The Golden Skis

Inge ScheveSeptember 3, 2010

The period from 1989 to 1994 is often referred to as the “golden age” in Norwegian cross-country skiing. During these years, Norwegian skiers hauled home buckets of medals, and the party culminated with the Olympics on home turf in Lillehammer 1994.

What happened behind the scenes was determining for the results. Terje Olav Seim was one of the wax techs on the support team who groomed and polished up several golden pairs. There is no doubt in his mind as to which pair was his best piece of work.

“That was the pair Alsgaard used for the 30K at Lillehammer in 1994. I’d argue that this is the race that has logged the fastest ski speed in history,” Seim says to  

– Was that due to the skis?

“Nah..Thomas would have won no matter what, but he won with such a huge margin. Both the skis and the boy were unbelievable that day. That we hit so dead on with the skis was just icing on the cake for me,” the modest Norwegian says.

Structure – it matters

– What was the secret behind the golden skis?

“For starters, this was a pair with an exceptional base. It can be pretty random which skis happen to have a great base, even the manufacturers don’t fully control that. It was also exceptionally cold that day, and we kept it simple. The structure matters a lot, and what we used that day was a simple, but well-proven and slightly ‘worn’ version. Then we added CH4. That’s what Thomas was skiing on when he became an Olympic gold winner,” Seim recalls. Currenty, Seim works as a consultant for both Madshus and Swix.

– The Norwegian wax team received a lot of flak during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. What kinds of challenges are they facing with the upcoming World Championships?

“First off, they have to move on and forget what happened in the past. They need to think simple and develop a system. The skiers don’t need more than one good pair for each different kind of conditions. If they have that and the skis are tuned in a way we know works, the chances of total disaster are severely reduced,” Seim explains. “Oh, and they have to do their homework prior to the major championships.”

From, August 30, 2010 By Ola Jordheim Halvorsen, translation by Inge Scheve

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.

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