October 2004 News Updates
Larsson and Bjoergen Win World Cup Openers
October 21 Update
Press Release -- The 19th Annual Alley Loop Nordic ski race not only is the highest-altitude Nordic marathon in the United States, it reflects the fun-spirited and hearty character of Crested Butte, Colorado. Starting at 8,800 feet above sea level, the racecourse runs through the streets and alleys of this historic mining town’s central business district, over footbridges and alongside residences before heading to trails along the scenic Slate River.
While Alley Loop has a serious side as a qualifier for the American Birkebeiner, North America’s largest cross-country ski marathon, locals host parties on their decks to watch elite racers from across the world and survey the costumes of less-serious competitors, ranging from a 5-year-old lion to a man with a monkey on his back. The race begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2005.
Alley Loop combines Crested Butte’s laid back atmosphere with the locals’ play-hard nature to create an event that embraces all abilities and ages competing on skate or classic skis. Course lengths of 1K, 3K, 5K, 10K, 21K, and 42K are offered, allowing all skill levels to participate. 5K and 10K snowshoe races round out the activities. Cash and prizes are awarded for creativity as well as for top finishers in all race divisions.
Hosted by the Crested Butte Nordic Council and sponsored by Coldwell Banker Bighorn Realty, the 300-plus Alley Loop racers are invited to size up the competition at a scouting event on Friday evening. Head-to-head sprint races are held along on Elk Avenue, the main thoroughfare in Crested Butte, as part of the 3rd Annual Winter Carnival.
During Winter Carnival, Crested Butte’s colorful historic business district is transformed into a winter playground for mini-golf, the Big Air ski jump contest, Beat the Dog race, the Alley Loop finish line and more. Outlandish events, spectacular prizes and terrific educational programs that cover everything from meteorology and avalanche survival training are part of this zany, truly Crested Butte event that benefits the Crested Butte Avalanche Center.
Also on tap during Winter Carnival are the Crested Butte Nordic Ski Team Races, with Rocky Mountain Division relay championships on Feb. 4 and Junior Olympic qualifying races on Feb. 5. The finish lines will be on Elk Avenue.
Past participants of the annual Alley Loop include Geo Bullock, perennial top finisher in the Grand Traverse; Pat O'Neill, winner of the Mt. Sneffels Half Loop Marathon; and Jon Brown, second place finisher in the Leadville 100 Nordic Race.
Interested individuals can register online at www.cbnordic.org or request a registration form by calling the Crested Butte Nordic Center at (970) 349-1707. Cost of the race includes the Friday night sprints, Saturday’s Alley Loop race, a goody bag, t-shirt, poster, a post-race fiesta and awards banquet. Entry fees range from $40 for the 42K marathon to $10 for the kids 1K race.
Press Release -- X Ski Films new movie American Skier will be released on NOVEMBER 1st on VHS and DVD!
The gnarly dudes of Nordic are back with their second action packed film. Their first movie Generation X Ski, released in 2002, changed the way people perceived cross-country skiing with its fast passed race footage, extreme tricks, and rocking soundtrack.
American Skier is an intense 45 min flick with tones of bonus footage and excitement. The film gives an up close look at the top level of cross country skiing in the world, including race footage from World Championships, the '04 world cup season, and much more. And since it’s an X Ski Film you can be certain that it will have some jaw dropping extreme Nordic, and tones of laughs.
“American Skier was created to help inspire our countries skiers and get fans excited for the upcoming Olympics” says producer and US Ski Team racer Andrew Newell
“The skiing footage in this film is miles ahead of our last movie. It’s made up of only top notch racing and gives you an up close look at the World Cups that you can’t get anywhere else. If you’re not on the edge of your seat during the entire flick you better check your pulse. The level of jumping has increased since the last film as well and there are some crazy tricks. The movie is great for getting people excited about cross country skiing, and it’s an awesome tool for looking at the technique of the best skiers in the world.”
We will be rebuilding our website by the end of Oct. so that consumers will be able to order online with credit cards for 20$ plus shipping. There will also be a big premier party at West Yellowstone Camp (date not yet confirmed).
Please contact Andrew Newell at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions.
Ralph Thornton from Choteau, Montana and Eagle River Nordic in Eagle River, Wisconsin have created a long-distance tag-team to present a new on-line presence providing a series of articles, discussions and comments on Nordic skiing. The entire new project will be hosted by Eagle River Nordic's web site. Says Ralph, "It's not quite a true web blog but will have weekly postings (more often as winter progresses) on topics I prepare or topics suggested by readers".
Check out Ralph's Nordic Web today and take a look (all you kids out there) at what XC used to be like not all that long ago in the first post.
October 21 Update
Swede Peter Larsson and Norway's Marit Bjoergen won the sprint finals at the Cross Country World Cup season-opener in Dusseldorf, Germany on Saturday. All races held on 100% artificial snow in a spectacular downtown setting.
For complete coverage including pictures from sites around the world, just hop over to the news.xcskiworld.com portal right now. For regular XC newshounds there is no easier or better way to see all the latest posts from the most popular XC racing sites. Bookmark the portal today!
October 21 Update
X Ski Films new movie American Skier will be released on November 1st on VHS and DVD!
The gnarly dudes of Nordic are back with their second action packed film. Their first movie Generation X Ski, released in 2002, changed the way people perceived cross-country skiing with its fast paced race footage, extreme tricks, and rocking soundtrack.
American Skier is an intense 45 min flick with tones of bonus footage and excitement. The film gives an up close look at the top level of cross country skiing in the world, including race footage from World Championships, the 04’ world cup season, and much more. And since it’s an X Ski Film you can be certain that it will have some jaw dropping extreme Nordic, and tones of laughs.
“American Skier was created to help inspire our countries skiers and get fans excited for the upcoming Olympics” says producer and US Ski Team racer Andrew Newell. “The skiing footage in this film is miles ahead of our last movie. It’s made up of only top notch racing and gives you an up close look at the World Cups that you can’t get anywhere else. If you’re not on the edge of your seat during the entire flick you better check your pulse”
“The level of jumping has increased since the last film as well and there are some crazy tricks. The movie is great for getting people excited about cross country skiing, and it’s an awesome tool for looking at the technique of the best skiers in the world.”
We will be rebuilding our website (www.xskifilms.com) by the end of October so that consumers will be able to order online with credit cards for 20$ plus shipping. There will also be a big premier party at West Yellowstone Camp (date not yet confirmed).
Please contact Andrew Newell at email@example.com if you have any questions, comments, or ideas. If you are interested in writing an article we can send you some pics as well.
The Winter Sports Show 2004 debuts at the Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall on November 12-14th, 2004. The diverse show offers winter enthusiasts the latest in ski and snowboard equipment, winter gear, lodging packages, and professional advice. Special show packages abound, with great deals on ski lift and lodging packages to all your popular ski resorts. Check out the great deals at the ski and snowboard swap where you can sell your used equipment and at the same time upgrade your gear with prices only seen at this show! Prepare yourself for the excitement of three thrilling days of this winter wonderland, guaranteed to be fun for the whole family.
Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall
Friday.......4:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Saturday...10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Sunday.....10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Admission -- Adults: $4.00, children ages 12 and under free (free when accompanied by an adult). Additional show information and schedule can be found on the show website: www.greatexpo.com
The show comes equipped with power packed raffle prizes, dynamic seminar speakers, and crowd-pleasing attractions
Bring in your old ski equipment, trade it in for newer gear...The ski and snowboard swap offers an excellent opportunity to sell your exising equipment while finding newer equipment marked as much as 70% Off. Professional staff from local retailers Fontana Sports Specialties, Chalet Ski & Patio, & Play-It-Again Sports will be on hand to assist with any equipment questions. Fontana Sports Specialties will provide an area to get your gear properly fitted, sharpened, and to assure that the equipment that you are purchasing is right for you.
This year’s features include industry leading seminar speaker Ron Bergin, editor of Cross Country Skier Magazine. Ron will be your guide to great cross country ski destinations across the U.S., and will highlight a segment on beautiful Northwest Wisconsin trails and scenery.
There are fabulous raffle prizes to be won. All attendees are automatically entered into a raffle drawing to win a choice of any Polaris 600 touring snowmobile or any Polaris 4-Wheel ATV; sponsored by Adams County Parks & Recreation. Bluegreen Resorts will offer the chance to win a vacation package to Universal Studios in sunny Orlando. Consumers can buy extra raffle tickets to enter for a chance to win ski lift passes from great ski resorts. All proceeds will be donated to the United Way of Dane County & United Way of North Rock County. For the kids....cast a line in the trout pond for the catch of the day.
October 14 Update
The XC web has yet another place to stop and visit these days. The www.skicountyusa.org website has been launched by the athletes of the Maine Winter Sports Center (MWSC). According to team spokesman Tim Weston, the new site will focus on XC performance-related news and journal-style updates written by the MWSC athletes.
The Maine Winter Sports Center is a non-profit organization and the website is also non-profit.
In the coming weeks, xcskiworld.com hopes to be able to add www.skicountyusa.org to the regularly-updated sites on the news.xcskiworld.com portal giving our regular XC news readers yet another daily reason to use the easiest and most convenient way to get your daily XC fix.
HAYWARD, Wis. -- Organizers of the American Birkebeiner cross-country ski race are deep into planning the 32nd annual event scheduled Saturday, February 26, 2005. In addition to the 51 kilometer Subaru American Birkebeiner and 23 kilometer Johnson Bank Kortelopet ski races, a new event, the 12K Prince Haakon 12 kilometer race sponsored by Johnson Bank, has been added to the three-day event.
The American Birkebeiner is North America's largest and most prestigious cross-country ski marathon. Spanning 51 kilometers from Cable to Hayward, the Birkie is part of the esteemed Worldloppet series of 14 international races, part of the International Ski Federation (FIS) Marathon Cup series of eight races, and part of the American Ski Marathon series of 11 races.
Birkie 2005 festivities begin on Thursday, February 24 and continue through Saturday, February 26. Ski events kick off with the Sons of Norway/Swiss Miss Barnebirkie, the largest children's cross-country skiing event in the nation, followed by the Salomon Elite Sprints, Century Tel Junior Birkie, Hayward Chamber of Commerce Citizen Sprints, Cheqtel Communications 10K, the Johnson Bank Prince Haakon 12K, and the 51K Subaru American Birkebeiner and 23K Johnson Bank Kortelopet.
"We are excited about the addition of the Prince Haakon 12K race to Birkie festivities," said Shirley Riedmann, Executive Director of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF). "The Board of Directors decided to cap the race at 200 participant so that we have a baseline from which we can order bibs, finisher pins, arrange for adequate busing, gate keeping, etc. The cap will help us blend in the 12K skiers with minimal disruption to the flow of the traditional Birkie skiers who are traversing the last leg of their competitive ski."
The Prince Haakon 12K will start at 1:30 p.m. at Mosquito Brook and finish on Main Street in Hayward. The 12K is an open-track, non-competitive event. There will be no awards or publication of official results in the Birch Scroll.
Reidmann said the Birkie will provide a ranked list of finishers to each of the 12K participants shortly after the race.
"Each participant crossing the Birkie finish line will receive a generic finisher pin to recognize their achievement in completing the race," she said. "Skiers can find the Prince Haakon 12K registration information online at birkie.com or contact the Birkie office at 715-634-5025 for more information. We expect the event to be a big draw and a huge success. Based on 2005 participation results, we will plan accordingly for 2006.
Riedmann encouraged those planning to ski the Prince Haakon 12K to get their entries in soon.
The 32nd American Birkebeiner is expected to attract 6,500 adult skiers, including Olympians, 1,000 children, and more than 15,000 spectators.
In addition to ski events for all ages and fitness levels, Birkie 2004 highlights include opening and closing ceremonies; health, nutrition, fitness, equipment and training seminars; ski expo and demonstrations; pasta feeds; and post-race parties and music.
For more information or to register for the 2005 Subaru American Birkebeiner, Johnson Bank Kortelopet, Johnson Bank Prince Haakon 12K, Salomon Elite Sprints, Hayward Chamber of Commerce Citizen Sprints, Century Tel Junior Birkie, Cheqtel Communications 10K, or the Sons of Norway/Swiss Miss Barnebirkie, call 715-634-5025, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or log on to www.birkie.com.
Birkie 2005 is sponsored by Subaru, Johnson Bank, Polartec, Murphy McGinnis Media and other businesses throughout the region and country.
Last year’s overall Nor/Am Series Champion and two time All American Dave Chamberlain has switched to Atomic skis for the upcoming winter. “The Atomics have all had a very good feel to them, a fast feel. It is this consistency among the skis, both skate and classic that made me choose Atomics for my race skis.”
“We are thrilled to have Dave as part of our Team,” stated International Race Director Peter Juric. “We know how tough the competition is in America’s Nor/Am Series and it is very impressive that the overall Champion chose to ski for us next year. Recruiting the Americans with the best potential for Olympic success is a very high priority for us. Dave is like many of the top Worldcup athletes who are switching over to Atomic. They want one sidecut for all conditions. Some of the other brands offer different sidecuts for varying track conditions and athletes do not like to alter their techniques for the different sidecuts. The top racers on the circuit like the consistency of one sidecut for all conditions.”
“The home office in Austria seems to be very happy about the Americans we have on board,” pointed out US Nordic Director Rick Halling. “The Nor/Am series is made up of shorter races in both techniques and Dave, as overall Champion, has shown that he’s the one to beat for shorter events. Patrick Weaver is also on our team and he was the American Ski Marathon Series overall Champion which proves he’s the top gun for the long distance events. Chris Cook produced some of America’s best results ever in the Europa Cup and it is always exciting to see a US skier do that well in Europe. We have all distances for both skate and classic covered with our men’s side. We are also looking forward to impressive results from the women we have on board. Wendy Wagner is healthy again and Aubrey Smith, normally a short race specialist, surprised everyone with her American Vasaloppet victory. We had a string of outstanding victories in the World Loppet as well as the Worldcup with the top Euros on Atomics. It was especially exciting to watch Anders Aukland be the first Norwegian in 33 years to win the Vasaloppet and we are proud he did it on our skis. It was these athletes, more than our reps, who were able to get many of the world’s best racers to switch over to Atomic for the coming season. It also didn’t hurt that we keep plenty of homemade beer and smoked Carp in our service trailer at the Worldcups.”
October 12 Update
The following is a translated and summarized article originally appearing on skidsport.com (Sweden). Translation and summary by Inge Scheve exclusively for xcskiworld.com.
The hunt for athletes who blood dope the old-fashioned way will intensify the coming seasons.
US cyclist Tyler Hamilton was recently under suspicion after his A test indicated he had injected himself with blood from another person to increase his oxygen uptake. FIS is currently researching new methods to catch skiers who inject their own blood. The anti-doping agencies are hoping to have the methods refined by the opening of the 2005 World Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany.
"Of course, we are hoping to have it nailed by then, but there are no guarantees. I am pretty sure the testing methods will be ready, but the question is whether the legal side is cleared by the World Championships in February," says FIS anti-doping expert Bengt Saltin to the Norwegian newspaper VG. With traditional blood doping, athletes put some of their own blood away well ahead of an event. Then, closer to the event, they re-inject their own blood with the effect that the body’s ability to absorb oxygen increases.
According to Bengt Saltin, anti-doping agents have observed a trend toward old-fashioned blood doping in cross-country skiing over the past few seasons.
The following is a translated and summarized article originally appearing on skidsport.com (Sweden). Translation and summary by Inge Scheve exclusively for xcskiworld.com.
Thomas Alsgaard will be coaching with the Swedish ski academy in Älvsbyn.
"We’re hoping this will be the vitamin injection we need, says academy coach Ulf Karlsson.
The ski academy in the Swedish town Älvsbyn is gearing up for its prominent guest. Thomas Alsgaard, who holds numerous world championship titles and more Olympic medals than most, is going to coach at the local ski academy, which trains high school-age skiers full-time. However, it is no long-term contract. The legendary skier will share racing and training advice with the students only for a few hours.
"We’re hoping this lecture and visit will be the vitamin injection our students need right now," says head coach Ulf Karlsson.
Aside from Ulf Karlsson, the coaching crew at Älvsbyn includes Sture Norén, who returns to the academy after several years as a coach with the Swedish national team.
By Inge Scheve exclusively for xcskiworld.com -- What has the potential to draw almost 1,200 outdoor enthusiasts indoors on an otherwise perfectly good Saturday in October? Featuring almost 50 vendors, organizations, institutions and clubs of local, regional and national scope, the second annual Active Winter Outdoor Expo in Bend, Oregon attracted about 1,200 visitors to the Central Oregon Community College gym complex Saturday.
A fresh dusting of white fluff on the Cascade Mountains greeted Central Oregon on Saturday morning, reminding young and old that winter is on its way. Some came to secure a screaming deal on winter gear from the Central Oregon Nordic Club’s equipment swap, while others arrived looking for lectures, demos, news from manufacturers, freebies and informal competitions.
“We did really well,” said Ruth Ann Clarke with the Bend Metro Park and Recreation District. “We had a lot of families who have just moved to Bend stop by our booth to get information on things they as adults and their kids can do here. They seemed to be really happy that we had a booth set up, otherwise they would never have known all the programs and activities we offer,” she continued.
“Our primary goal with the Expo was simply to get the Central Oregon active winter outdoor community excited and educated about the non-motorized, active winter outdoors,” said event organizer John Downing, head coach and Program Director of XC Oregon, a Bend-based cross-country ski racing team. “Having the event serve as a little fundraiser for our race team is great, but it is of secondary importance to the community service aspect,” he added. The event was just as much a community celebration of winter as it was a ski swap and a full-blown expo complete with lectures, clinics, equipment demos and entertainment focusing on non-motorized winter recreation, Downing explained, adding that the expo also incorporated the annual Central Oregon Nordic Club’s equipment swap.
When the inaugural winter expo opened its doors to the public last fall, Downing was hoping attendance would reach 500 and realistically expected about 300, he recalled. But more than 1,300 visitors attending the 2003 Expo event was beyond his wildest imagination, said Downing, who credited much of the success of the 2003 expo and Saturday’s event to the Central Oregon community involvement.
“First, we had tremendous support from businesses and organizations that believed in the concept right from the start,” Downing said about the success of the 2003 event. “Second, the active winter outdoor community is grossly underserved with this type of event. You can find dozens and dozens of Expo events for alpine, snowboarding, and snowmobiling throughout just the Northwest. But in all of Oregon, Washington, and Northern California, there is nothing else even remotely like what we are doing. The huge irony is that there are literally hundreds of thousands of people in the Northwest that are track XC skiing, snowshoeing, winter camping, backcountry skiing, telemark skiing, skijoring, dog sledding, etc. every single year,” Downing explained. He added that as the event grows, he expects to add more and new elements to the Expo.
“We want to keep adding more and more elements so that (the Expo) grows into a true pre-winter festival. Something along the lines of an Ullr Fest event that one can find throughout Scandinavia this time of year. We'd like the educational aspects to really take on a life of their own.”
Downing also hopes to partner with an athletic event to the day following the Expo, which would create a whole weekend active winter festival that has the potential to serve as a destination for outdoor enthusiasts beyond Central Oregon.
“On a bigger level, the ultimate measure the event’s success lies in how many people we can attract every year, and also how much the active winter outdoor community continues to grow in Central Oregon,” he said. “Full Sno-Parks and Nordic Centers are one indication as will be sales at the great shops we have in town, memberships in clubs, participation in events, and general awareness in the community,” Downing concluded.
October 7 Update
The following is a translated and summarized article by Håkan Degselius originally appearing on skidsport.com (Sweden). Translation and summary by Inge Scheve exclusively for xcskiworld.com.
Almost 28,000 skiers are already entered for events during the 2005 Vasaloppet Race Week.
"If the positive trend stays with us, we could very well reach 50,000 skiers," says Rolf Hammar, secretary general of Vasaloppet.
The interest for chasing the dream, the exhaustion and the adventure of the Vasalopppet is growing in Sweden and beyond. Entries for the week-long ski festival, which will take place from Feb 25 through March 3, 2005, are rolling in to the race registration centers in Mora and Sälen like never before.
"We are experiencing ski-fever! I clearly see a connection to people’s general attitude towards health and fitness. The Vasa events have become a natural season goal for many individuals. We see an increase in entries for every event except Tjejvasan, the all-women’s event. But by early September, we had 5,213 entries in that event too," a pleased Hammar says to Skidsport.com.
Öppet Spår represents the largest increase. About 4,500 skiers are entered for the Sunday and Monday events, which is 600 more than at the same time last year.
"Some of the increase in entries for Öppet Spår is a result of the original Vasaloppet having reached its max racer capacity already in early May, and that many people still want to train for the legendary 90-kilometer adventure," Hammar explains.
Even KortVasan, which covers the 30 kilometers from Oxberg to Mora, is experiencing an increase. By early September, more than 1,200 skiers are registered for this event, 358 more than at the same time last year.
Rolf Hammar feels his heart rate spike: "If we just get a nice winter with plenty of snow, we are surely going to have a record number of participants. We do, however, still have plenty of room for skiers in Öppet Spår, HalvVasan (45KM Classic), StafettVasan (90KM relay), SkejtVasan (35KM skate), KortVasan (30KM classic) och TjejVasan (30KM classic, women-only)," he concludes. The overall week -- Vasaloppsveckan 2004 -- had 47,500 registered participants.
The following is a translated and summarized article by STEIN ERIK KIRKEBØEN originally appearing in Aftenposten (Norway). Translation and summary by Inge Scheve exclusively for xcskiworld.com.
After years of focusing mostly on how to handle the skis, the Norwegian team wax techs are increasingly interested in the ski itself.
The wax techs are going back to school, developing new relationships with the ski manufacturers and increasing their focus on the technology of the ski. Norwegian wax crews are shaping a new offensive and shifting their focus. For years, the Norwegian elite cross-country community has been obsessed with what's under the ski. Specifically, they were obsessed with grinding the correct structure into the base. Norway dominated this area for eons, which explains some of the success in the early 1990s.
"Grind and structure is important, and we will continue to focus on this," says Terje Langli, head of the Norwegian national wax tech crew. "But we are realizing that the skis themselves are more important to performance than grind and wax. If a skier has the right ski, we can always nail the structure. We are still aiming to find the optimal grinds and structures, but we are starting to put more emphasis on the skis themselves," Langli explains.
Langli, along with Perry Olsson, has the overall responsibility for skis among the Norwegian national team skiers, while Johnny Berås is in charge of glide and structure. The trio has spent considerable time this fall visiting national manufacturers and import distributors looking for the best skis.