FasterSkier.com had a chance to ask US Ski Team sprinter Torin Koos a few questions ahead of Wednesday night/early Thursday’s classic sprint race at Worlds. Read about his final preparations and how he is experiencing Japan!
Torin at Otepaa World Cup
Which races will you ski at Worlds?
I plan on racing the sprint and the sprint relay on the 22nd and 23rd in the Sapporo Dome. On the 25th I board a plane headed for Finland to get ready for the spring World Cup, so the distance race starts are out of the question.
When did you arrive in Japan and how long will you be staying?
The US Team traveled straight from Davos to the north island city of Asahikawa – two hours north of Sapporo — around two weeks ago. After a week there I went to Changchun for the World Cup in China with Andy, Kris, and Kikkan.
How was the experience last week’s sprint in Changchun, China?
Happy I went there. Happy to leave there. Changchun is a dirty city with a metropolitan population of seven million, though I hardly saw anybody, either on the outskirts of the city, or at the World Cup. I could have been skiing at western college race, with a couple coaches out on the course and nothing else. This is quite a bit different atmosphere than Otepaa or Dramman or what a sold out Sapporo Dome will be like.
What has been the focus in your training the last 3 weeks and what are you doing the last 3-4 says before your first race at Worlds?
Really, it just comes down to following the plan I set at the beginning of the season, and seeing it through the best way possible. This means working with the wax techs making for sure the skis are dialed, and the coaching staff, seeing that pole length fits the course profile and just getting to know the race venue. If its June or February it’s still about getting one day better, everyday.
How is being in Japan different from being in Europe or North America?
The weather. The food. The living situation. In Sapporo the US Team is staying 40 minutes outside of the city in KitaHiroshima. From here, we can look out over both the city and countryside. And weather just moves in — it could be a sunny, cloudless day and fifteen minutes later a snowstorm. It could be a real tough 50 km.
What else about the food and living situation?
The culinary scene is different than the usual fare in Scandinavia, Germany or America. If you’re into fish, rice, noodles and other creatures of the sea, Japan is the place to be. You could have raw fish here morning, noon and night. Luckily, I’m into this.
Finally, it seems like the Japanese are both highly professional and courteous. They’ll put on a great event and the athletes are ready to put on a great show. I hope the U.S. gets to see some of the action — both the diehard XC fans who read this site everyday, and the fossil fuel fun-seeking Nascar crowd. I really think if it was presented right, a race like World Championships in the Sapporo Dome has appeal to the average American sports entertainment consumer.