For many years, top Norwegian and Swedish athletes have ventured north at the end of spring for extensive on snow training at the Sognefjell glacier in Norway. This spring, more US skiers have made the trip to Sognefjell than at anytime before. Sognefjell is becoming more than a backyard training facility for top Scandinavians, it is evolving into the premier place for all nationalities to come to early in the summer. It only makes sense that the leading race companies would join these athletes for both recruitment and on snow testing. We caught up with Atomic’s indefatigable Roman Toferer for a better picture of what goes on up at Sognefjell.
What makes Sognefjell so appealing for athletes and ski companies?
We have been testing skis there for over 12 years. There is a good mix of wet to universal snow conditions. This means what we test up there is very close to race conditions for most of the winter. Also the crew up there improved heavily on track preparation and grooming , we found perfect training and testing possibilities every day!!!
It looks pretty Spartan up there. What do you have for lodging, what do you have for meals?
Lodging is pretty simple with two shower for a lot of people, food is simple but taste is great , everything you need to concentrate on doing a good basement job is there.
What are the ski companies hoping to accomplish by going to Sognefjell?
For us it’s mostly the first meeting with the different teams as a kind of starting the new season. We get the chance to test new laminates, new core constructions, new base materials, new sidecuts… no end to new stuff we test. The athletes are great testers and Sognefell is a great place to work with plenty of very good testers.
So what percentage of your time is spent testing new prototypes and what percentage is spent working with athletes?
We mostly share the service team , at this year we had
– Myself 100% focused on new developments together with athletes
– Bartl and Peter 80% on athletes 20% proto with athletes
– Kai Egil and Jo 100% with Juniors and youngsters
Didn’t you actually sign a contract with Marthe Kristoffersen right at the dormitory at Sognefjell when you originally recruited her?
Correct, Mathe was signed at Sognefjell a couple of years ago. This year we finished contracts with the guys from long distance team NPRO ( Havard Hansen and Svein Tore Sinnes) and renewed the contract with Tord Asle Gjerdalen ( Gold and Bronze at WCH Oslo).
What new athletes did you recruit this year at Sognefjell?
Norwegian National Junior team members Göran Tefre and Simen Krüger, together with sondre Fossli we work now with 3 guys in that team on fully Atomic package.
Do you have full on winter conditions for testing at Sognefjell?
Mainly temperature around 0 this year.
What new products were you testing at up there?
New grinds, new base materials, variations of laminates and Skintec. No company would talk too much about new things. Sorry, no details for now.
Were you able to test the new Soft Track? Or, is it too early to even talk about that ski?
Athletes love the new prototype. Too early to talk about it.
Final question. When are you going to come to an US location like Bend, Oregon for summer testing?
Good question but seems a bit complicated to bring all our normal Sognefjell equipement there
About 2 Vans with
400 Pairs Racingskies
45 Pairs different Prototypes
Private equipment for 4 hours skiing every day for 5 people
Is Atomic US ready for an invitation?????