Coming off of several top performances in the recent SuperTour races at Soldier Hollow as well as a strong finish in the Italian marathon “La Sgambeda”, Lars Flora looks set to take another big step forward this season. Fasterskier.com was able to ask him a few questions as he was getting ready to race at U.S. Nationals:
You've had a strong start to the season so far, both in Europe as
well as at the Soldier Hollow SuperTour races. Do you feel you're on track
for your best race results ever this season?
My preparations for the race season have been great. I have stayed healthy and my confidence is very high at the moment. If all goes to plan my race results will see a boost in the month of February.
You seem to have dealt with the trans-atlantic travel very well. Any
special “tricks” or things you pay attention to when doing a lot of
traveling during the race season?
Traveling over the Atlantic can be a little tricky. Especially when the travel is sandwiched in between the races. Most importantly I try to rest before I travel so I can start training right when I arrive at the race site. Plus I try to make it to the weight room in the first two days. It seems to help the body adjust.
How did you feel this time around on the Soldier Hollow race courses?
In the past I have struggled at Soldier Hollow. In 2002 I went from second to last at the Gold Cup at SoHo to winning my first national title and placing 3rd in the 30km at Bozeman Nationals. This time around I skied very strong on the SoHo courses. I was especially happy due to my travel schedule.
Lars In La Sgambeda Marathon
What are your goals for this season, next season and beyond?
In the short term I want to win three national titles next week. For World Championships, I believe our World Championship Relay Team has a real chance of making the podium. So I really want to make the relay team. Plus I want to place in the top 15 in the individual races. For the long term, it’s all about the 2006 Olympics. After the Olympics, time will tell.
Are you looking to specialize in any particular events or train with
an equal focus on all race formats, distances, and techniques?
I might be setting myself up, but I like all the races. For this reason I train for them all.
Do you think the level of competition in the US is increasing?
With Kris Freeman and Carl Swenson raising the bar, the level of competition has definitely increased. But the rest of us have to make a jump to increase the depth of quality skiers.
In your opinion, what would move the US forward most effectively in becoming internationally dominant in xc racing?
One of the main things I believe we need to improve on is the communication between the different organizations in our country. We have a tremendous amount of support in our country, but for some reason the athletes are not fully benefiting from the programs. The US Ski Team is doing all they can do to produce the best skiers. It is unfortunate that they cannot support all of us. Luckily, we have organizations to feed off to reach the top. For myself, the Subaru Factory Team has been a career saver. Everyday I am fortunate to be involved with a highly professional team. I believe if these organizations had more of working relationship with the administration and coaches of the US Ski Team our country could be very dominant in xc ski racing.
Thank you, and Best of Luck!