TRONDHEIM, NORWAY – Håvard Solås Taugbøl and the other skiers on “Team Morgendagens Helter” (Ed: “Team Tomorrow’s Heroes”) are certainly learning from the best.
This week the team had a training camp in Trondheim, and the takeaways include experiences, tips and a radio controlled airplane.
Before Christmas last year, the Norwegian Ski Association initiated a 5-year talent development project backed by some of the association’s major sponsors. “Team Morgendagens Helter,” a talent development group consisting of hand-picked individuals from six of the ski disciplines, is a key element in this project.
“At the camps, we meet athletes from other sports and learn from them. We also get pointers from our individual mentors, including Eldar Rønning and Therese Johaug. They simply tell us what they’re up to, and then we can take that home and adapt it to our own training programs. And they also just do a lot of really crazy, funny things,” says Taugbøl, one of the young cross-country talents on the team.
The Lillehammer native was picked for the project as a representative for cross-country, along with Vilde Haugan Burkhall, Hilde Landheim and Sindre Bjørnestad Skar. Earlier this week, they joined the other team members and mentors in Trondheim.
Last season, Taugbøl won his age class in the Norwegian national cup by a healthy margin. During the camp in Trondheim, he was able to show that he knows more than just how to ski fast.
“We were challenged to enter something called the Robot Ski Challenge at NTNU (Ed. Norwegian University of Science and Engineering). The point was to program computers to enable some robots to maneuver various obstacles on skis,” he explains. “I and this telemark racer Niklas Windmarken won the challenge,” Taugbøl says with a grain of humility.
Just for fun
The award for the engineering challenge was that each received their radio controlled airplane. Taugbøl doubts the prize will give him any advantages on snow, though.
“I’m pretty sure I won’t ski any faster even though I did pretty well in the code writing department,” he says. “But it was fun and creative, at the same time as we had to be very detail-oriented and focused to make the code work,” Taugbøl adds.
However, as an athlete with eyes on the podium, the workouts are the most important elements.
“We did a really hard stair workout with Eldar Rønning on Monday. That was a really good workout, so maybe I’ll try to incorporate some of that on my own,” Taugbøl says.
– How long will it take before you’re as good as Eldar Rønning?
“That’s a tough question,” Taugbøl says and thinks about it. “But I’m planning to train a lot, train hard and train smart for a long time. Then time will show whether it will take two years or ten years. But I hope I can match his level some day,” Taugbøl says.
After spending most of the spring and early summer battling whooping cough, the ambitious junior racer is now just smiles and joy.
“I finally got rid of the whooping cough and can train full steam ahead. It feels good to be able to go level 5,” he says. “Now I’m focusing on building a good foundation so I can race fast this winter,” Taugbøl concludes. Be warned.
From Langrenn.com, August 18, 2010. By Ivar Haugen, translation by Inge Scheve
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.