Erika Newell and Annie Hart Conversation

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I am currently in Beitostølen, Norway for the first races of the season. I just finished up a 10-day camp in Sjusjøen, Norway with Andy Newell, Erika Newell and Annie Hart. Today’s conversation is with Erika and Annie, two of the best female skiers in the U.S. who are not currently on the U.S. Ski Team. They both ski for the Stratton Mountain School Elite Team and primarily compete on the U.S. Super Tour circuit. Both have started a few World Cup races but neither has scored World Cup points. They both attended and graduated from Dartmouth College and have super interesting lives outside of skiing. In our conversation we touched on a wide array of topics including the long odds of Olympic qualifying for U.S. women racing domestically, sexism and sexual harassment, eating disorders in skiing, Annie’s political leanings and many other topics. Thanks for joining us!

Annie Hart and Erika Newell

2017-18 Fantasy Cross Country

I am very excited to announce that Noah Hoffman Fantasy Cross Country is back and live for the 2017-18 World Cup! We have made some big and exciting changes from last year.​

First, we have added Fantasy Dollars! You will still be able to select up to 8 men and 8 women for your team, but now you will also have to stay under your budget of $100,000 fantasy dollars. Each althlete has a value that changes each week. The athlete’s cost is based on their overall World Cup points from the 2016-17 season, their year-to-date points and the number of Fantasy teams that have selected them. Learn more on the How to Play page.

 Second, this year we have joined forces with FasterSkier.com to expand our marketing. Not only will our reach be bigger than ever before, we will also have more relevant content to help you pick your team. FasterSkier is also taking over management of the fantasy prizes and is asking sponsors to make financial contributions to help cover the site’s expenses. In return, fantasy now has a new domain: fantasy.fasterskier.com.

All of the great features of Fantasy from years past are back! We again have an amazing prize list from our generous sponsors. The Concept2 Team Challenge is back for North American teams and clubs, and the grand prize will again be a SkiErg from Concept2. And as always, you can create your own league to play against your friends.

I hope you will play fantasy to have a personal stake in the FIS Cross Country World Cup and to be inspired throughout the winter to get outside and do some skiing of your own! Get started here.

Thanks as always for following along and for your support!​

Dexter Paine Conversation

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I’m currently in Sjusjøen, Norway, preparing for the opening cross country World Cup races, which take place in two weeks, Thanksgiving weekend, in Kuusamo, Finland.

My conversation today is with Dexter Paine, the chair of the board of U.S. Ski and Snowboard (USSA). Dexter also serves as a vice president and council member of the International Ski Federation (FIS). For his day job, he is a founding partner and chair at the private equity firm Paine Schwartz Partners, LLC which focuses on sustainable food chain investing and agriculture. He also serves as a manager of ACS Media Income Fund. Previously Dexter served as the chair of the board at Holderness School and was a member of the international board of directors of Right to Play.

I caught Dexter via Skype at his office in midtown Manhattan. This is the second conversation that I’ve recorded remotely, and the sound quality is better than my first attempt, though not perfect. Also, Dexter requested, and I provided to him, the questions for this interview in advance. Enjoy!

Dexter Paine—FIS

Billy Demong Conversation

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A conversation with Nordic Combined Olympic Champion Billy Demong. Billy became the first and only American to win an Olympic Gold Medal in a Nordic sport when he won the 10 Kilometer Large Hill competition in Vancouver 2010. He competed in five Olympics: Nagano, Salt Lake City, Torino, Vancouver and Sochi. Billy is now the head of USA Nordic Sport, a new organization that works to further Nordic Combined and Ski Jumping in the U.S.

Billy Demong with his Olympic Gold Medal

Tom Kelly Conversation

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A conversation today with Tom Kelly, the vice president of communications at U.S. Ski and Snowboard (USSA). Tom is preparing to depart USSA in June after 32 years. He also serves as the chair of the International Ski Federation PR and Mass Media Committee, the chair of the board of the Alf Engen Ski Museum and the chair of the board of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. Because of Tom’s long history in the sport, I started by asking him to tell me about the evolution of the sport in this country. We then got into the system for managing athletes after they win Olympic medals, which I found very interesting.

Tom Kelly—Photo: Salt Lake Magazine

Max Cobb Conversation

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A couple of days ago I had a chance opportunity to talk to Max Cobb, the President and CEO of the U.S. Biathlon Association or USBA. Max also serves as the Vice-President for Sport of the International Biathlon Union or IBU. Because I did not know I would be talking to Max, I did not prepare for this conversation. However, USBA has been a leader among winter sports in urging swift and decisive action against the Russian Federation for the systematic doping outlined in the McLaren report. Therefore, I decided to focus on that topic for the 10 minutes I had with Max.

Max Cobb—Photo from IBU

Luke Bodensteiner Conversation

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A conversation with Luke Bodensteiner, the Executive Vice President of Athletics at U.S. Ski and Snowboard. I’ve known Luke for over a decade, since before I was on the U.S. Ski Team. Before joining U.S. Ski and Snowboard, he cross country skied himself for the University of Utah and at the 1992 and ’94 Olympics. At Utah he won two individual NCAA titles and one team title and he is a 3-time U.S. National Champion. He joined the administration at U.S. Ski and Snowboard in 1996 and became the cross country manager in ’97. In 2001 he took control of Nordic Combined and ski jumping as well when he became the Nordic Director. He was promoted to his current position, Director of Athletics, in 2008. Luke has also authored a book, titled Endless Winter, about his time racing internationally. This was one of my favorite conversations and I hope you enjoy it as well.

Luke Bodensteiner

Robert Lazzaroni Conversation

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A conversation with Robert Lazzaroni, the Nordic Domestic Program Director at U.S. Ski and Snowboard (USSA). USSA is the National Federation for Olympic skiing and snowboarding, including Alpine Skiing, Nordic Sports, Freestyle Skiing, Freeskiing and Snowbaording. Before coming to U.S. Ski and Snowboard, Robert spent 17 years as the Nordic Product Manager at Rossignol. He also served as the Manager of Nordic Programs for the Utah Olympic Park which includes the Park City Nordic Ski Club.

Robert Lazzaroni—FasterSkier.com

Tiger Shaw Conversation

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A conversation with Tiger Shaw, the President and CEO of U.S. Ski and Snowboard (USSA). USSA is the National Federation for Olympic skiing and snowboarding, including Alpine Skiing, Nordic Sports, Freestyle Skiing, Freeskiing and Snowbaording. Tiger competed in Alpine skiing in the 1984 and ‘88 Olympics. He grew up in Stowe, Vermont and went to Dartmouth College. He came to U.S. Ski and Snowboard from Global Rescue in the spring of 2014.

Tiger Shaw— Photo: U.S. Ski and Snowboard

Brayton Osgood Conversation

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A conversation with Brayton Osgood, the Men’s Cross Country Skiing Head Coach at Dartmouth College. Brayton is is one of my best friends and this conversation begins a little more casually than some of the others. Brayton graduated from Dartmouth in 2003 with a degree in mathematics. He was the captain of the Dartmouth Ski Team and a 2-time NCAA All-American. After college, he skied professionally for many years. He represented the U.S. at the Under-23 World Championships and at the World Cup Races in Whistler 2009. During his career he won three Super Tour Races. While skiing, he worked as a programmer for Amp Sports. After his ski career he was an assistant coach for Ruff Patterson, his predecessor at Dartmouth, and then he got a Masters in Accounting and Business Administration from Northeastern University.

Brayton Osgood–Image from Dartmouth College