I am currently on my second of today’s three flights; this flight is from Newark, New Jersey to Chicago, Illinois. I took off this morning from Oslo, Norway after a casual morning. My plane didn’t leave until 11:30 a.m. so I got to sleep in and enjoy a nice breakfast before walking from my hotel to the airport. Thanks to Madshus for treating me so well! The Oslo airport was almost deserted. I didn’t wait in a single line from check-in to security to customs to boarding. I was psyched when I saw that the middle seat next to me was empty. As we were taxiing out to the runway I noticed the “engine check area”. It was basically half a crater made out of concrete. I haven’t seen anything similar at other airports.
Hanging out at the Madshus meetings in Beitostølen, Norway is awesome because the people who work for the company are exceptional; they are funny, energetic, passionate and entertaining. The meetings are fast and furious because there are different groups with different agendas. Some people are meeting about sales or marketing while others are testing products and working with us athletes.
At the end of the day, everybody comes together for a delicious dinner (which I posted about yesterday). After dinner last night we had a party. People who have been a part of the company for longer than I’ve been alive were telling great stories of all types of shenanigans. We had some snacks that seemed to fit the spirit of the evening.
It’s been an extremely busy couple of days in Boston, Massachusetts with Mark Doughty, the principal of my title sponsor Thoughtforms Builders, and his family. Yesterday morning Mark and I drove into downtown Boston early to give a framed World Cup bib to Phill Gross, a USSA Board of Trustee and a huge supporter of the U.S. Ski Team. The bib was a Thank You gift for Phill’s general support and his support of me and Mark and the whole Nordic community at the U.S. Ski Team’s Boston Ski Ball last fall.
Phill has an astounding view from his office.
When I arrived in Östersund, Sweden in February for my first World Cup after a long hiatus to recover from a broken fibula, I learned that our team’s partnership with the clothing company Bjørn Dæhlie was ending at the end of the season. In retrospect, the news probably should not have come as a surprise because Bjørn Dæhlie signed the Norwegian National Team last spring in a deal that is much more valuable than their deal with the U.S. Ski Team. Therefore, the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team was in the process of searching for a new clothing supplier and negotiating contracts.
The partnership between the U.S. Ski Team and Bjørn Dæhlie has existed for as long as I’ve been on the team, a total of seven years. Bjørn Dæhlie makes great base layers, race suits and outerwear. Overall, it was a great partnership, and my teammates and I loved our gear.
Many companies were discussed as possible replacements for the position of U.S. Ski Team clothing supplier. I wasn’t directly involved in negotiations and nor were my teammates, but we heard lots of names being thrown around. It wasn’t until the very end of the race season that we were told definitively who would be our new supplier. The answer, it turns out, is a joint partnership between Maine based L.L. Bean and the Swedish company Craft Sportswear. The reason there are two companies involved is that L.L. Bean does not make race suits and some other technical clothing for cross country skiing. In general, the partnership will work where Craft provides the race suits and base layers and L.L. Bean provides outerwear.
The news of our new suppliers was not immediately made public because we were still under contract with Bjørn Dæhlie. I did not know it was public until I saw the U.S. Ski Team press release about it today. The article was published on the last day of March, so I’m a little behind the times. You can see the press release here.
L.L. Bean and Craft sent representatives to Sun Valley, Idaho during the final race series of the year to do a photo shoot with us.
On Sunday Emilia and I finished up the three-day Level 1 Avalanche Education course in Estes Park, Colorado. The course was wonderful. It was fun, interesting, fast-paced, informative and very educational. We both were happy that we took it and felt that it was well worth the time and money.
Each day we started with a classroom session at the Rocky Mountain Conservancy.
My ski, pole and boot sponsor Madshus is running a contest to give away some of my Olympic gear from Sochi 2014. To enter, post a photo of training (either of you training or that you took while training) on Instagram. The pictures can depict anything from max effort to how you recover from your workouts. (I can imagine that if my coach Zach Caldwell were entering the contest on my behalf, he’d probably submit a picture of me sleeping on the couch.) Tag me (@hoffnoah) and Madshus (@madshus1906) in your picture and use the hashtag #trainlikehoff. I’ll pick my favorite pictures and regram them, and the pictures that receive the most likes will win!
Here’s the flyer for the contest: