HomeCategory Nordic Nation

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At 24-years-old, Julia Kern is quickly becoming a seasoned veteran in her 7th year on the U.S. Ski Team. However, her career trajectory has been stepwise, not exponential.  After making breakthroughs during the 2019-20 season, including her first World Cup podium in a skate sprint in Planica, Slovenia, she faced injuries and setbacks heading into the following season in 2020-2021, leaving her walking away from that season feeling disappointed in both her World Cup and...

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The Olympic Dream.  Perhaps the opportunity to compete at the highest level of sport would not be as sought-after and revered were it not for the inherent scarcity of opportunities to achieve it. This year, only eight women and six men were able to represent the United States in cross-country skiing in Zhangjiakou, down from a total of twenty – 11 women, 9 men – who were selected for PyeongChang in 2018.  Among those who...

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Last June, U.S. Ski & Snowboard announced the hiring of Greta Anderson as Development Team Coach, supporting Cross Country Program Manager Bryan Fish in “all aspects of leadership and logistics surrounding the U.S. Development Pathway, including National Training Group camps, U.S. Nationals and Junior/U23 World Championships, Europa Cup, select SuperTour and other national-level competitions, as well as working on Coaches’ Education and Certification.” (Read an in-depth interview with Anderson following the announcement here.) As she...

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I think we can all agree that the last two years have been a wild ride. For those at the helm of the cross-country program at U.S. Ski & Snowboard, added layers of COVID safety precautions and expensive testing have increased the otherwise mounting demands of preparing for an Olympic Games. There have been numerous domestic and international competitions canceled, including a full season of SuperTour racing in 2020/2021, numerous World Cups canceled, and three...

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It’s likely that today’s guest needs no introduction. Over the last decade, she has steadily worked to become the most decorated American cross country skier in history. As she gained more recognition beyond the niche of cross country skiing, she began to use her platform to become an advocate for causes she felt passionately about, opening up about her own experience struggling with an eating disorder and working hard at recovery through the Emily Program,...

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Tucked deep into snowy valleys, the tiny iconic Colorado mountain towns of Aspen and Crested Butte are separated by a mere 40 miles by foot, but roughly 200 miles by car in the winter. Separating the two is the expanse of the rugged Elk Mountain range, which features six of Colorado’s 14’ers, peaks that reach above 14,000’.  Now meccas of outdoor recreation, the two towns were historically established as profitable coal and silver mining sites,...

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Though the FasterSkier team would select other highlights from the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games, one of the most read articles we produced featured the responses of members of the ski community to a story published on February 8th by the New York Times, which included the following quote: “In a sport that has so many women with massive shoulders and thighs, Diggins looks like a sprite in her racing suit, and it’s not clear exactly...

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In this episode, we’ve got Chad Salmela and Kikkan Randall on to discuss the experience of calling the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games, live from a booth in Stamford, CT. The duo worked as cross country analysts, alongside long-time NBC play-by-play announcer Steve Schlanger. While Chad is a veteran in the role, this was Kikkan’s first Olympics inside the booth. During the call, Kikkan and Chad field a variety of questions on their experience –...

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In this episode, we have Sydney Palmer-Leger, Sophia Laukli, and Novie McCabe. Each is a member of the U.S. Cross Country team, and they are also all teammates at the University of Utah (UU), where they are coached by Miles Havlick and Fredrik Landstedt.  Laukli and McCabe were recently named to the 2022 Olympic Team and are soon headed to Beijing, while Palmer-Leger will race in the RMISA collegiate circuit for the next few weeks...

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In this episode, we have Jake Adicoff and Sam Wood, calling in from Lillehammer as the duo races as athlete and guide at the Para World Championships. Jake is a visually impaired athlete from Sun Valley who grew up racing with the SVSEF cross country program and now trains with the Gold Team. He has raced at both the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, and the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, where he won a silver medal...

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In this episode, we have Matt Whitcomb back to debrief the 2021/22 Tour de Ski, including highs and lows, overcoming setbacks, and managing a circulating head cold. We also discuss the cancellation of the upcoming World Cup races in Les Rousses, FRA, covid safety in a critical window before the Olympics, and the racing happening in Soldier Hollow during the 2022 US Cross Country Championships. Thanks for listening.

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In this episode, we have Ben Ogden, Gus Schumacher, and JC Schoonmaker coming to us from Davos, SUI. These athletes are key members of the new generation of American men who have found success at the junior level internationally, and are now transitioning onto the World Cup as athletes to follow. In this conversation, we explore this transition from a variety of angles, along with goal setting, team dynamics, and navigating the challenges of competing...

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In this episode, we have U.S. Ski Team members Hannah Halvorsen and Hailey Swirbul along with development team coach Kate Barton. The original idea behind the conversation was to discuss a variety of challenges female athletes of all levels experience during their careers based on an infographic posted by the organization Voice in Sport, shown below.  As the conversation evolved, it became clear that this conversation will resonate with athletes of all genders, ages, and...

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In this episode, we have Tara Geraghty-Moats, a trailblazer in women’s nordic combined who made the switch this season to biathlon. As we discuss in this conversation, women’s nordic combined could be put on display as an example of gender inequity in sport. Despite the fact that men have competed in nordic combined at the Olympics since the first Winter Games in 1924 and the FIS has organized a men’s World Cup season since 1983,...

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In this episode, we have Jim Galanes to discuss some guiding training principles for masters athletes. If you enjoy the endurance athlete lifestyle, or are juggling a career and family, but still enjoy trying to get fitter and faster as in this fickle sport, this interview has plenty of exercise physiology insight to chew on.  Galanes may need no introduction — he’s been a noteworthy member of the cross country ski community for more than...

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  In this episode, we connect with US Ski Team Head Coach Matt Whitcomb following the US Ski Team and National Training Group camp in Park City. Whitcomb answers a variety of questions to provide insight into the upcoming season leading up to the 2022 Beijing Olympics.  A couple of notes:  Firstly, you’ll notice some crackling in the audio on our end. We’re working out the kinks. Thanks for your patience.  Also, if your interest...

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  In this episode, we discuss the topic of maternal mental health with Holly Brooks and Calisa Kastning. On Mother’s Day, the partners announced the launch of their passion project, Moms Matter Now with the aim of supporting and empowering women as they transition into motherhood.  For those unfamiliar with these names, Brooks is a two-time Olympian and U.S. Ski Team alumna who became a licensed professional counselor after retiring from professional skiing in 2016....

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In this episode, we bring Kris Freeman back to Nordic Nation. For those unfamiliar with Freeman, he skied in four Olympics from 2002 to 2014, placed fourth on two occasions at the World Championships in the 15 k classic, and stayed at the sharp end of American distance skiing until retiring in 2018. After leaving the ski realm, Freeman — now 40-years old — switched his focus to long distance triathlon and has now completed...

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In early July, the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation announced the launch of the Team Birkie professional racing team. The elite post-graduate training group would pull from the three primary midwestern clubs, the Loppet Foundation, Central Cross Country Skiing (or CXC), and the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation. While the midwest has a strong culture of cross country skiing with a breadth of strong youth and masters racing teams, it has been nearly a decade since the...

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As far as teams go on the cross-country World Cup, Great Britain arrives at the show with perhaps the smallest team roster and staff. Somehow, they often roar when considering the results. We know British Nordic from the sharp end skiing of Andrew Musgrave, and sprinters Andrew Young and James Clugnet.  Like all teams on the circuit, the human capital behind the Lycra-clad skiers make the travel, training, and race grind happen. In this episode...