InterviewsNewsOne year after the 2002 Olympic Games – An update on John Aalberg

FasterSkierFebruary 12, 2003

One year after the 2002 Olympic Games — February 12th:
An update on John Aalberg, the person behind the 2002 Olympic Cross-Country success.

This week, exactly one year ago, many of us experienced some of the best days ever as Cross-Country enthusiasts and promoters. Soldier Hollow, the venue for the Olympic Cross-Country, Biathlon and Nordic Combined events was on its way to becoming the most popular and most visited of any of the 2002 Olympic venues. The athletes, teams, Media and officials were ecstatic of what they saw or were provided. The international audience marveled over the TV pictures and the perfect setup and grooming of the venue. A new standard in Cross-Country race organization was being set.

John Aalberg had visioned and looked forward to this for almost 5 years. The long process started in 1997, and had included selecting the site from over a dozen proposals, designing most of the details of the venue and the courses, overseeing the construction of the sport facilities, hand picking his competition staff, organizing and directing over a dozen international test events, deciding the details of the grooming and setup, and in the end managing the operations of the Olympic competitions. His original idea of creating a Western atmosphere around the competitions had already become a huge success among the spectators not knowing what to expect at a big Cross-Country event.

The first day of competition on February 9th had brought excitement with Stephania Belmondo breaking her pole up the last hill just in front of thousands of spectators. Her brave and amazing comeback on the last 1 km gave her a surprising Gold Medal — the very first of the 2002 Olympic Games.

John Aalberg enjoying the festivites at Soldier Hollow

On the local front, with more time on his hands, John is back coaching several groups in the Utah Nordic Alliance (TUNA) ski program, including both master skiers and young children. A growing group of local skiers bound well for the future, lead by over 100 children being introduced to Cross-Country skiing in the local programs around Salt Lake City and Park City.

More time without the 60 – 70 hour workweeks of the last years has also made more time for training and skiing. Even though racing is not a priority anymore, John can still ski with the national elite — which showed in the recent Boulder Mountain Tour. John is also back training more with his long time friends Torbjorn and Gordon. Look forward to updates and stories on in the coming months when Torbjorn and Gordon tries to keep up with or out-power John in their weekly training sessions.

John says his future goals are to continue to create successes for Cross-Country skiing in the US. His unique experience, education and knowledge in many areas of skiing are still untapped — coaching, education, event planning, organization and design. He can be contacted anytime at

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