If the new sponsor logos on this site are huge and clearly formatted incorrectly, please reset the cached version of this site in your browser’s settings to see the new formatting. I’m very excited with the new look and layout of the site. Thanks to Zach Caldwell of Caldwell Sport for coming up with the layout and Bryan Hoffman (no relation) at Spigot Design in Park City for building the new look!
It’s nice to be back on the World Cup! I remember how new and incredible everything about the World Cup seemed during my first period over here in fall of 2010. Now everything seems so normal and familiar. It is almost comforting to see the logos and sponsor banners, t.v. crews and wax buses.
I honestly don’t like racing outside of the World Cup, World Champs or the Olympics because I’m worried I’ll waste a great effort when it doesn’t count.
Even the venues are very familiar. We talk all year about the trudge from our apartments up the hill to meals here in Kuusamo. Here are Liz Stephen (near) and Kikkan Randall followed by Simi Hamilton (left) and Andy Newell making it look hard:
The walk back down isn’t much fun either because it’s so cold. I slipped on these steps and fell hard on my butt last night.
We saw two different groups of kids urban skiing around our apartments. They were not very good, but it looked like fun (and extremely painful when they crashed).
Apparently Justyna Kowalczyk, winner of the overall World Cup for ladies last season, is now her own country.
This is not a surprise as she has always been very independent of the Polish team, travelling separately with her own coach. It’s just funny to see her listed alongside the countries, Bode Miller style.
Randy Gibbs and Oleg Ragilo, our wax technicians who drove the cargo van 20+ hours from Norway, arrived late last night or early this morning. Huge thanks to those guys for doing the long snowy drive!
I’m sorry to see that, after all the pressure being applied by the national governing bodies, FIS, service teams and athletes, nothing has changed to eliminate communal air in the wax rooms here in Kuusamo. As has always been the case, the dividing walls between wax rooms do not reach to the ceiling meaning teams do not have control over their own air quality. This creates a dangerous environment for the athletes and coaches but especially the technicians who are in the wax room all day.
The Kuusamo stadium is huge.
Generally there are not a ton of fans at these races.
Kuusamo is the “Nordic Opening”, so the ski jumpers and Nordic Combined athletes are here also.
Basically the courses here are either straight up or straight down. Here’s the first huge hill on the course:
In the four years I’ve raced in Kuusamo, this is the first season there is enough natural snow to ski on the tourist trails. It was nice to be able to ski something new and something easier than the race course!
I got to see parts of the alpine area that I didn’t know existed.
The runs and chairlifts seem to run all the way, 360 degrees, around the Ruka hill.
That seems so odd to me, but I suppose it doesn’t matter whether you’re on the north or south face when the sun hardly gets above the horizon.
You can see the top of the ski jump in the following picture. The stadium is at the base of the jump and what I think of as the front of the alpine area is to the left of the jump:
My workout this morning was just an hour and a half easy classic ski. I’m feeling good but continuing to focus on recovery from last weekend’s races.