Day One on World Cup

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.

FIS Cross Country World Cup Banner

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.

Sponsor Banners in Kuusamo, Finland

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:

Liz Stephen Painfully Walking to Kuusamo Meals

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.

Kuusamo Outdoor Steps

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).

Urban Skiing in Ruka, Finland

Apparently Justyna Kowalczyk, winner of the overall World Cup for ladies last season, is now her own country.

Justyna Kowalczyk Personal Wax Room

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.

Justyna Kowalczyk Wax Room Next to Finland

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!

Cargo Van in Kuusamo, Finland

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.

Kuusamo Communal Air Wax Room

The Kuusamo stadium is huge.

Kuusamo Stadium Towards Mountain

Generally there are not a ton of fans at these races.

Kuusamo Stadium from Back

Kuusamo is the “Nordic Opening”, so the ski jumpers and Nordic Combined athletes are here also.

Kuusamo Ski Jumps

Basically the courses here are either straight up or straight down. Here’s the first huge hill on the course:

Kuusamo First Huge Hill

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!

Kuusamo Tourist Trail

I got to see parts of the alpine area that I didn’t know existed.

New Part of Kuusamo alpine Area

The runs and chairlifts seem to run all the way, 360 degrees, around the Ruka hill.

Backside Chairlift in Ruka

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.

Third Side of Ruka Alpine Area

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:

Kuusamo Ski Jump from Behind

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.

3 thoughts on “Day One on World Cup

  1. The new logo-“ridden” design looks great (on PC and Chrome, at least)!

    Thanks for the Kowalczyk pics, that’s pretty hilarious. Living in Norway, it’s hard not to get a negative impression of her due to the rather standoffish attitude she has towards the media at times (or, as it might very well be, the way the media here chooses to portray her). It’s pretty clear though that she doesn’t care too much about how she’s perceived. If nothing else, in this day and age, that’s sort of admirable.

    Best of luck in Kuusamo; I’ll be cheering you on from this side of the TV screen!

  2. I’m getting jealous seeing your pictures from Kuusamo with all the snow, well prepared XC tracks and of course you guys there, while I am sitting in my office, because I still have to work 🙂

    Good luck at the WC opening.

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