April 13, 2013 – Three of Sweden’s Cross-Country ski stars Ida Ingemarsdotter, Johan Olsson and Calle Halfvarsson have been appointed new ambassadors for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2015 in Falun (SWE) and will thus become “the faces” of the event.
“They are very good representatives for ski sport and for Falun 2015. That is why we are happy to appoint them,” says Sven von Holst, CEO of Falun 2015.
In addition to strong FIS World Cup performances throughout the past seasons, all three athletes had outstanding results in the World Championships last winter. Olsson took gold and silver in the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme (ITA) in the 15 and 50 km events while Halvarsson secured silver in the team sprint. In addition, Ingemarsdotter became a three-time silver medallist in the sprint, team sprint and relay competitions.
The three skiers were formally appointed ambassadors in connection with a small ceremony and received a Championships package with information about the event, as well as a training camp in Falun.
Previously, Torgny Mogren, Emil Joensson, Anna Haag, Charlotte Kalla, Jan Bokloev and Marcus Hellner have already been appointed as Falun 2015 ambassadors.
March 25, 2013 (Falun, Sweden) – SkiTrax caught up with Canadian Men’s XC Team Coach Justin Wadsworth after the FIS World Cup finale in Falun, Sweden this past weekend to get his take on the 2012/13 season, the highs and lows, and what the squad will do differently next year to get the team back on their game.
While many teams would love to have Canada’s record this season with half-a-dozen podiums and the first ever individual medal by a Canadian man at the World Championships courtesy of Alex Harvey, the Canucks were striving for more following an astounding 14 medals last season.
Things did not go as planned this season admitted Wadsworth, but he is positive the team will turn things around in the upcoming Olympic year – when it really counts.
For a quick 2012/13 season Canadian team medal recap: Len Valjas scored two medals this season, including a bronze in the Sprint FR in Val Mustair (SUI) and silver in the 15km CL Mass start in Val di Fiemme (ITA), both during the Tour de Ski. Alex Harvey finished right behind Valjas in the latter race to share the podium with his teammate winning the bronze.
At the end of the TdS, Ivan Babikov scored the silver in the final 9km FR Pursuit stage up Alpe Cermis (ITA). Babikov was also the top NA skier in the overall WCup in 20th (Devon Kershaw was second overall last year while Harvey was 6th). Then Harvey came around again near the end of the season to be the first ever Canadian man to win an individual World Championship medal when he placed third in the classic sprint in Val di Fiemme (ITA).
On the women’s side, the highlight was when Perianne Jones and Dasha Gaiazova scored third in the team sprint at the Sochi World Cup (RUS).
March 22, 2013 (Falun, Sweden) – USA’s Kikkan Randall is storming strong, even as the end of the World Cup season quickly approaches. Only days ago, she successfully defended her World Cup Sprint crystal globe, but the Alaskan star is not resting on her laurels.
Today in the 2.5km free technique event, Randall snapped up a bronze medal only 6.6s behind Norwegian powerhouse Marit Bjoergen and 2.2s behind second place, Charlotte Kalla (SWE).
“The times were really tight out there and I’m happy to be on the podium. I think we had great skis today and I’m really psyched for our performance as a team. Two more races to go now, hope we can keep this momentum rolling! The course was short but challenging. The downhill turn that everyone was concerned about was definitely a little wild but safe enough,” said Randall in a team release.
“It’s been an interesting last 24 hours here in Falun, but with a seemingly happy ending. Yesterday after previewing the course there were concerns from several athletes that the new technical downhill section was going to be unsafe. We called an athletes meeting and went back and forth with the jury to try and find a compromise on a safer course. For me, as the athlete rep, it was a lot of running around yesterday. But in the end I’m glad we found a good solution and everyone agreed to start today.”
USA’s Holly Brooks had a great race, finishing seventh, while teammate Jessie Diggins also made the top-10 with a strong eighth-place finish. Other North American results include Liz Stephen (USA) in 20th, Ida Sargent (USA) in 38th, Emily Nishikawa (CAN) in 41st, Rosie Brennan (USA) in 46th, and Dasha Gaiazova (CAN) in 47th.
“It felt good to race a skate prologue – I really like this distance. It was also nice to get a good race feeling back! I had been feeling really tired and pretty done after World Champs, but today my body was ready for one last race series as we finish World Cup Finals,” commented Diggins. “The coaches did a fantastic job on the skis and it’s really exciting to have three girls in the top eight! It really boosts confidence and it’s always nice to end the season on a high note.”
After significant athlete protests, the infamous Mördarbacken (Murder Hill) hill was cut from this weekend’s race courses. Read more about it in our coverage here.
March 20, 2013 (Stockholm, Sweden) – Canada’s Dasha Gaiazova placed fourth in the Stockholm classic sprint qualifications led by Finland’s Anne Kylloenen. Fellow Finn Kerttu Niskanen qualified second, with Slovenia’s Katja Visnar in third. American results include USA’s Ida Sargent 11th, Kikkan Randall 22nd, and Holly Brooks in 26th. Jessie Diggins (USA), Rosie Brennan (USA), Liz Stephen (USA), and Emily Nishikawa (CAN) failed to make it through to the heats, placing 34th, 40th, 44th, and 47th, respectfully.
On the men’s side, USA’s Andy Newell logged the top North American time to qualify 10th with Norway’s Eldar Roenning leading the charge, followed by Russia’s Nikita Kriukov, and Emil Joensson (NOR) in second and third. Other top favourites, Dario Cologna (SUI) and Petter Northug (NOR) qualified fifth and seventh, respectively.
USA’s Torin Koos was the next-highest North American qualifier in 24th, while Canucks Devon Kershaw and Len Valjas managed to just squeeze into the top 30 in 28th and 30th, respectively. Alex Harvey (CAN) did not make it through with a 32nd place qualifier, along with teammates Michael Somppi and Ivan Babikov in 48th and 50th, respectively. USA’s Noah Hoffman was 52nd.
March 06, 2013 (Sweden) – Check out this video of participants crashing hard as they hit an icy patch of track during this year’s 90km classic Vasaloppet marathon ski race in Sweden between the towns of Salen and Mora. This year’s edition saw 15,000 registrants. Watch the video HERE.
March 04, 2013 (Mora, Sweden) – Canada’s Andrea Dupont, known for her sprinting prowess on the Haywood NorAm circuit, finished an impressive 11th in the women’s field of the fabled 90km Vasaloppet in Sweden to log the top Canadian result in a time of 4:51.46, trailing women’s winner Laila Kveli of Norway by 0:29.24. The event drew nearly 15,000 participants, including almost 2,000 women.
Dupont represented Canada in the sprint events at the recent FIS Nordic Worlds in Val di Fiemme, Italy, and stayed on in Europe to race the Vasaloppet marathon.
“Pretty good for a sprinter,” said Rodney Ruddock of Ski*go Canada.
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.
February 28, 2013 (Solleftea, Sweden) – Brian Mckeever and his guide Erik Carleton cranked out another gold medal at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships in Solleftea, Sweden on Wednesday.
Feeding off a hard-fought victory in the sprint race earlier in the week, the Canadian duo stomped the field in the men’s 20-kilometre skate-ski visually impaired race, capturing their second-straight World Championship title with a time of 51:18.9.
“We are still feeling jetlag a bit so we tried to pace things as best as we could today,” said the 33-year-old McKeever. “It was pretty warm with wet and variable snow conditions so we started conservatively, stayed in control, and were able to step on it when we had too.”
With many of the top Para-Nordic skiers in the world running out of gas for the finish, the dominant Canucks pulled away from the field, finishing nearly one minute ahead of the silver medallists.
Russia grabbed the next two spots on the podium. Nikolay Polukhin and his guide, Andrey Tokarev, clocked-in at 52:16.8. Sergei Chokhlaev and Maksim Pirogov skied to the bronze medal with a time of 52:52.7.
“All of the focus right now is setting us up for Sochi,” said McKeever. “We are just trying to be at our best because we know the Russians are not going to want to lose at home. We are doing everything we can so that we are well prepared this time next year.”
A winner of 10 medals in three trips to the Paralympics with his brother Robin as his guide, McKeever and his Calgary-based childhood friend, Erik Carleton, have been nearly perfect since teaming up with each other for the World Championships two years ago.
“I don’t think the guides get nearly as much recognition as they should,” said McKeever. “It is tough being the guide because you are out front and not skiing your own race. He needs to be out front and controlling the pace. When I need him to hold off he has too, and when I need him to increase the pace he needs to do that as well.
“There are lots of little things that make a great guide. Erik has learned so much in the last year and was great again for me today. It is definitely a team effort out there, and Erik needs a lot of credit for our success.”
The IPC Nordic World Ski Championships continue on Thursday in Sweden with the start of the biathlon competitions.
November 29, 2012 – So here we are – at the start of another World Cup racing season with the first races in the north of Sweden in Gällivare. Last season, when there were no Olympics or World Championships races on the schedule, the races on the World Cup were the most important contests of the season and no one was really peaking for any big event, other than the Tour de Ski.
But this season, many racers are taking a different approach to their training with the Nordic World Championships in Val di Fiemme in February. By focusing on peaking for these championships, many skiers plan to train hard right through the first races of the season before Christmas. As a result, you will see that some of the top skiers do not have very good results during November and December. The other side effect is that many of the top skiers will not travel to Canada for the World Cups before the holidays, preferring to stay at home where they can train more and have less fatigue from travelling.
This could be seen in the individual race in Gällivare in the results of some of the top racers – most notably Dario Cologna (Sui), Justyna Kowalczyk (Pol) and even, I think, in the results of Canada’s Devon Kershaw and Alex Harvey. Cologna was 19th, Kowalczyk was 27th, Harvey was 36th and Kershaw was 44th in the freestyle races.
But it doesn’t matter what the racing program is, or whether you are peaking or not if you are as strong as Marit Bjoergen (Nor). She and her Norwegian country woman, Therese Johaug, finished 1st and 2nd, followed by American Kikkan Randall in 3rd. Bjoergen won the first race last year, too.
Randall was on the podium for the first time in a distance race – a sign that she is continuing to improve over her stunning season last year where she won the Sprint Cup and was 5th overall in the World Cup. Randall, who has been walking around in an air cast most of this summer and fall due to a stress reaction in the bones of her foot, must be relieved that this injury has not affected her results.
Her teammate, Holly Brooks, has also kicked it up a notch or two, finishing 5th. Brooks, who is on the US B Team and is primarily self-funded, started well last year too, but a wrist injury slowed her down at the end of the year.
The American women were the talk of the XC skiing world on Sunday when they finished on the podium for the first time ever in a World Cup relay, taking 3rd. As well as Randall and Brooks, Jessie Diggins and Liz Stephen skied great relay legs to nip the 2nd Norwegian team finishing behind Norway 1 and Sweden 1.
The Canadian women’s team results were disappointing for everyone on the weekend with a best in the individual race of 61st by Dasha Gaiazova and a relay finish of 14th out of 18 teams. Three of the four women – Gaiazova, Chandra Crawford, and Perianne Jones, are primarily sprinters, so the hope is that their results will be better in the sprint that is scheduled in Kuusamo, Finland this coming weekend.
In the men’s individual race, the surprise winner was 28-year-old Martin Sundby of Norway. This was his first World Cup win, but he did win all three races at the Norwegian Championships last winter and was on the podium at two World Cups last winter at the end of the year.
Sundby finished ahead of another surprising skier, Alexei Poltoranen of Kazakhstan, and Marcus Hellner of Sweden. Perennial favourite, Petter Northug was 7th. Poltoranen has a history of doing well in the early season races and I think that Northug likely falls into the group of skiers who are training very hard right now for big races later.
It was nice to see Canada’s Ivan Babikov finishing 14th in this race. Babikov has had a couple of slow years since Vancouver, but he has re-dedicated himself to training hard and it is showing. Kris Freemen had the best US team result at 33rd and I am sure that he is looking forward to going to Kuusamo this week where he has had great results in the past.
In the men’s relay the Canadian men finished a terrific 5th just 3 seconds from 2nd place. Norway, anchored by Northug won the race followed by Sweden and Russia who out-sprinted the Swiss and Canada for the podium.
There has been a change in the format of the men’s relay races on the World Cup level now as they have gone from 4x10km races to 4×7.5 km to make it more exciting for the fans and shorter for TV. This shorter distance will not change the results but it will get the races to the finishing sprint sooner.
Len Valjas made his World Cup debut this season in the first leg of the relay and met his goal of finishing within 20 seconds of the top skiers. Valjas skied with a cast on his hand after breaking a knuckle and should be very happy with his result.
The American men were a disappointing 15th out of 22 teams. There is a strange parallel between the US men and the Canadian women and the US women and the Canadian men. It will be interesting to watch if this changes over the winter.
So now it is off to Kuusamo in Finland for the next leg of the World Cup. There will be a 3-race mini-tour for the men and women including a sprint race, an individual start race and a pursuit race.
From there the World Cup comes to Canada for races in Quebec City on December 7 and 8 and in Canmore on December 13, 15 and 16. I am fortunate to be involved again in the broadcast of all of these races on CBC and Bold. All of the races will be telecast so check your local listings for viewing times.
November 28, 2012 – Wow, that sure was an awesome way to start off the World Cup season!!! Not that I expect every weekend to be as wildly exciting with multiple historical US podium results, but geez that was cool. Our Women’s 4x5km relay placed 3rd, which was the first time ever in US History that we’ve had a podium relay finish! Here are two YouTube videos of the race:
I first want to say a big THANK YOU! to everyone for all the kind words, emails, tweets and more that have come flooding in, and a thanks to all those who have been supporting us US Women every step of the way. It sucks that the podium isn’t big enough to put everyone involved onto it, because there’s a whole lot more than four racers that made the day happen. The ENTIRE team includes the teammates cheering, coaches, wax techs, and friends and family and fans back home. So thanks to everyone!
Here’s the race story from the day!
I was super nervous beforehand because with the results from the previous day, it was clear that the team was in shape and ready to rock, and there are only 3 relays this year, so this was our only shot for a while at making our goal of having a team on the podium.
Then, as I was warming up, I saw the racers go by and turned to Matt, a full-blown panic attack seconds away. I’d just seen Liz in second and was like “OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!” I was hyperventilating. Even though I was trying to convince myself that this was going to be just another 5km skate race, I couldn’t ignore the fact that our team was higher up than we’d ever been and the extremely hard work of my teammates was about to be put into my hands.
In the tag zone, I looked over at Marit and said “No big deal… no pressure… aaaaaagh!” and she gave me a little smile that basically said “Good luck, sweetheart”.
So when Liz tagged me, I might have gone out a little hot. And by might have, I mean that I definitely did. I had so much adrenaline pumping that I didn’t feel anything till the top of the first hill, and then it hit me. I just kept trying to stay within sight of Marit, and I was so focused on keeping every second I could that I wasn’t even aware of team Sweden, Finland and Norway 2 coming in hot behind me.
When Kalla (Sweden) passed me, I tried to hang on but was going full throttle and didn’t want to hit the wall completely halfway through the race, so I had to let her go, which was tough. But when Kristoffersen (Norway 2) passed me, I did hang on, just barely, because I knew I usually have good kick at the end of a race and there was maybe a chance.
Liz and Ida and the rest of the team were screaming from the side of the course, but two things stood out to me. Ida was sprinting alongside me yelling like I’d never heard her yell before, and Liz frantically screamed “C’mon Jess, you have to believe you CAN DO THIS! BELIEVE IT!!!”
So when we got within .5km of the finish, I had this flashback to the last relay I raced, in Nove Mesto, where I waited too long to start sprinting and Kalla beat me to the line. I didn’t want to make the same mistake, and decided to make a move before the s-turn to the stadium, sliding ahead of Kristoffersen right before the first corner.
We rounded the stadium corner and started sprinting down the home stretch, and I saw Kristoffersen’s skis come into view, but the only thing I could think was No. Not. Happening. I can’t screw this up now! I think in those final hundred meters I dug deeper than I have in a long, long time.
I crossed the line only .5 seconds ahead, and made this half-yelling-half-screaming-mostely-I’m-in-so-much-pain-right-now noise, and collapsed. The next 2 minutes I was in a haze but I felt my teammates piled on top of me, and then it sunk in and we all realized what had just happened.
There were cameras going off everywhere, but we were huddled in this little circle, crying and laughing and going through this wild flood of emotions (and probably endorphins too, I’ll admit)!
The feeling we all got, standing on the podium having reached a major goal that we all set down on paper earlier this year, was incredible. For me at least, it makes me want to train hard and work even harder to keep these kinds of feelings coming – there’s two more steps on that podium to climb, after all!
I thought it was so cool that all these athletes from other teams were coming up to us and congratulating us on the day – they were psyched for us! Every one of them remembers what it felt like their first time on the podium so they knew what we were going through when we were all huddled together crying
That night I had such a hard time getting to sleep (gee, I wonder why?) I just kept replaying that final sprint in my mind and hearing Liz and Ida scream “BELIEVE!”. I think I’m going to be hearing that for a while.
November 21, 2012 (Gallivare, Sweden) – The US Team drove 3 hours from Muonio to Gallivare yesterday afternoon. We enjoyed a long sunset… and then it was dark at 2 or 3 in the afternoon. This made for a short day – even for someone like me from Alaska! It’s cool to be here for a couple of reasons. Peter, our head wax tech is from Gallivare. It’s cool to see his home town and hopefully he’ll share some local/beta/knowledge with us. Maybe we’ll even get lucky by doing some laundry! (Yes, it’s the little things….)
Second, the ski stadium here is called “Hellner Stadium” after Swedish ski star, Marcus Hellner. Marcus grew up skiing around here and apparently he won his first World Cup here, in his own home town. Upon arrival last night I went for a short jog and the ski stadium was bustling with energy; mostly old Swedish men setting up for this weekend’s upcoming race. You could tell they were loving every minute of it! No pictures yet but I will get some soon!
If you are curious about Gallivare, the FIS Cross Country site always has a bit of info about the World Cup venues…. Check it out HERE.
“Gällivare, located 100km north of the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland, is a small mining town where the Sámi culture and modern industry coexists.”
November on XC Ski Girl
November is up and ready on XC Ski Girl for those who are interested! Read it HERE.
Reese Hanneman Photo Shoot
Last but certainly not least, pictures from the photo shoot I did with Reese Hanneman at Lake Hood are up on his website HERE. I’m sure that many of you have already seen them on Facebook and/or Fasterskier but the complete collection, in high res (!) is up on his engine room media site. Be sure to check back on Reese’s site often because he always has something cool up his sleeve!
Good luck to Reese and the rest of my APU teammates who will be hitting up the races in West Yellowstone this weekend! I’ll be cheering for you guys from Swedish Lapland!
October 01, 2012 – FIS Cross-Country World Cup season 2012/13 kicks off in 57 days in the Swedish Gällivare. With only a few weeks left until the opener, the organising committee reports record interest.
Almost 200 people came to the official kick off meeting for the partners that was held by the organising committee. “We are absolutely surprised by the interest of sponsors, partners and volunteers. So many showed up for this event,” Secretary General of the LOC Tommy Niva says.
The FIS Cross-Country World Cup opener is the biggest sport event in Norrbotten and preparations have been already in full swing. About 250 volunteers are needed to cope with all organisation aspects of the World Cup ranging from competition course to transport and catering.
“The World Cups activates the entire community. Everybody is very proud of the event and interest only increases every time we organise the first World Cup of the season. As early as in the sumer people would show up and asked about the chance to participate and help with the competitions,” Tommy Niva says.
“FIS has given us the trust to organise the season opener for the fifth time since 2004. I can say we are preparing a great skiing festival. Our goal is to secure all arrangements at the top level and the great interest gives us plenty of inspiration in this work,” Niva concludes.
FIS Cross-Country Word Cup kicks off in on November 24th. One week before the World Cup junior and FIS competitions will take place in Gällivare as test events.
September 27, 2012 (Acton, MN) – A reporter and cameraman from Sweden’s national TV network visited Acton, Minnesota this week in order to film and interview U.S. cross country skiing sensation Jessie Diggins. At 21, Diggins has shot to the top of the world’s elite female skiers, winning World Cup silver in a freestyle team sprint event last season with Kikkan Randall and picked up an individual top five in a 10km race along with other notable performances. While Diggins is popular in Nordic ski circles at home, she’s less well-known as an athlete in the USA at large, but Sweden has taken notice of the young blonde phenom on xc skis.
Read the full article about Diggins’s international media visit on TwinCities.com HERE.
March 26, 2012 (Falun, Sweden) – Following her historic crystal globe presentation in Falun, Sweden, Peter Graves caught up with the USA’s biggest XC ski sensation of the last three decades, FIS World Cup Sprint series winner Kikkan Randall. Randall reflects on her incredibly successful World Cup season in which she placed fifth overall in addition to her Sprint Cup title victory. She was finally awarded the crystal globe on Sunday, March 18, and was awed by the trophy’s sheer weight.
Randall is the first American women to win a World Cup overall title ending a 30-year drought as the last time the US won a World Cup title was when the legendary Bill Koch captured the men’s overall in 1982. But her season is not quite over yet. The shining star stayed in Scandinavia a little longer to compete in some invitational sprints such as the Red Bull Nordix and returned home this past weekend to race in the USSA SuperTour Finals and 30/50km National Championships on from March 24-31 in Craftsbury, VT…
Kikkan Randall (USA) with her FIS World Cup Sprint crystal globe. Nordic Focus
Kikkan Randall and her USST friends chillin' in Moscow. courtesy of Sadie Bjornsen
Kikkan Randall (USA) celebrates in Dusseldorf.
Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall in Milan Matt Whitcomb
Kikkan Randall shows off her FIS Sprint World Cup crystal globe. Nordic Focus
USST in Nove Mesto courtesy of Kikkan Randall
Kikkan Randall (USA) and Chandra Crawford (CAN) embrace after the FIS World Cup Sprint in Rogla. Nordic Focus
Kikkan Randall finished third in the individual sprint in Davos. Nordic Focus
Kikkan Randall (USA) during the Tour de Ski individual sprint in Oberstdorf. Nordic Focus
Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall celebrate team sprint silver in Milan. Nordic Focus
Kikkan Randall and friends…
Kikkan Randall with Sadie Bjornsen (USA) finished second in the team sprint in Duesseldorf Nordic Focus
March 10, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to announce the standings for the SkiTrax Fantasy FIS Marathon Cup 2011/12 International Contest after the the 90km Classic Vasaloppet in Sweden. The inaugural FIS Marathon Cup contest continues to be exciting – it’s still anyone’s contest to win!
The top three positions remained the same, with Team marko16 defending first spot with 693 points, while bondin maintained second at 668 points. Team Sampo trails in third spot with 647 points. Note the maximum number of available points after the Vasaloppet is 798 points. The next race is the penultimate race in the series, the 42km FR Engadin Skimarathon in Switzerland on March 11th.
View the full contest standings after Vasaloppet HERE.
FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Prizes
* 1st Prize – OneWay Premio 10 WCup Skis, Diamond Storm Premio 10 Poles, SNS Premio Pilot Bindings. (value $1,350) * 2nd Prize – Nipika 4-nights for 2 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)
* 3rd Prize – Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449) * 4th Prize–Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269) * 5th Prize – Fischer RCS QF poles (value $225) * 6th Prize – Cross Country Canada e-Store Gift Certificate (value $200) * 7th Prize – Fresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150) * 8th Prize – Rottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $120) * 9th Prize – Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65) * 10th Prize – Buff Headware (value $40)
Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including One Way, Nipika, Alpina, Halti, Fischer, Cross Country Canada, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, 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).
November 14, 2011 (Sweden) – Check out this great video profile of Canada’s Devon Kershaw, which was broadcast recently by Sweden’s SVT network. An SVT crew visited Kershaw in Canmore prior to his departure for the start of the World Cup season. In the 10-minute segment Kershaw talks about his life and background as a cross-country ski racer, his team sprint victory in Oslo last year with Alex Harvey, the importance of his guitar-playing to cope with the stress of elite competition, and living in Canmore, including tips on how to deal with the bears! Also listen for the funny background commentary by Chandra Crawford!
October 28, 2011 – The Finnish Nordic Sports brand ONE WAY has signed a contract today with new rising star on the Swedish cross country team, Daniel Rickardsson. Rickardsson has been one of the most successful racers during the last season with a World Cup victory in Drammen and World Cup podium places in Ottepää and Ruka.
Rickardsson was part of Swedish team relay during the World Championships in Oslo last season.
“I tested the ONE WAY Diamond Premio 10Max and was surprised about the stiffness of the new pole, especially for me as a tall skier and strong in double pulling. It is a unique combination between stiffness and lightweight in carbon shaft technology,” said Rickardsson.
October 19, 2011 (Livigno, Italy) – Top Swedish sprinter Emil Joenssen was forced to leave team camp in Livigno, Italy early when he sustained a thigh injury during training. “I was on the camp in the Italian Livigno and had a great time with the rest of the team and the training was perfect! Then, on Friday afternoon we were doing a special training in order to get in more “into it”. That is, you start with an easy pace and then you increase the speed up to maximum speed. And during my second round the back of my thigh cramps and I fall to the ground and simply felt something was not right,” Emil Joensson explained on his website.
Emil Joensson returned quickly to Sweden and underwent in Oestersund several medical check ups including a MRI that revealed the cause of an injury. “As it turned out, the injury was smaller than what we had thought and it is a small simple burst within the back of the thigh up towards the bum. An incredible small little bugger which isn’t at all as serious but you don’t want to go on and burden it too fast due to the risk to turn it into a more severe injury,” Joensson reveals.
Expected recovery time remains unknown. “It will take weeks before I am fully back in action,” Joensson confirms. With the season kick off round the corner the Small Crystal Globe winner is not laying down his arms. “I have to adjust my training not to put on myself inappropriate load. So it is looking like a fun break in training having the chance to try out some new training variations,” Joensson claims.
October 03, 2011 (Sweden) – Vasaloppet’s 2012 Winter Week has now passed 40,000 registered participants, something which did not occur before November 9 last year. With this pace of registrations, both TjejVasan and StafettVasan will be fully booked before Christmas.
It’s a balmy 20 degrees outside, but interest in skiing is at its peak! Vasaloppet’s Winter Week 2012 has 10,000 more registered entries today compared with the same time last year.
“It’s really fantastic that there’s such a great interest in our events, and that so many choose one or other of our races as a goal for their training,” says Jonas Bauer, Vasaloppets CEO.
TjejVasan has already passed 6,300 registered ladies (a 53 percent increase compared with the same time last year) which means that there remains barely 3,700 places before the new, raised registration ceiling of 10,000 participants is reached.
In StafettVasan, so far, there are 818 teams entered (an increase of 204 percent). StafettVasan attracts many companies to enter their teams of five, as a way of furthering and supporting their own internal health and fitness objectives.
Last winter, three of the Winter Week races were completely full – Vasaloppet, TjejVasan and StafettVasan. Vasaloppet 2012 is already full and, with the current high registration pace, TjejVasan and StafettVasan will be fully booked well before Christmas.
Register entries to Vasaloppet’s various races HERE.
Vasaloppet Winter Week 2012
- Friday 24 Feb: KortVasan, 30 km. Start Oxberg.
- Saturday 25 Feb: TjejVasan, 30 km Start Oxberg.
- Sunday 26 Feb: UngdomsVasan, 3/5/7/9 km. Start Hemus.
- Sunday 26 Feb: Öppet Spår, 90 km. Start Sälen.
- Monday 27 Feb: Öppet Spår, 90 km. Start Sälen.
- Tuesday 28 Feb: HalvVasan, 45 km. Start Oxberg.
- Friday 2 Mar: SkejtVasan, 30/45 km. Start Oxberg.
- Friday 2 Mar: StafettVasan 9 km – 24 km. Start Sälen.
- Sunday 4 Mar: Vasaloppet, 90 km (FULL 30/5/11). Start Sälen.
September 30, 2011 (Balsta, Sweden) – Sweden is reportedly all set to get the world’s largest indoor ski resort in the form of the all new ‘Skipark 360′. This one of a kind ski resort will be designed and developed by CF Møller Architects. A highlight of the world’s most complete indoor ski park will be a 700 metre long downhill slope with a drop of 160 metres, potentially enough to meet the requirements for World Cup slalom. At a height of approx. 135 metres, it will be one of Sweden’s largest buildings, and will become a landmark in the forest landscape just outside Stockholm.
The Skipark 360 is planned to be located in Balsta, which is about 45 minutes away from Stockholm In addition to the Alpine Skiing slope and a snow park, the resort will feature a 3.5 km cross-country skiing tunnel with enough room to play and practice a variety of activities including ice hockey, bandy and figure skating. Restaurants, shops, spa, hotel and conference facilities are also included. The entire structure is being designed to be completely self-sufficient and will meet its power requirements from a variety of renewable sources of energy such as geothermal heating, solar power, wind power and hydro power, with an estimated construction cost of a staggering 1.5-2 billion Swedish kroner. The project is expected to start at the turn of 2013/2014.
June 23, 2011 (Ostersund, Sweden) – U.S. XC Ski Teamers Kikkan Randall and Liz Stephen are back from their whirlwind 2.5-week training trip to Sweden where they hung out with the Swedish National Team for some fabulous dryland and on-snow training, including some cultural exchange while making new friends.
“Last year I trained for a couple of weeks in Norway during the off season and at the last FIS Athlete Council meeting I chatted with Anna Haag and Emil Joensson and they invited me to Sweden to train with their team,” Randall told SkiTrax on her return. “Liz was interested as well so things took off from there.”
Randall and Stephen logged some great dryland and on-snow sessions in Mora, Ostersund and Torsby where they checked out the ski tunnel. Ostersund, located in the middle of Sweden on Lake Storsjön, is known as Winter City (Vinterstaden) and has hosted several National and World Championships including the Nordic Games, a precursor to the Winter Olympic Games – read more HERE.
According to Randall Ostersund is an awesome skiing hub. “It’s like a mini-athlete’s village. Many of the country’s top athletes including lots of xc skiers live there so there’s plenty of ongoing activities and opportunities.”
“The ski tunnel facility in Torsby is uber-cool. You can be roller skiing in the morning and be on snow in the afternoon. The temperature inside the tunnel is a brisk -3 degrees Celsius. Gliding on snow during the summer there reminded me why I love this sport,” quipped Randall.
The duo were introduced to Swedish cooking along with attending Haag’s cousin’s graduation ceremony and are even more hooked on Scandinavia. “We’re stoked in Sweden,” added Randall. So how’s her Swedish? “You know as much as I’ve travelled around the world because of skiing I’ve only been able to pick up some casual phrases here and there because everyone speaks such good English.”
Look for a full report from Randall and Stephen on their Swedish escapades… meanwhile, the above pics should whet your appetite. Skol.
June 22, 2011 – The Olympic gold medalist and World Champion, Norway’s Petter Northug, will compete in at least three Ski Classics distance events in 2012. According to the Norwegian TV2, he plans to contest Marcialonga in Italy, König Ludwig Lauf in Germany, and Vasaloppet in Sweden.
“Petter Northug is the greatest skier presently active, and having him competing in the peak of his career in Ski Classics is of course great news!” said David Nilsson Executive Director Ski Classics.
“Ski Classics has grown rapidly the last year and we will work hard during the summer in order to lift the sport of long distance skiing further in front of the coming season, to meet the expectations of fans, media and most important of all the athletes,” he added.
May 14, 2011 – Vacation is over for the Swedish Cross-Country squad. The team travelled to Spain to gather at the first joint training camp in the off-season. However, Charlotte Kalla, Marcus Hellner and Co. are not enjoying spring on the south coast of Spain. Monte Gordo is indeed a tourist paradise, but the place is also ideal training base for skiers during the summer months.
Sweden’s Cross-Country team plans to kick off work to get back into an appropriate pace after a month when most of the athletes took a vacation. “We have here nice and hilly roads suitable for roller skiing and biking and the countryside offers us great trails for running. Our sprint team was here last fall and was very pleased,” commented Swedish head coach Joakim Abrahamsson.
Between training sessions, the head coach is working on putting together all the pieces of the Cross-Country team to gain success both in short and long term. “We have no World Championships next winter and Tour de Ski is going to be our biggest goal. The following years will be filled with hard battles at the 2013 World Championships in Val di Fiemme, in 2014 at the Olympics in Sochi, and finally in 2015 at the home World Championships in Falun. It is important that we prepare goof strategy how we should develop both as individuals and as groups,” explained Abrahamsson and Rikard Grip.
Both Swedish coaches are convinced that the training camp in Monte Gordo will do the team good. “It’s something new and we believe it will inspire the team and rejuvenate the skiers with new energy,” the coaches said.
Cross-Country team at Monte Gordo, Portugal 12-18/5
- Anders Södergren, Östersunds SK
- Johan Olsson, Åsarna IK
- Jens Eriksson, Dala Floda IF
- Emil Jönsson, Årsunda IF
- Teodor Peterson, Åsarna IK
- Robin Bryntesson, Sollefteå SK
- Marcus Hellner, Gellivare Skidallians
- Daniel Richardsson, Hudiksvalls IF
- Ida Ingemarsdotter, Åsarna IK
- Maria Rydqvist, Östersunds SK
- Hanna Falk, Ulricehamns IF
- Hanna Brodin, Åsarna IK
- Sara Lindborg, Östersunds SK
- Magdalena Pajala, Piteå Elit
- Charlotte Kalla, IFK Tärendö
- Anna Haag, IFK Mora SK
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.”
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
April 30, 2011 – FIS will be presenting a cross-country homologation seminar in Falun, Sweden from May 20-22, 2011. The core content will include group works in order to design a venue that will promote the Cross-Country sport in the best way, and thus attract spectators and media to the venue during competitions and TV viewers to switch on their TV equipment.The aim of this seminar is three-fold:
- to provide re-certification to existing Homologation Inspectors,
- to train new FIS and National Homologation Inspectors and
- to provide education to those who design cross-country skiing facilities that will be used for any level of competition.
This seminar is purposely set on the 2015 FIS WSC venue in Falun so that an understanding of the processes of redeveloping trails in order to adapt them to the competition formats that are now included in the WSC Cross-Country program.
March 23, 2011 – Check out these video highlights of one of the greatest moments in Canadian XC ski racing history – Pierre Harvey’s first World Cup win in 1987 in Falun, Sweden. Harvey’s amazing feat is even more significant as we fast-forward to the present where his son, Alex, and his Canadian teammates, have continued Pierre’s legacy, enjoying a break-out season, winning multiple medals on the FIS World Cup and World Championships circuit.
March 21, 2011 (Falun, Sweden) – If you missed the action at this past weekend’s 2011 FIS Viessmann WCup finale in Falun, Sweden check out this great photo gallery of some of the sport’s top skiers as the season’s final champions were crowned following the 10/15km Handicap start pursuit race. Norway’s Marit Bjoergen and Petter Northug won the final mini tour while Dario Cologna (SUI) and Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) were crowned the overall season champions – read more here and here.
March 17, 2011 (Stockholm, Sweden) – Here are some great photos from yesterday’s Royal Palace Sprint in Stockholm won by Petra Majdic (SLO) and Emil Joensson (NOR). With their victories, Joensson and Majdic sewed up the respective men’s and women’s 2011 World Cup Sprint titles, as the series now heads into the final weekend in Falun, Sweden. The USA’s Kikkan Randall claimed third overall in the women’s Sprint Series – read more here on the women’s race and here for the men’s race.
Kikkan Randall – 3rd overall. Nordic Focus
Emil Joensson (SWE) wins. Nordic Focus
Alex Harvey (CAN) Nordic Focus
Petra Majdic (SLO) wins. Nordic Focus
Andrew Newell (USA) Nordic Focus
Petter Northug (NOR) Nordic Focus
Perianne Jones (CAN) Nordic Focus
(l-r) Randall, Brun-Lie and Kylloenen (FIN) Nordic Focus
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!