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HomeAuthor Nathaniel Herz

Nathaniel Herz is a reporter for FasterSkier, who also covers city government for the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska. You can follow him on twitter @nat_herz.
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You can say a lot about Marty Hall—and, in fact, most of it has probably already been said. The former coach of the American and Canadian national cross-country ski teams is an outspoken and prolific observer of the sport today, but that’s nothing new. He famously implied that the Russians were doping at the 1988 Olympic Games, and an Ottawa newspaper story upon his departure from the Canadian squad referred to him as the “opinionated...

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Mati Alaver is a legend in Estonia. Alaver, 58, is credited with building his country’s cross-country ski program from scratch following Estonia’s independence in 1991. Over the last two decades, its athletes have won more than 15 major medals at World Championships and Olympic Games—not bad for a country with a population of 1.3 million. Alaver is known not just as a knowledgeable and successful coach, but also as a pitchman who found the sponsor...

What do Vegard Ulvang, Bjørn Dæhlie, Marcus Hellner, Charlotte Kalla, Alex Harvey, and Devon Kershaw have in common? Aside from gold medals from the Olympic Games or World Championships? All of them, at one point or another, were coached by Inge Bråten, a fixture on the World Cup circuit who died last week at the age of 63. Bråten led his country’s national team from 1990 to 1994—a period in which Norway collected no fewer...

During Stage 7 of the Tour de Ski in Toblach, Italy, spectators standing at just the right spot on the race course could have witnessed something surprising enough to make them choke on their cappuccinos: two Swedish fans screaming at the top of their lungs for Kikkan Randall, the American cross-country ski racer. The scene made little sense, until one realized that the fans were the parents of Emil Jönsson, the star Swedish sprinter and...

VAL DI FIEMME, Italy – By the time most athletes arrived at the top of the Alpe Cermis on Sunday, in the final stage of the Tour de Ski, they were ready for a nap. Or a massage. Or a beer. Or all of the above. Not Kikkan Randall and Liz Stephen, though. No fewer than eight hours after crossing the finish line here, they were already competing in another race: a team sprint on...

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VAL DI FIEMME, Italy – Tour de Ski winners are all alike; every Tour de Ski loser is a loser in his own way. Petter Northug (NOR), Marcus Hellner (SWE), Devon Kershaw (CAN), Lukas Bauer (CZE)—each had his own problem that torpedoed his hopes for a Tour victory, whether it was bad skis, a broken pole, a weak discipline, or an uncooperative body. Dario Cologna, on the other hand, had nothing go wrong. The Swiss...

VAL DI FIEMME, Italy – If anyone wanted a preview of how next season’s World Championships here might unfold for American skier Kikkan Randall, they had to look no further than the women’s lead pack in Stage 8 of the Tour de Ski on Saturday. For half of the race, a 9 k mass start classic competition, Randall skied at the front with big names like Marit Bjoergen (NOR) and Justyna Kowalczyk (POL)—and even led...

VAL DI FIEMME, Italy – For Canadian Devon Kershaw, the toughest thing about the nine-stage Tour de Ski may not actually be physical pain of racing. It might, instead, be keeping his head screwed on straight. “I overanalyze a lot,” he said Saturday. “I’ve been pretty nervous the last few days, and just trying to tick [the stages] off one by one.” For the last two stages of the Tour, though, Kershaw has kept it...