HomeCategory Interviews

Interviews with racers, coaches and other relevant individuals within the Nordic ski world.

This insight into training para nordic athletes comes from Martin Benes, head coach of U.S. Para Nordic skiing. Benes joined U.S. Para Nordic in August 2018 after spending five years as the nordic ski director and head coach at Sugar Bowl Academy in Norden, CA. Benes responded via. email following a team training camp in Canmore, Alberta.  FasterSkier: Before taking this job, did you have any background in or connections to para sports? What have...

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The Craftsbury Outdoor Center (COC) in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont has emerged as a premier year-round cross country ski training venue. The COC has also been a leader in embracing and promoting sustainability and environmental stewardships through their own day to day operations and educating their customers. They have invested in energy efficient buildings, a wood-burning central heating system, solar energy, and an abundant garden which allows them to grow much of their produce...

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We spoke with Chris Grover of the U.S. Ski Team on October 29, to get his thoughts on the new season. With a packed World Cup schedule and an off-year for major championship events, Grover and his team have myriad moving parts to make gel. He comes with a new title, that of Cross Country Program Director. Besides the title change, he remains the leader for the cross-country staff and athletes. Grover was at his...

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Statistically speaking, only 2% of people who enter a marathon will finish under three hours. The 2019 TCS New York City Marathon was a bit above average, with nearly 3% (1,563 of  53,508 runners) breaking the elusive three hour barrier. Yesterday, four familiar cross country skiers joined the speedy club of athletes who have achieved this result.  Brian Gregg was first across the line, stopping the clock at 2:44:30 (6:17 per mile average). Next came...

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Dan Cnossen is a badass. There. We said it. In the realm of para nordic sport, the 39-year-old medaled in each of the six biathlon and cross country events in which he competed during the 2018 Paralympic Games. At the 2019 World Championships, he Cnossen earned a silver medal in both the cross country sprint and middle distance races after a slew of podium finishes in World Cup events during the season. Prior to his athletic career,...

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27-year-old Kendall Gretsch is a well-decorated athlete.  A glance at the Illinois native’s bio shows three consecutive ITU Paratriathlon World Championship titles (2014 – 2016) plus a silver medal at this year’s event on September 1st in Lausanne, Switzerland. She is a five-time USA Paratriathlon national champion, four-time gold medalist at the PATCO/CAMTRI American Championships, and has four medals from ITU Paratriathlon World Cup events, two each of gold and silver. And that is just...

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Deciding how to handle the “college conflict”, as aptly phrased by Alayna Sonnesyn, is a daunting and somewhat mysterious prospect, particularly for athletes and families who are unfamiliar with the process. How does a junior athlete know that they are cut out for a collegiate program? NCAA or USCSA? What about a gap year? In this series, FasterSkier spoke with collegiate and junior coaches and athletes who have chosen different pathways to create a resource...

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One skier is twenty years old, the other thirty four. Mia Zutter, the younger of the duo, and Kristina Trygstad-Saari, the eldest, exemplify interdependence on the ski tracks. One guides for the other. They met in Canmore in 2018 at a Para World Cup that served as a qualifier for the PyeongChang Paralympics.  Zutter is a visually impaired skier. At the age of 12, having been a lifelong athlete immersed in gymnastics and figure skating,...

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National team naming for American cross-country skiing tends to roughly correspond to the overall rhythm of the training year. Team nominations come out in May; World Cup Period I starts are (at least these days) announced in June; American professional skiers then know where they stand early in the summer, and can plan out their training and racing seasons accordingly. So far, so good. A total of twenty athletes were named to the U.S. Cross-Country Ski...

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Just shy of thirty-years-old, Bozeman’s Erika Flowers stills revs her aerobic engine up and over the big hills. The news that she had won the 50-kilometer The Rut mountain running race at Big Sky Resort outside Bozeman, Montana was a surprise to some — primarily to Flowers herself. She pulled away from full-time ski training last winter, but the 9,951 feet of climbing during The Rut proved she’s a multi-sport talent. Even with her reduced...

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After appearing in ESPN’s Body Issue in June 2018, Jessie Diggins Diggins recommends utilizing resources from the “What to Say Initiative” launched by the WithAll Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on advancing eating disorder support and prevention. She explained that though a coach cannot cause an eating disorder in an athlete, research suggests that the language used by prominent adults in a young person’s life can greatly influence that persons’ body image, self-esteem, and likelihood...

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A glance at Emily Dreissigacker’s bio shows a slew of career highlights, including a 10th place finish in the sprint, a 9th place in the pursuit, and a 15th place in the mixed team relay at the 2019 Open European Championships in Minsk-Raubichi, Belarus. There is also a bit of Dreissigacker’s backstory — how both of her parents were Olympic rowers and how she also had outstanding results as a junior in rowing before shifting...

As the title suggests, catching up with Kendall Kramer is no small task. The 17-year-old (as of late June) caught the attention of the cross-country world this past winter with stunning and consistent performances at Lahti, Finland’s Junior World Ski Championships. Although we’re about to rattle off some 2018-2019 results, to be clear this is no athlete who defines themselves solely by the metric of finish rank. That will come across in the interview below. ...

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The “First Tracks” series highlights the pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting experiences of noteworthy athletes in cross-country skiing in various stages of their professional careers. The sharing of these experiences can benefit athletes in any stage of their career, whether they are an elite or recreational skier, by demonstrating that it is very possible to return to skiing, competition, and an active lifestyle with a growing family. The series will include the physical challenges of being...

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The “First Tracks” series highlights the pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting experiences of noteworthy athletes in cross-country skiing in various stages of their professional careers. The sharing of these experiences can benefit athletes in any stage of their career, whether they are an elite or recreational skier, by demonstrating that it is very possible to return to skiing, competition, and an active lifestyle with a growing family. The series will include the physical challenges of being...

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If you’ve ever set a lofty athletic goal, one that required full commitment, going all in and pulling out all of the stops to optimize your training, you may have searched for strategies to similarly optimize your recovery between sessions, getting you back on the ski trails feeling strong as quickly as possible. In this process, you may have found yourself perusing a seemingly endless array of devices, foods, and drinks, each promising to improve...

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Twenty-three-years-old, a mechanical engineering degree from Harvard in hand, and a love for cross-country skiing. Lots of opportunity. Connor Green, raised in Rochester, New York, deep into cross-country skiing, and a brain fixated on asking questions and solving problems through better engineering has brought his services to Biri. He is a product engineer with Madshus AS in Norway. Green was interviewed this past May. After hearing that Green worked for Madshus through a

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Singularly focused on winning and the commensurate hardware that validates that supremacy, 48-year-old Luke Bodensteiner will leave U.S. Ski & Snowboard after a 23 year run with the organization. For the last 12 years, Bodensteiner has served as the organization’s Chief of Sport. His job description placed him at the helm of  US Ski & Snowboard’s teams. Bodensteiner was a cross-country athlete at the University of Utah, a U.S. Ski Team member, and a two-time...

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  This is the second story following Kris Freeman as he builds towards his first Ironman triathlon in late July. You can read part 1 here.  *** They are not baby steps, but they are incremental steps. Retired elite cross-country skier Kris Freeman has been eyeing the Lake Placid Ironman triathlon on July 28. As part of his step by step race and training plan for the full Ironman, Freeman contested an Olympic distance tri...