Teams in General
Team TorbjornSport is different from the other teams organized by ski industry
companies. Traditionally, these teams recruit the elite skiers in the country:
the top graduating college skiers, top skiers from US Nationals, and skiers
that usually do well at major marathons. Skiers placing in the middle of the
pack are seldom members of these teams. Skiers joining such teams receive benefits
which may include free equipment, room and board at camps and races, and/or
cash incentives for winning major races. The racers get the latest equipment,
reduced expenses, etc. in exchange for skiing in the team uniform, doing wax
and ski clinics, and other types of promotional work.
From the sponsor's point of view, recruiting from the top ensures their products
will have bragging rights to a high percentage of the medals at major events.
Their logo appears on the teams' clothing, hats, wax box and so on. The skiing
public might think that nothing but the most visable companies' products are
being used by the best teams. The marketing theory is, of course, that the average
skier is so impressed by the results that he goes and buys these products. "Top
skier are using them – so I should too."
With this marketing strategy in mind, I would like to bring up some interesting
facts, using kick wax as an example. Did you know that little known Rode kick
waxes are frequently used by the top nationson the World Cup? Or that a kick
wax mixture made at home by Magnar Dahlen, former Head Wax Coach for Sweden
and Norway, was, according to Magnar, used to win at least 15 recent Olympic,
World Cup and World Championship Golds? In addition it was used to win the Norwegian
Bike five times and the Swedish Vasaloppet twice recently. Have you seen any
ads for Rode or Magnar's wax lately? Have you seen their logos on team clothing?
No, because they do not have marketing budgets.
Well, we believe that SOLDA –Team TBS’s official wax – is in the
same situation. It is used a lot by top nations and has a great price, but has
a microscopic advertising budget . You won't see SOLDA as a sponsor of any elite
teams because all of their money goes into making the best wax possible. Team
TBS’s other main product – PRO-SKI Rollerskis – is another interesting
low key product. The rollerski market is so small that no one is paying any
skiers to use their products. Teams like Norway are choosing to use Pro-Ski
on their own.
The Skiers of Team TorbjornSport
Having said that, there are a number of top skiers in the Team TBS “training
group,” like US National Team member Justin Wadsworth, Canadian Olympic
Gold/Silver Medalist Beckie Scott, and last years Birkie winner Jeannie Wall.
These skiers don’t receive any financial benefits as part of our group,
in fact they actually pay for my coaching service. Both Justin and Jeannie are
SOLDA users, and TorbjornSport is a supplier of SOLDA wax and PRO-SKI rollerskis
to the Canadian National Women’s Team, of which Beckie is a member.
Both Beckie and Justin are, of course, skiing in their National team uniforms
and are Team TBS members more “in spirit.” They receive coaching
advice from me, and use our products. Justin is also an “official”
product tester and spokesperson for TorbjornSport, PRO-SKI Rollerskis and SOLDA
Wax. But they can not race in our uniforms or wear our hats or clothing, like
the rest of Team TBS. Beckie and Justin are also receiving coaching from the
Canadian and the US Team, respectively. Justin also receives occasional wax
help from Yves Bilodeau on the Canadian staff. (Great job with Justin’s
skis in his 22nd place in the World Cup 15K skate before Christmas Yves!)
Jeannie Wall races for Atomic skis, as well as TorbjornSport. But regardless
of whether she is wearing a suit that says Atomic or SOLDA, she will always
have her Atomic Betas waxed up with SOLDA wax.
The rest of the TBS members are mostly professionals with full time jobs and
family commitments from all walks of life and just about any age. Currently
this ranges from mid twenties to mid seventies. Some of the members have signed
up for the coaching service, while other train on their own and simply want
to be Team members. At this point there are no financial benefits from being
a member, however members do receive discounts on certain products like wax
and rollerskis from TorbjornSport.
We are starting to see that Team TBS is becoming like a small, but growing,
family at races. We discuss waxing, training, share stories, share a meal and
so on. We all like to ski, and we know a thing or two about how important training
is in order to stay mentally and physically young. We want to feel good years
from now, so we can bike, hike, ski and run when the rest of our generation
has given up or simply can’t do things because they are out of shape.
We still don’t have uniforms or warm-ups for everyone that wanted to
buy them, but we might get all that taken care of by next year! We are working
on other types of gear like T-shirts, jackets and so on but everything take
time and money. The members are there to have fun so they give Gordon Lange
and me lots of slack and time to slowly get to things – hey we need to
work out too!
Skiing fast has never been a criterion for becoming a member. Enjoying training
and ski racing is. Some of the members are fast age-group skiers, like Kent
Murdoch in Washington, who is faster than most skiers in that region regardless
of age. It also includes several World Master Champions and recent 24-hours
of Telemark solo winner Chris Ransom.
Other are placing in the middle of the pack. Listing everyone would take up
to much space.
Goals for Team TBS
Our short term goals for Team TBS include having uniforms for everyone. We are
also thinking of having a camp, race or event where everyone comes in for a
weekend of fun. Members will also receive some price breaks if they are attending
FasterSkier summer or fall Training camps. John Aalberg and I are currently
discussing an expanded coaching service that members might get a price break
Long term, we might even dedicate the season to accomplish something more that
just having fun through training and ski racing. Maybe help a good cause? I
got that idea from discussions with Chris Ransom a couple years ago. There is
a huge need for blood at the blood banks. I doubt that anyone has healthier
blood than this group! We’ll start throwing around ideas like this.
And sure, we are not hiding the fact that our members are, on their terms, helping
us promote a small but good wax line, SOLDA, and PRO-SKI Rollerskis. So yes,
its business as well.
Looking for Sponsors
Team TBS is currently looking for sponsors – ideally outside the ski-industry.
We think that our fast growing group should be ideal for companies that want
to improve their image or need to use normal (?) people in their advertising.
We travel domestically and world-wide in both summer and winter. We represent
all ages from 25-75, and are geographically spread around the entire country.
We are healthy, don’t smoke, look good in tight clothing, and much more.
I didn’t exactly have Enron or WorldCom in mind but please do contact
us if you have ideas or actually happen to be the decision maker for a company
with an interest in this.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org attention
Want to be a Team TBS member?
It’s not hard and we are not picky – send us an e-mail with a little
skiing background information about yourself to email@example.com.
Use the headline –Team TBS.