TD Defends Holding Races In Cold Weather

FasterSkierNovember 11, 2004

FasterSkier posted two articles last week regarding cold weather racing. One was about cold weather racing guidelines for children ( ) and the other was about several Norwegian national team skiers that claimed to have developed asthma problems after having raced in cold conditions ( ).
The technical delegate (TD) for last years Norwegian championship in Bardufoss, Petter Gronas, felt it was responsible to run the races even if it was cold.
National team skiers Jens Arne Svartedal and Kristian Horntvedt developed asthma problems following the races at last year’s Norwegian championship that was held under very cold conditions. But Gronas feels that it was not irresponsible to run the races.
– It’s of course sad for skiers to get a part of the season spoiled, and those of us who love cross country skiing are the first to apologize for that. When that is said, it was not irresponsible to run the races in Bardufoss. The limit for racing is -20 Celsius, and we had three measuring stations at what we knew would be the coldest points of the course. The coldest point showed -18.7 C. We were operating inside the rules in a responsible way. You can then of course discuss if the rules and guidelines are good or not, says Gronas. 
He never considered canceling the races.
– It was cold, but no wind. We might have considered canceling if such things had been a factor. But I felt then and still feel that there were no reason to cancel says Gronas and adds:
– We should not under any circumstances gamble with the skier’s health. And I feel that we didn’t do that since the temperature was not below the legal limit.
The TD is also adding that there was no pressure from local sponsors or television to hold the races.
– There was absolutely no pressure. We would have delayed the start or cancelled only based upon the actual weather and race situation, and not according to what others might feel. We were very sensitive to making sure that the racers safety and not commercial interest had the highest priority, says Gronas.
The temperature was checked every hour prior to race start and every 30 minutes close to race start. Gronas says that neither he nor other members of the jury received complaints that it was too cold to race in Bardufoss.
– I felt it was great championship, one that you can be proud of.


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