An article on freep.com (an online arm of the Detroit Free Press) looks at the differences between competitive cross-country skiing in the US and Europe. This is an interesting piece with significant quotes from USST head coach Pete Vordenberg.
Eric Sharp writes –
“Andy Gerlach has a theory: In places like Russia, Norway and Slovenia, skiers, cyclists and soccer players are the equivalent of America's pro basketball, football and baseball players.
“In Europe, blue-collar families see cross-country skiing as a way up. Every little town in Europe that gets enough snow has a cross-country ski trail and racing programs for the local kids,” said Gerlach, who owns The Factory Team, a group of 11 professional cross-country skiers who are among the country's best.
'In this country, cross-country skiing isn't a blue-collar sport. It's the middle- and upper-class people who do it. In this country, if you're a professional cross-country skier, we still hear people say, 'When are you going to get a real job?' If you continue skiing after college, you're a ski bum.'”