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.
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!