American top skiers are ready to duke it out with the Canadian national team in the Fairbanks season opener this weekend. We asked US head coach Trond Nystad a few questions about the team.
Trond, what’s the skiing like in Fairbanks at the moment?
– The conditions here are pretty good considering how little snow there is
here. John Estle and his crew have done a great job in the summer to
flatten all the trails and they have done an equally great job getting the
snow they have here to go a long way. We are probably skiing on a packed
base of less than one inch. Skating is very good, but because of the thin
base we cannot get a good track in. We will try to mobilize some shovels
and a crew to see if we can get things fixed up for the race – problem will
be to find snow to shovel, but we will do our best. The forecast does not
have much snow in it, so we got to find the extra snow next to the trails.
What about the individual skier’s health and plans?
– The US Ski Team athletes are looking good. Andrew Johnson is the only
question mark as he has been injured and sick a lot this year. He is
finishing his last cure of medicine right now (stomach problems after the
antibiotics this summer killed of his immune defense for other illnesses).
He will hopefully be ready to race this weekend. The rest of the team is
healthy and ready to go. Carl Swenson is doing his preparation in Northern
Finland. He will race the opening race in Munio this weekend and then head
to Norway to do the opening race and the WC there and in Kuusamo (if there is
What are the goals and expectations for these races?
– It is always hard to predict the outcome of the first races, but our goal is
to race fast from the get go. We must be in shape for the races in Canada
in order to be ready to race fast at the Olympics.