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Matt Whitcomb

US Ski and Snowboard Coaches Symposium returns in Virtual Format

Convened for the first time since the pandemic, USSS’s biennial coaches National Coaches’ Symposium brings focus to US Skiing’s progress, and highlights the ever-evolving nature of the sport. Last held in 2019, the US Ski and Snowboard’s National Coaches’ Symposium has traditionally provided insight into program priorities and training philosophies of those coaches working directly with the US Ski Team. With in-person conventions having been interrupted by the Covid pandemic, this season’s re-convening of the...

Men at Work: U.S. Ski Team Takes on Torsby Ski Tunnel

If it’s August, it must be time to ski. Head Coach Matt Whitcomb and roughly half the men on the U.S. Ski Team, accompanied by a couple of well-known distaff guests, have spent the last week on snow in the Torsby Ski Tunnel in southwest Sweden. They raced in the nearby Inge Bråten Memorial rollerski race earlier today, and will compete in the Toppidrettsveka rollerski series in Norway starting on Thursday. It’s a multi-stage Scandinavian...

Trail to Gold Fellowship Wants to Put More Female Coaches on the World Cup

While it’s difficult to get exact numbers, the general distribution of coaches and service staff on the World Cup level is largely male dominated. The recently announced Trail to Gold Fellowship aims to help change that. Following the publication of the Trail to Gold book in November of 2021, members of the book committee began discussing how to use the net proceeds generated by book sales. After bouncing around various proposals, they settled on the...

Switching to Equal Distance and the “Trickle Down” Effect

In most sports, the question of whether men and women would compete on equal playing fields, so to speak, was answered long ago. While gender inequalities remain- a recent decision by the IOC to maintain the exclusion of Women’s Nordic Combined from the Olympics comes to mind- the sport of cross-country skiing will now be joining the list of those in which competition is equal for men and women. In a press release issued on...

Spring skiing: Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center hosts annual U.S. Ski Team camp

Believe it or not, it is mid-May. For those following a traditional cross-country calendar, this means the start of a new training year, building toward the 2022/2023 competition season. And, for many of the top American athletes, this means it’s time to make an annual pilgrimage to Bend, Oregon for the on-snow camp of the season at the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center. The weather gods were kind to the camp attendees, with nearly a foot...

Jouve takes back-to-back classic sprint wins, earning France the 2022 World Cup sprint globe; Ritchie leads for North America with Top-20

This World Cup coverage is made possible through the generous support of Marty and Kathy Hall and the A Hall Mark of Excellence Award.  To learn more about A Hall Mark of Excellence Award or to learn how you can support FasterSkier’s coverage please contact info@fasterskier.com. It’s the last hurrah, folks! The World Cup Finals kicked off in Falun, Sweden today with a classic sprint. While the season has been a wild ride for many reasons...

A full-circle moment, Johaug wins the 30 k classic at Holmenkollen, exactly 11 years after her first individual World Championship gold; Brennan leads the US in 7th

This World Cup coverage is made possible through the generous support of Marty and Kathy Hall and the A Hall Mark of Excellence Award.  To learn more about A Hall Mark of Excellence Award or to learn how you can support FasterSkier’s coverage please contact info@fasterskier.com.   Eleven years ago to the day, racing the 30-kilometer mass start skate, a 22-year-old Therese Johaug won her first individual World Championship gold medal in a breakout performance at...

Rosie Brennan won’t take home medals from Beijing. She still helped change U.S. cross-country skiing.

ZHANGJIAKOU, CHINA — Jessie Diggins’ silver medal, the best-ever individual Olympic finish by an American woman, is what most people will remember from Sunday’s Games-ending cross-country ski race. Here’s why you should remember Rosie Brennan, too. Brennan, 33, may lack Diggins’ magazine covers and national endorsement deals. But she performed at ever-so-close to the same level in Beijing, and came heartbreakingly close to the medals. First, there was Brennan’s fourth place in the Games-opening individual...

Bolshunov collects third gold medal while Krüger rebounds to bronze post-COVID; Patterson historic 8th place for USA

This World Cup coverage is made possible through the generous support of Marty and Kathy Hall and the A Hall Mark of Excellence Award.  To learn more about A Hall Mark of Excellence Award or to learn how you can support FasterSkier’s coverage please contact info@fasterskier.com. There were a number of stories to unpack during the men’s 50-kilometer mass start free, which was changed last minute to 28 k due to extreme weather conditions in Zhangjiakou....

Organizers cut Saturday’s Olympic ski marathon in half. Now they’re facing a backlash.

ZHANGJIAKOU, CHINA — The 28 kilometers that Alexander Bolshunov raced Saturday was only enough to take him just past the halfway point of the race he’d entered at the Winter Olympics. But Bolshunov, who competes for Russia, is still going home with the gold medal. That development is the result of a decision by race organizers to shorten the Olympics’ iconic 50-kilometer marathon event in the face of brutal wind and cold. But they’re now...

Ukraine tensions could scuttle World Cup finals in Russia, but FIS says no changes yet

ZHANGJIAKOU, CHN — International Ski Federation officials say they’re exploring backup options for season-ending races in Russia amid fears of a war between that country and Ukraine, though they’re still planning on holding the event as scheduled next month unless circumstances change. The final races of the top-level World Cup are scheduled to be held in Tyumen, Russia, in an oil-rich area in Siberia — about 1,000 miles away from the border with Ukraine, where American...

U.S. coaches face “impossibly hard” choices for women’s relay selection

ZHANGJIAKOU, CHINA — American cross-country ski coaches face a high-stakes dilemma over the next 24 hours as they choose which members of their deep, talented women’s team will race Saturday’s four-person relay at the Beijing Olympics. The U.S. women have a fair shot at a medal in the event, in which each woman skis a five-kilometer leg. But don’t envy the American coaches, who are still pondering which of six athletes will fill the last two...

Bolshunov has never tested positive. But the shadow of Sochi still hangs over his Olympic win.

ZHANGJIAKOU, CHINA — Russia, and its flag, are officially barred from the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, a ruling that stems from continuing doping violations following a massive, state-sponsored scandal at the 2014 Games in Sochi that included cross-country skiers. But other Russian cross-country skiers are still competing here, under the flag of their country’s Olympic committee. And on Sunday, in their first race of the Games, Russian men took the top two places. Star Alexander...

At the Olympics, women cross-country ski race half as far as men. But that could be changing.

Female American and Swedish cross-country skiers are pushing to race equal distances as men. But some of the sport’s star women remain unconvinced.  ZHIANGJIAKOU, CHINA — At the end of her first-ever competition at the Winter Olympics — a 15-kilometer effort that left her sprawled on the ground gasping for breath — Julia Kern contemplated the idea of racing twice as far. “I personally like the shorter distances,” said Kern, a rising American star. But,...

The Nationally Shared Workout: A Look at the U.S. Pace Project

Last year, in an effort to create a standardized workout that could be easily replicated and repeated, national team coaches presented the concept of the “U.S. Pace Project.” The concept is straightforward: a shift away from time-based intervals to distance-based, centered around repeated laps of a 5-kilometer course. This familiar distance is key. In a call in July, Matt Whitcomb, U.S. Ski Team Head Coach, and one of the creators of the project explained that:...

Nordic Nation: A 2021/22 Tour de Ski Debrief With Matt Whitcomb

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.

Book Review: Trail to Gold, the Journey of 53 Women Skiers

The rapidly approaching year of 2022, and the upcoming Beijing Olympics, will mark 50 years since women cross-country skiers first began competing in the Winter Games. With multiple World Cup podiums already achieved this season and strong chances for medals in February, the origins of the U.S. women’s program might not be at the forefront of one’s mind. We’ve become accustomed to seeing our women at the top of the results lists; with almost an...

Niskanen for the Win in Ruka Distance Opener; Nordiq Canada’s Antoine Cyr 11th

  This World Cup coverage is made possible through the generous support of Marty and Kathy Hall and the A Hall Mark of Excellence Award. To learn more about A Hall Mark of Excellence Award or to learn how you can support FasterSkier’s coverage please contact info@fasterskier.com. By Ryan Sederquist If Friday’s sprint signaled a potential changing of the guard, with 22-year old Alexander Terentev displacing Johannes Høsflot Klæbo atop the podium, the men’s 15-kilometer...

Karlsson — Not Johaug — Wins the Distance Opener in Ruka; Brennan in Sixth

This World Cup coverage is made possible through the generous support of Marty and Kathy Hall and the A Hall Mark of Excellence Award. To learn more about A Hall Mark of Excellence Award or to learn how you can support FasterSkier’s coverage please contact info@fasterskier.com. Aerial views of Ruka, Finland showed a venue coated in thick rime, a visual representation of the temperatures and conditions on the course. At nearly 66 degrees North, Ruka...