Sometimes, the specifics of ski racing are not necessarily told through the results sheet. Sometimes, there’s more to the story than meets a singular pair of eyes. Here are a few impressions from the US Ski Team, told through pictures and through words from the opening World Cup race of the season in Gallivare, Sweden. Enjoy.
Hellner displays a little flow to complement his snappy, powerful, effective skate style.
Helner’s always been a skater. He’s still a better skater, but his classic is coming, too. Every year, he’s been training harder and harder. Every year, he’s getting faster and faster, too.â€
Last season’s World Cup Distance and Overall Champion Lukas Bauer might find wins harder to come by this season.
â€œThe overall field is tighter than I’ve ever seen it, first to thirtieth. Every year it seems like it gets just a little more competitive. Granted, this is a pretty easy course, but even still — especially in these conditions (i.e. various snow in different parts of the course, soft packed powder loosening as the day went on) for one minute to separate the top thirty skiers, two seconds separating a place, is pretty tight racing. A lot of guys around the globe are training hard and really wanting it. It’s going to be harder now than ever to be a top ten, top fifteen skier in the world.â€
– Justin Wadsworth, US Ski Team Coach
One former World Cup Champion urging on another. Gunde Svan in action as the big chief of Swedish nordic skiing. The word on the street is that Matias Fredrickson is back in shape. His early races don’t show it. Maybe that’s part of the plan.
â€œIt’s cool to see Gunde back in the scene. What’s really cool about it is to see how his presence has galvanized the whole Swedish team. You got to see the Scania waxing truck they roll out to the races to believe it. It’s easy to see how much legitimacy and national enthusiasm he’s brought to the program.
â€œI mean, when was the last time the Swedes have ever won both the men’s and women’s races in a distance World Cup? Ever? I don’t think it’s happened before. This was super exciting.â€
– Zach Caldwell, US Ski Team Serviceman
â€œGunde, has this ever happened before?â€
– Mr. Svan
â€œI felt today was a really good start to Kris’ season. Real solid. We were talking yesterday and kind of figured top-thirty would be very satisfactory and top-twenty would be stellar.
â€œI don’t know if it’s good news or bad news but it didn’t look like a top twenty effort out on the course. Compared to even some of the training I saw this summer, today Kris was missing a gear, maybe two. In the last couple days some of the coaches and I have talked to him about some technical stuff, opening up some gears to find a little bit more tempo. He’s been working on that. It’s improved over the paced intensity effort we saw a couple days ago. You know, he’s not all there. This is not all he’s got. I find this encouraging. To ski on capacity and strength and follow a race winner for ten kilometers of a fifteen is real encouraging. Kris’ race wasn’t a knock-out performance. But it was still real encouraging.â€
– Zach Caldwell, also Kris’ personal coach
“Kris is strong. He do it well with his diabetes.”
— Jocke Augustsson US Ski Team Serviceman
Torin Koos is a member of the National A Team for the United States. A World Cup, World Championship and Olympic competitor, Koos brings this experience to the FasterSkier sportscasting arena for the 2007/2008 season.
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