HomeCategory Nordic Nation

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A slight reshuffling of positions at U.S. Ski and Snowboard and longtime coach Matt Whitcomb has a new title: Head Coach. Whitcomb held the title of World Cup Coach last season. As the pandemic took hold in mid-March here in the U.S., Whitcomb holed up at his cabin in rural Vermont for a two-week solo quarantine. We caught up with Whitcomb via phone on April 23 from his cabin. This was a broad ranging interview....

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If you’re an avid reader of The New York Times sports section, you’ve most likely read the work of writer-journalist Matt Futterman (50). Futterman is the Deputy Sports Editor at the NYT, a fan of nordic sports, and an avid runner who was slated to run the Boston Marathon this past Monday. Futterman’s love for endurance sports, running in particular, is evident as he peppers readers with in-depth running stories. He helped cover the recent...

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Many of the World Cup race photos featured on FasterSkier come from NordicFocus, a European bases photo agency. NordicFocus, as the name suggests, features images from the world of nordic sport: cross-country, biathlon, nordic combined, and ski jumping. If you have buzzed around the media center at any big cross-country event, it’s likely you have seen Federico Modica. Modica wears a mountain endurance-fit look as if he’s just descended from some alpine climb; there’s a veneer...

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We’ve all heard the phrase: “These are unprecedented times.” And it is true. What the world is facing during the Covid-19 pandemic is something that none of us have experienced before. We are all feeling it.  Uncertainty is ubiquitous and caused by a myriad of factors. We may be concerned about the health of ourselves and our families, or about the financial impacts of our country coming to a halt. We might be attempting to...

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This past fall, the Craftsbury Outdoor Center (COC) updated its wax use policy. The New England institution was one of the first and among the largest cross-country ski centers to implement a policy curbing the use of perfluorinated wax on its premises. The Craftsbury Outdoor Center supports values and practices that try to minimize its impact on the environment while still providing recreational opportunities for visitors. The Craftsbury Outdoor Center hopes to help lead the...

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Live, from Vermont, it was Ben Lustgarten of the Craftsbury Green Racing Project — we spoke to Ben about his recent retirement announcement from full-time training and racing at the elite level. Lustgarten’s name is synonymous with the SuperTour’s sharp end. He’s also known to throw down burly strength workouts. He qualified and raced in two World Championships and claimed a 30 k classic National Championship in 2017.   In this episode, we discuss the reasons...

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Independent of one another, Brian Gregg and Matt Liebsch are always to be feared as they line up for a ski race. Now in their mid-thirties, their lives have transitioned to other responsibilities that include partners, children, and full-time work. Yet, in the highly competitive world of elite-level ski racing, these two have maintained a healthy friendship and are fast and furious training partners. We could spend time noting their accomplishments on the ski tracks...

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In this episode, hosted by FasterSkier contributor Rachel Perkins, we dive into the issue of Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S). This condition was formerly known as the female athlete triad, which was described as inadequate energy intake, the loss of menstruation (amenorrhea), and decreased bone mineral density. The name was changed to include males, who are also affected, and to expand beyond the three symptoms originally included. Though not quite the same, the condition...

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In this episode, we connect with John Munger, Executive Director of the Loppet Foundation in Minneapolis and Garrott Kuzzy, former U.S. Ski Team member who grew up near Wirth Park. From impressions of Wirth back-in-the-day to exploring how the World Cup ended up in Minneapolis, we drill down on most (but not all) things Minneapolis World Cup. That event goes down on March, 17. We cover the cost of hosting, infrastructure demands, and how the pieces...

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If you’ve been following along with the global ski scene and wax, you know this: perfluorinated waxes have been a hot button topic. From issues with importing into the U.S., stories on potential health and environmental risk, and new “green” wax products coming on-line…it’s been hard to keep up with trends. The International Ski Federation announced last month that it would move towards a fluoro-free race series next year. That caught the surprise of many...

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  Devon Kershaw, for many years, was a go-to on the World Cup for Canada. He won a gold medal at the 2011 World Championship in the team sprint with Alex Harvey and finished second in the World Cup overall in 2012. He is accomplished. He is also a student of the sport. That was evident last season as he helped Eurosport with its television broadcast coverage of the 2019 World Championships. Watching Kershaw provide race...

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In this episode, we speak with now-retired Swedish skier Ida Ingemarsdotter. The thirty-four-year-old Ingemarsdotter became the head coach for the Swedish national development team this fall. She’ll be leading a crew of U23 and U20 skiers as they hope to transition to the senior national team.  For many years, Imgemarsdotter was a Swedish World Cup staple. She’s a two-time medalist at the Olympics and a down to earth Swede, as we learn about her recent...

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Back in 2015, prior to her first go at a World Championships, Rosie Brennan was asked this: What’s your biggest motivation while racing?.  “I am most motivated by wanting to show that my hard work was worth it, that I did everything I could to go as fast as I could,” Brennan replied at the time. She was twenty six years old then, and now at 30 years old, the Park City native grinds away,...

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In this episode, we connect with Max Cobb, the CEO of U.S. Biathlon. He also sits on the International Biathlon Union’s (IBU) Executive Board. When we spoke, he had just returned from the IBU’s “historic” Extraordinary Congress which took place from October 18th-20th, in Munich. The IBU has been rocked in the recent past by internal mismanagement and doping scandals. Rather than succumb to the inertia associated with systemic change, the IBU has reset and...

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Vegard Ulvang at fifty six years old remains an icon in Norway. With Olympic and Championship medals, a World Cup Overall title in 1990, he’s in the lineage of Norwegian skiing royalty. Away from the tracks, Ulvang began and then sold a profitable clothing company. He fills his time making documentaries and television features. He is also, as you’ll hear at the top of the interview, committed to living a life of exploration, calculated risk,...

As the Northern Hemisphere slowly tilts towards shorter days and colder temps … and hopefully snow… we spoke with Troy Taylor at U.S. Ski & Snowboard. Taylor’s official title is that of High Performace Director. What that means is he helps coordinate the multiple moving parts involving sport science for the portfolio of teams at U.S. Ski & Snowboard. Taylor has been in this role with U.S. Ski & Snowboard since 2015. He first worked for U.S....

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  On May 26, Maddie Phaneuf wrote a crisp and revealing blog post about her struggle with mental health issues after the 2018 Olympics. The blog post was titled Invisible Battles, and like many who suffer from a mental health crisis, her struggle was real but often difficult to discuss candidly. Phaneuf does a great service to the community by describing the symptoms she experienced and how she sought help from mental health professionals. Phaneuf...

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Kelsey Phinney brings to the sport of cross-country skiing a big-world view as she has rolled with challenges and fine-tuned her athletic performances. First things first: Phinney has become a voice for Parkinson’s Disease advocacy and education. She produced this great podcast episode for the Davis Phinney Foundation titled The Neuroscience of Parkinson’s — it’s part of a broader series from Phinney called The Parkinson’s Podcast.  Phinney’s father, himself a former professional cyclist who was diagnosed...

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“Everyday has been a new adventure,” were the words from the U.S. Ski Team’s (USST) Kevin Bolger as he summarized his first full-time season on the World Cup. At twenty-six-years-old, Bolger is a relatively new face on the team’s evolving crop of sprint skiers. He was re-nominated to the USST for a second consecutive year this past May. Bolger’s ski path took him to Sun Valley for two seasons as a post-graduate skier. He matured physically...

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He is proudly Alaskan and has resisted the temptation over the years to migrate elsewhere. We are talking about twenty-nine-year-old Reese Hanneman who has in fact migrated from his hometown of Fairbanks to the more southern maritime climate of Anchorage, Alaska. So the question has been, is Reese Hanneman retired? After many years on the SuperTour, winning five national titles, stints on the World Cup, and an Olympic team nomination last year, the answer to that question...