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The Way I See IT – Golden Twins, Double Poling, Downhills, Norwegians, Madshus, TdS 50-50

by Marty Hall

January 13, 2016 – Let’s Get Into the Swing of Things – Big pay dirt has been hit and let’s watch the excitement, as Sophie Caldwell and Jessie Diggins become the “Gold Dust Twins”! Sorry about the languages, but the story still comes through.

Sophie wins the sprint, becoming the 1st non-Norwegian to win a WC since the start of the WC season this year and Jessie follows up two days later, winning the 5km WC free for a two day grand slam – WOWIE!!

FIS Can Relax – At least for now, as the nearest anyone came to double poling these courses during the TdS was Dario Cologna when he lost his wax, in the 15km at Val di Fiemme. Otherwise it was old fashion diagonal on display for all the classic races during the Tour. Still a thing of beauty. My sources say the courses were too damn tough or the snow was soft, dirty and too slow!

To All NAs – This TdS is now history and it is one you can put in the memory bank! There will be many days in your futures that you will recall some experience or experiences while shovelling the driveway or mowing the lawn – these races will never leave you – they are etched into you memory bank with a lot of sweat, tears and laughter. Be proud!

Norwegians – They just don’t screw-up – I watched completely just about every race – great skis up and down (didn’t miss wax or skis). They don’t always look good on the down hills, but they never snow plowed and they don’t fall down, tactically – no mistakes. They simply let the other skiers beat themselves.

Talking about downhills – remember, if you are afraid, you are in trouble, anything you do to cut speed on the downhills is a gift to your opposition and more importantly you have to get that time back on the uphills and you know how hard that is at this level.?!!? Don’t give up that free glide or vertical.

Madshus Skis – It’s been a good podium year for them so far!!

Nationals, Eastern Cup – Have had huge fields – on not so good snow and with the Easterns on a short 1.2 km loop.

The TdS –  In the  last SkiTrax I suggested a 50-50 split of sprinting and distance competitions, so as to keep the fields larger, instead of, over the course of  the schedule having massive drop out rates. Especially when it came to the sprinters.
In the mid 80s when FIS was in a turmoil over what to do with skating technique in the world of XC skiing, it was finally decided that whenever multiple events were held there would be a 50-50 split in the use of the two techniques – that has definitely not been the case in any of the TdS competitions since its conception.

In talking about the drop-out rates the numbers don’t lie. The fields at the beginning of the Tour this year were 100 men and 71 women, while in the last races the fields were 52 men and 43 women – and historically the Tour demonstrates these kinds of numbers.

A 50-50 split of sprints-distance events would create a better balance of the techniques, and likely keep the fields larger while giving sprinters a chance to win the overall Tour. In my estimation this would create more excitement and a more complete experience for all the skiers and spectators. Maybe after 10 years the Tour needs a good house cleaning.

All people who enter the Tour should have the feeling that they can possibly be the overall winner and take home the grand prize of 100,000 SF.  I’m quite surprised that there haven’t had more protests by the sprinters – guess they don’t know the story behind the “Battle of Skating” in the mid 80s.

Last Important Question – What happened to those huge chunks of Le Gruyere cheese that Jessie and Sophie won – raclette or fondues or did the local mice get in on the party?

Talk to you soon!

5 Comments For This Post

  1. Ski The Birkie, WI, USA says:

    “Sophie wins the sprint, becoming the 1st non-Norwegian to win a WC since the start of the WC season this year.” Didn’t Stina Nilsson win a WC race earlier this year?

  2. Marty Hall, NH, USA says:

    Missed that one—have a stogie on me and a good smoke in front of the fire place—-WC should have been my referral—-even wax slips sometimes!!!!

  3. Marty Hall, NH, USA says:

    #2 bad on Marty—-National Championship snow conditions—marginal before the competition—but a Nationals Championship level effort by race time—had excellent racing conditions thru out the week—due to a lot of shoveling, raking and just plain having the nose to the grindstone—-good going Houghton—-you’re a real Championship OC!!!!!!!

  4. jefftaylor, bc, Canada says:

    I would also like to see the final climb done as a mass start. It Doesn’t make much of a race when Sunby has a head start, it is just too predictable.

  5. xcskier22, Montana, says:

    Jeff, It wouldn’t have mattered. Sundby is just a cyborg these days. Mathias Fredriksson (former Swedish national team member, Overall WC winner in 2003, Olympic and World’s medalist, etc) working for Swedish Television recently compared Sundby with Johann Muehlegg. Rightly so.

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