refuse to tell us/show us more, b) this website is open for the world to see – we wouldn’t want the information to fall into the wrong hands (just kidding?).
What Swedish Fans Predict

Interview with Emil Joensson’s Parents

Interview with Peter Graves

Interview with Sochi’s FIS study group

Interview with FIS CC Jury member

Interview with former Swiss President

Bjoergen Supreme in 15km Pursuit – Stephen Leads Three US Skiers in Top 30 UPDATED

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February 26, 2011 (Oslo, Norway) – The Marit Bjoergen magic worked again in the women’s 15km Pursuit (7.5km CL + 7.5km FR) even on slow, new warm snow, along with yesterday’s fog, as all of Norway showed up to watch the Queen of Holmenkollen triumph once more.

In total she blazed the course in 38:08 and is the nemesis of Polish star, Justyna Kowalczyk, who was 3.5 seconds back at the ski transition, and 7.5 seconds back by the finish for the silver. Bjoergen commented that she could see from the first skate downhill that she had faster skis than her Polish shadow. Thus made this part of her tactic in the second half, initiating her attack with just under one kilometre to go on the climb before entering the stadium. Her teammate Therese Johaug had a stellar race taking the bronze at 8.8 seconds behind.

These three leaders broke away during one of Bjoergen’s attacks on the climb during the skate leg. Sweden’s top distance skier, Charlotte Kalla, chased but could not connect and finished on her own in 4th 53:9 seconds back. Italian Marianna Longa and Sweden’s Maria Rydqvist had a photo finish for 5th at 1:08:8 seconds behind the winner.

US skiers were the first North Americans with Elizabeth Stephen in at 2:54.9 minutes back for a solid 24th overall – her strong fast time in the skate of 18:23.2 put her 18th in that leg. Holly Brooks was next in 25th at 3:21.9 behind, while junior Jessie Diggins put in another a strong performance at her first major international event placing 28th at 3:25.2 back, followed by Morgan Arritola in 43rd at 5:00:9 behind.

The lone Canadian skier, Brooke Gosling was 51st and seven minutes behind. It was Brooks, Diggins and Gosling’s first World Championships – quite the baptism considering the competition at the front of the pack.

American xc head coach Chris Gover was more than pleased as the team coped with unexpected deep snow, and promising results for the future. “Conditions were different than anything we’d seen so far and from what was predicted but the wax team adjusted quickly and we had a great skis. Different teams found different kick wax solutions,” Grover told SkiTrax. “I was proud of the effort of our young skiers. A great race for Liz. Holly’s first Euro WC points. A second day in the top-30 result for Jessie.”

Veteran Stephen agreed. “It was a great day for our team for the most part, with Holly, Jessie and I all in the top 30. That’s real progress for us as a country. The race was really fun and the tracks were super fast – I had awesome skis today, both for the classic leg and the skate.

“My race had some really good parts to it, including the classic leg, which may well have been my best classic race all year. I was able to ski hard, but relaxed and hang on to the pack enough so I could be in the mix with the skate race and go out feeling strong with a goal to catch as many people as possible. I skied a pretty strong skate leg, and feel like today was a really good tune up for the rest of the week.”

Diggins continued to perform after being called up from the junior ranks following her seventh place result in the 5km skate at the Junior Worlds with as fast or faster times than many seniors. Not only was this her first senior worlds, but it was her first pursuit ever and she couldn’t overstate her enthusiasm for the race and the entire experience.

“Today was a really interesting day with all the fog…it was crazy racing because going down the hills you couldn’t see the corners until you came right up to them! But the fans were great and all the cheering really helped,” said Diggins in a post-race email to SkiTrax. “I had a great start, but did a poor job keeping hydrated and hit the wall pretty hard around 6km, and felt pretty sloppy in the skate portion of the race.

“I also tried to get a feed…twice…and every coach in the world now knows that I had the worst feed in the world! I dropped the bottle the first time around and gave myself a Gatorade face-wash the second. How embarrassing! But I’m super proud of the US girls and the coaches gave us super fast skis. It was a good day!”

For the USA’s Brooks it was a day for the record books. “Yes it was a great day for the US – three women in the top 28 – and my first WC points in Europe. The past weekend at the WCup in Drammen I had a rough start in my weakest disciplines after not having raced in over a month.

“We had great skis – thanks to our techs and my coach, Erik Flora. The first time up the big sprint hill before entering the stadium I looked up and saw bib 6 – Italy’s Arianna Follis was in front of me. That was extra motivation to ski fast!  It was super fun to be skiing with the skier who took the silver medal only two days before in the sprint and I hope our momentum carries through to the guys on Sunday! Despite the fog, the crowd was fantastic.”

Arritola felt the stress of competition. “I had a rough day in the pursuit but I’m happy for my teammates who skied well. I just have to figure some things out and get ready for the 30km.”

Team leader Kikkan Randall was impressed with the US women in the 15km pursuit emailing SkiTrax her observations, “I’m super psyched and impressed to see three of our women in the top 30 today. It looked like a tough race and it’s great to see the shift in performance on our team.  We used to dream of one result in the top 30 and now we got three in. I know Morgan didn’t have her best day so she could have possibly been in there too. Jessie skied an impressive race, not afraid to go up and ski with some fast girls. I am really excited for the future of this group.

“I think my fall in the sprint the other day, while it was definitely disheartening, has made us all appreciate the hard work we’ve done together as a team to prepare for these championships and we know that the most important thing is to put ourselves out there and go for it.  The door has been opened on what is possible and we want more of it!”

We caught up Canadian Head Coach Justin Wadsworth for his take on the pursuit. “For sure it was a tough one out there for Brooke with the new (hard) courses here at Holmenkollen, and the huge crowds. This is a tough place to cut your teeth for your first high level racing in Europe. Brooke showed some guts out there on the skating leg today, so I look for better things to come from her as the championships continue.”

But not everyone was happy about that situation. Kowalczyk noted that on four different occasions Johaug blocked her from chasing Bjoergen. When asked whether she thought it was fair play, Kowalczyk replied, “It’s cross-country skiing.”

Johaug denied trying to block Kowalczyk and Bjoergen said she had no knowledge of it – as all had taken place behind her, but she was sure Johaug would not do that.

Instead, she said, her tactic to “…not do too much work in the classic part, but I was first in. Then I knew I had very good skis [in the skate leg] and Therese was in front; I wanted to be behind, because I knew I had better skis than Kowalczyk. I attacked and got a gap, and I knew I could go. I wanted Kowalczyk in front but Kowalczyk wanted Therese in front.”

Kowalczyk had little to say. It is difficult to ski against strong teams like the Norwegians, Swedes, Germans, Italians and Finns when the other members of the Polish team while good, were not there to work for her.

Bjoergen admitted Johaug played a part in her victory. “A big thank you to Therese who wore out Kowalczyk.”

Johaug, meanwhile, said the biggest “thank you” went to the “boys in the cabin” meaning the wax crew who waxed skis to perfection. “My goal was to reach an individual medal at these Games,” she said, “and now I have reached my goal. It was a big thing for me. The people in the track were great. At the last world championships I was 6th, so it is my best place at the world championships and the Olympics.

“I knew they [Bjoergen and Kowalczyk] would be strong in the end. I would fight to the last lap – all the way. When I was skating, I thought I could go hard all the time – I thought there was a chance. I did the best I could and it was a bronze today.”

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Norway commented, in a slight nudge to the competition and the rivalry between Norway and Sweden, “It is very typical Norwegian to perform as well as Marit Bjoergen did today.”

Full results HERE.

Holmenkollen Insider Day 3 – Museums, Ski History, Norwegian Chapel, Bjoergen’s Tiger

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February 26, 2011 (Oslo, Norway) – There was not so much action on the cross-country skiing side of things on Friday. Skiers were out training and technicians and coaches were testing waxes. The weather has changed from being coldish to being wet and a bit sloppy. We didn’t bring our rubber-boots, but probably should have… check out photos from our adventures today HERE.

The fog rolled in this morning and was so thick atop Holmenkollen that you could barely see 50 meters (if that)! This did not deter the ski jumping competitions (which are best watched on TV if you want to see anything more than the skier coming out of the clouds at the bottom of the hill), but it made things interesting for jumpers and spectators alike. More than one skier stated that they could not see a thing. (Our pictures barely do justice to the visibility; it got even worse as the day wore on).

At least one cross-country skier today briefly got lost while cruising the sprint course and the 5km (that skier’s name is name is Ahvo – but he found his way back to the wax cabins though).

Due to the fog and the lack of racing action on the cross-country side of things, today was a good day for checking out some history and culture in the area. We checked out the Edvard Munch exhibit located in Oslo’s center close to the medals plaza and hit up the Holmenkollen ski museum and chapel.

Edvard Munch, a famous Norwegian artist (more info HERE) born in 1863, has his artwork represented in eight sculptures made of ice and snow by internationally recognized artists featured in the city center.

The Ski Museum at Holmenkollen (more info HERE) is said to be the oldest museum in the world that specializes in skiing history. The museum was founded in 1923 at a location not far from its present location (since the 1952 Olympics) under the large jumping hill. The museum has exhibits about Norwegian explorers like Fridtjof Nansen (more info HERE) and Roald Amundsen (more info HERE) as well as a history of skis, ski making, Norwegian skiing heroes, and the royal family’s participation in ski sports.

The Holmenkollen Chapel is one of the most popular in Norway for weddings including baptisms, funerals, concerts, regular Sunday services and church festivals are also held there. The steeple of the chapel – when there is no fog – can be seen from the center of Oslo and is said to remind Olso and its visitors “of the self-expression of humanity and the joy of sport”.

The chapel was re-dedicated in 1996 and is similar to the previous chapel that stood in the same spot but was destroyed by arson in 1992. The construction method is traditional of Norwegian stave churches (more info HERE) from the 11th and 12th centuries and includes stained-glass windows a per the chapel brochure.

Tidbits for the day:
While Northug seems satisfied yesterday in the official press-conference after the sprints and even commented the better man had won, the Norweigan papers (like Aftenposten) reported this morning that Northug still says he is a better sprinter than Marcus Hellner in man-to-man races… but isn’t that what yesterday’s race was?

Marit Bjoergen is a tiger! After struggles in previous seasons, Bjoergen started working with a sport psychologist who told her to visualize herself as a hunting tiger out on the trails. The night before the sprint races she was frightened to find a tiger in her bed. It was only a stuffed animal (likely left by her sport psychologist) which startled her and then gave her a laugh (from yesterday’s press conference).

There was an interesting choice of photos for DagensNyheter (Swedish newspaper www.dn.se) with Petter Northug, Marcus Hellner and Emil Jönsson at the medal ceremony. Northug is clearly looking at the gold medal in Hellner’s hand. We suspect this picture was chosen on purpose… Norwegians and Swedes are a bit competitive. When we boarded the train this afternoon while chatting with a race volunteer, he was only able to whisper that a Swede and won yesterday.

Ahvo commented after the opening ceremonies and first medal ceremony that it seems that Norway has lost some of its Norwegian-ness. When he attended the Olympic Games in Lillehammer in 1994, the ceremonies were filled with Norwegian music and traditions whereas the flavor of these World Championships was much more international. Most music was in English and the show had a “Las Vegas-esque” feel.

Some videos from yesterday:
Chatting with a family in Oslo city-center about the sprints

Folk dance group gathered at Holmenkollen

Chatting with a family on the trail-side before the sprints

Fischer Interview with World Champion Marcus Hellner

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February 25, 2011 (Oslo, Norway) – Check out this Fischer video interview with 2011 World Champion Marcus Hellner (SWE). A true competitor, Hellner won the men’s 1.5km sprint yesterday in Oslo and snatched two gold medals at last year’s Olympic Games.

Story and results HERE.

Holmenkollen Insider Day 2 – News Bites, Dental Hygiene, Petterson vs Northug, Hot Dogs…

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February 25, 2011 (Oslo, Norway) – Greetings from Norway and our Day 2 insider report…Ahvo, coach of many successful international level Minnesota skiers and owner of FinnSisu Inc. in Saint Paul, MN, and Ritva Taipale, PhD student and club-level junior coach in Jyväskylä, Finland, are at the 2011 Nordic World Championships in Oslo, Norway – read on for more behind the scenes news from OSLO 2011… more photos HERE – Day 1 report HERE.

Some headlines from the papers today:

From Iltalehti
Timo Seppälä, the Finnish anti-doping expert states that 1 in 4 cross-country skiers at this event have used doping at some point in their career.

Sweden’s Emil Joensson is not feeling any pressure in today’s race. He just needs luck on his side and a good position in the start of the final sprint. (He was first in Drammen and is considered among the favourites today).

Matti Heikkinen has prepared for these World Championships in a different way than most athletes. His coach, Toni Roponen told Iltalehti that he has done 2-2.5km intervals at 95% heart rate max in the days leading up to the races. Some athletes have a “Mercedes diesel engine block, but Heikkinen’s body needs an extreme tune-up like a quick-firing Porsche gasoline engine”.

From yle.fi
Your dental hygiene is important for top performance! Martti Jylhä spent some of his preparation time for the Worlds in the dentist’s chair getting cavities filled. After Liberec, Jylhä found himself overly worn-out, so he went for a blood test and made an appointment with his dentist. Once the cavities were filled, his energy levels returned. He commented that not having taken care of his teeth was an “amateur” move. Your basic health, even your teeth, is important for maximum performance!!

Overheard…
Overheard on the press-bus up to Holmenkollen: Norwegian reporters are being modest. Not a single one would tell us who would win today. Upon further questioning, they admitted that they hope for some Norwegian gold… but the main thing is to have a good competition. Other Norwegian spectators that we talked to were also modest and careful not to be too exuberant about medal prospects today after memories of the Lillehammer relay and Marit Bjoergen’s set-backs a few years ago.

We also learned that:
1. Oystein Petterson is better liked in Norway for his personality and down-to-earth nature than Petter Northug
2. There is some controversy about the new Holmenkollen stadium. Some Norwegians think it is great, other think it’s ugly. Some Norwegians think that it’s too expensive and suggest that maybe plowing the side-streets in Oslo would be a better use of their krone.
3. The population of Oslo has increased by 12% during the World Championships.
4. Hot dogs are served in lefse (makes them easy to hold on to). Spectators even bring hotdogs in thermos bottles of hot water for lunch (Norwegian spectators are very well-equipped.)
5. The medals ceremony was held at the University Plaza in down-town Oslo. It felt like whole town and most of the country showed up to sing “Ja, vi elsker dette landet” (Yes, we love this country) with Bjoergen and friends.

And finally, Ahvo was going to have a night-cap, but it’s so expensive that he decided to stay up all night instead. Ritva’s going to get some sleep. Have a good night!

Opening Ceremonies in Oslo!

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February 24, 2011 (Oslo, Norway) – Tonight I got to experience the crowds lining the most famous street in Oslo, that leads from the palace past the National Theatre. People showed up to cheer and wave flags for their favorite countries, as the athletes, accompanied by a flag-bearer and a group of school kids decked out in the country’s flags, proudly marched past.

While it’s true that I race on Thursday, and I probably shouldn’t have spent so much time on my feet the night before, it’s super important to me to stay relaxed and really soak up the experience. So I had a blast!

The palace is pretty neat; when the flag is all the way up, it mean’s the King is present. And guess what? DA KING IS IN THE HOUSE!

There were two loooong lines of kids waving flags from every country, and it took a while for us to finally get to the street!

I’m very excited for tomorrow’s sprint! Wish the USA luck!

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Oslo Nordic Worlds 2011 Contest – FINAL Chance

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February 23, 2011   (Toronto, ON) – Today is the final day for contestants to make selections for the biggest event on the Nordic ski calendar this winter and to be eligible to win lots of great prizes. Register for the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Oslo Nordic Worlds 2011 contest by midnight for a chance to win the Grand Prize – an Alpina package featuring Peltonen Infra or Supra skis, Alpina ESK Boots, Rottefella Xcelerator Bindings, and Yoko 81100 Carbon Poles valued at $1,350, along with other fabulous loot from our sponsors.

Select the top three podium positions for men and women for each of the 12 Nordic Worlds title events – and score points as you battle with other contestants from around the world for lots of great prizes. Earn bonus points for multi-podiums, overall nation medals, top Canadian and US skiers etc.

Enter the Contest HERE.

You can enter or revise your selection up until 12 midnight EST on Feb. 23. Don’t miss this chance to follow the worlds best xc skiers and test your knowledge of the sport for bragging rights and great prizes.

Nordic Worlds 2011 Contest Prizes
*1st PrizeAlpina package – Peltonen Infra or Supra skis, Alpina ESK Boots, Rottefella Xcelerator Bindings, and Yoko 81100 Carbon Poles. (value $1,350)
*2nd PrizeNipika Package – 2-nights for up to 6 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,220)
*3rd PrizeFischer RCS Skate or Classic Boots (value $469)
*4th PrizeOne Way Diamond Storm Premio Poles (value $360)
*5th PrizeSwix Digital T72 Iron (value $350)
*6th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)
*7th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $130)
*8th PrizeSporthill Men’s XC Pants (value $120)
*9th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
*10th PrizeBuff Headwear (value $40)

Good luck to all contestants and thanks to FIS, Oslo 2011 and all of our great sponsors including Alpina, Peltonen, Yoko, Nipika Mountain Resort, Fischer, One Way, Swix, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Auclair, and Buff Canada.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).