FasterSkier’s coverage of the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden, is brought to you by the generous support of L.L. Bean, now featuring a complete line of Kikkan Randall training wear.
Carlos Lannes has seen the world, and he’s been around when it comes to cross-country skiing. Leading up to his fourth-and-final World Championships, the 36-year-old Argentine Olympian, who now lives and coaches in Boulder, Colo., provided a glimpse of his journey as a international competitor over the years.
Born in Ushuaia, Argentina, Lannes started skiing for his home nation before moving to Spain around age of 20 to continue his professional pursuit of racing. About seven years later, he joined the Spanish Civil Guard Team, and in 2010, he qualified for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, where he placed 82nd in the 15-kilometer freestyle. Just over a year ago, Lannes moved to Colorado, where he has been coaching the Boulder Nordic Junior Racing Team (BNJRT) this winter.
This afternoon in Falun, Sweden, Lannes was listed to compete in the men’s 10 k freestyle qualifying race, with the top 10 men from that race earning starts in the distance events at 2015 Nordic World Ski Championships: the skiathlon, freestyle individual start and mass start (as well as the classic-sprint qualifier, which all competitors automatically have the opportunity to race).
FasterSkier: Can you tell us about your early days in Argentina, who influenced you there and how you learned to ski?
Carlos Lannes: I was born in Argentina, where my passion and devotion for the sport of cross-country skiing began. I started practicing this sport thanks to a winter sports development program in my hometown, Ushuaia, which is also named the World’s End, being the southernmost city in the world. As I grew up, this is also where I began to compete in national and provincial races, obtaining my first results.
Looking back at this early stage of my life in Argentina, there were a lot of important people throughout my career in cross-county skiing and to whom I owe all of my respect and will always be thankful for the valuable impact they had in my life. I cannot name one single person that inspired me to pursue a career in this sport. However, I was very inspired by the numerous cross-country skiers at the time when I was living in Argentina, pushing and motivating me and my fellow skiers and friends to learn and train harder, to compete, and to follow our dreams.
FS: When and why did you move to Spain? Who persuaded you to do so and whom did you ski with there?
CL: In 1999, my passion for cross-country skiing drove me to travel and move to Spain, close to the countries that have shown to be the best in this sport — such as Sweden and Norway — and in the hopes of fulfilling my dream of participating in the Olympic Winter Games. I was also highly motivated by other Olympic athletes, such as Luis Argel and Martin Bianchi, who invited me to take the opportunity to train and pursue my career in Europe.
In my early beginning living in Spain, I lived in a small valley, Val d’Aran, in the Catalan region. This is where I was given the opportunity to work and train and begin to grow as an athlete in Spain. My first club in Spain was CAEI, where I began to compete and allowing me to obtain my first results in the national circuit.
In 2006, my improved results and skiing level in the Spanish cross-country skiing competitions opened the doors for me to be a part of the Spanish Civil Guard Team. Therefore, I moved to Jaca, Aragon, and began to ski in one of the best teams in Spain, which allowed me to compete at a higher level, alongside many excellent athletes who have represented Spain in the Winter Olympics.
This prestigious team is a benchmark for young athletes in Spain and I will always be thankful for the opportunity to be able to grow professionally, as well as personally, in this highly valued institution. Without the help of the Spanish Civil Guard, I might not have been able to participate in the Vancouver Winter Games, since they generously provided me with permits for training and days away from work, for different races in preparation for the games.
FS: How was your Olympic experience, and how were you funded and supported as an athlete pursuing that dream?
CL: In 2010, I participated in the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, which was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life as a skier. Prior to the games, I also had the great opportunity to train with the Spanish National Team, who supported me in many aspects, including traveling, skiman services, helping me in my training program and periodization, among other things. They gave me the opportunity to be a part of a national team, which was a great learning experience for me in my career. At the same time, the Argentinian Federation supported me when competing internationally, such as for the World Championships and at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
FS: Who did you learn from along the way?
CL: During my time in Europe as a competing athlete, I had the great pleasure to share with other great teams and athletes from all over the world. In particular, after the games in 2010, I had the great pleasure of training and learning from the Rastelli family and Polisportiva Le Prese, in Sondalo, Italy, where I have been very fortunate to train with one of the best group of trainers and young athletes in Italy. Coming from a country where cross-country skiing is a minority sport, I have been blessed to be given the opportunities that I have had and to have achieved all that I have.
FS: Where did you meet your wife, and why did you move to Boulder?
CL: My wife and I met in Spain some years back, during a trip she made to Europe with her sister and a friend, and in 2012, we got married and I began my masters in the Spanish Olympic Committee. My wife was born in Toronto, Canada, however, her family is from Uruguay, Argentina’s neighboring country, where she spent part of her life growing up. For this reason, we share a very similar culture and values.
Last year, as I finished my studies, my wife and I decided to come to the United States from Spain to live closer to our family, take advantage of improving my English, and have the opportunity to share my experiences with the younger athletes in BNJRT. We moved in May 2014, and settled in Superior, a small town close to Boulder, Colorado.
FS: How do you like coaching juniors?
CL: I sincerely appreciate the opportunities that I have been given, Head Coach, Adam St. Pierre, and BNJRT. It is a true pleasure and with great pride that I help coach the young talented athletes and I am involved in their improvement in a sport that is my true passion, and that with great perseverance has led me to open doors on both sides of the Atlantic.
FS: Why have you decided that Falun would be your last World Championships as a competitor, and what you hoping to do there? Who will help support you?
CL: I decided that Falun will be my last World Championship because is time to pass on my experiences and skills on to others in a new and exciting period of my life. My support staff will include my friend and Italian skiman and Head Coach Ivan Rastelli, as well as Martin Bianchi, former Olympic skier, and close friend Mattia Pazzola. I can only hope that my dedication and hard work throughout the years will serve to inspire all the young athletes to be all that they can be and fulfill their own dreams in the sport of cross-country skiing.
Alex Kochon (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.