While the majority of the members of the World Cup squad are based in either Vermont or Alaska during the summer, 28-year-old Kevin Bolger has continued his streak of seasons spent above the 60th north parallel. FasterSkier caught up with Bolger just as he was returning to the U.S. from a few months of training in Sweden.
Just before his return, Bolger had competed in the Alliansloppet rollerski races, taking place as part of the Alliansloppet Action Week running August 20-29th. The events throughout the week included roller-ski racing, mountain biking, and running. Racing took place in the town of Trollhättan, south-west of Stockholm, and drew entrants from sixteen countries. It is advertised as the world’s biggest roller-ski race and acts as an official ranking event for the popular Vasaloppet.
FasterSkier: Can you give us a brief description of what your summer has looked like, training-wise?
Kevin Bolger: Training-wise, I spent the first 2 months of the training year at altitude in Sun Valley, I then spent the last 2 months training in Falun, Sweden at sea level working on speed and high intensity training. I jumped in a few camps and some roller ski races, and now I’m back in the US where I plan to spend the last block of Fall preparation at altitude again in Park City and Sun Valley.
FS: You’ve been in Sweden for a couple months now and you’ve spent other summers training in Norway, so you have previous experience with summers in Scandinavia. Any similarities or differences this year?
KB: I didn’t really notice any big differences in terms of training. I thought things were very much the same, but of course it depends on who you are training with and how each individual trains. But generally speaking, I thought things were the same.
FS: Big rollerski festivals don’t really exist in the U.S. What is it like to compete in an event like the Alliansloppet? Are there any other rollerski races you’ve been able to compete in?
KB: I was able to compete in two big rollerski races while I was in Scandinavia. Blink, which is in Norway, and Alliansloppet, in Sweden. Both experiences were great. I think really they are show races — of course, you show up ready to test the shape and see how the training is going, but at the end of the day, they are really good training races. And more importantly, mentally, putting on a bib and going through the race motions again. I think that’s the biggest gain.
But it’s fun. The energy is good, people are excited to be racing again and the way the events are put on — it feels very professional, just like a World Cup. Even though there were some restrictions due to COVID it was really fun. I heard both races usually pull in 10’s of thousands of spectators.
FS: A highlight from training in Sweden this summer?
KB: The highlight was being able to chase Maja [Dahlqvist] around all summer. (Bolger and Dahlqvist are dating.) All in all, the whole time I spent over there was great, I can’t say there was one thing specifically that was a highlight. I was able to join the Swedish National team for a camp, which was very very nice of them to open up to me, and that was really cool to be able to do. Getting on snow in Torsby at the tunnel was also really great. I could go on and on — it was a great summer over there all around!
Growing up in Washington’s Methow Valley, Ella was immersed in skiing and the ski community from a young age. From early days bundled in the pulk, to learning to ski as soon as she could walk, to junior racing, a few seasons of collegiate racing, and then to coaching, she has experienced the ski world in many forms. Now, as a recent graduate from Dartmouth College, she finds herself living in France splitting her time between teaching English at a university in Lyon, avidly following ski racing (and now writing about it!) and adventuring in the outdoors as often as possible.