The 2012 Tour de Ski gets underway just over an hour when the women take to the course for a 3.1km freestyle prologue, followed an hour later by a four kilometer version for the men.
Cold temperatures overnight firmed up the course, and the snow is fast, if a bit dirty. The drop below freezing meant that there was no need to salt the course as discussed yesterday.
Organizers spent much of the day on Wednesday trucking snow to the course—a mixture of the manmade variety from the adjacent ski tunnel, and natural snow from farther afield.
With a biathlon World Cup scheduled for next week, snow was held back in the ski tunnel, a clear demonstration of the relative popularity of that sport.
Nat Herz provides more details on the venue (East German), the course (big hills), and the scene (crashing cameras, not many fans and lots of general bustle) in the following video. (Note: as of 7:40 EST, as we headed out to report on the race, our video was still processing on YouTube. If it doesn’t work, check back in a half hour.)
Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.