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Appeals Committee Reinstates Four Norwegian Relay Teams from National Championships

After the national championship relay in Tromsø, 15 men’s teams were slapped with three-minute penalties for skating in the classic portion of the race. The race jury published video of the technique infractions and said that they were aiming to be strict in enforcing the rules on classic technique.

Four teams appealed the decision, and the Appeals Committee recently agreed with them, saying that since there was no classic track on the section of the course in question, the skiers were allowed to push off of their skis instead of double-poling. Thus the time penalties were removed for those four teams.

The decision is available (in Norwegian) here.

According to John Aalberg, who was the Technical Delegate for the competitions and had been part of the six-member group who decided to penalize the 15 teams, the decision not to set tracks had been because on a steep uphill, the tracks would have been washed out immediately during warmup as skiers went up the hill using herringbone technique.

The solution that he and other technical experts have come to? Set tracks, even if they get washed out.

“The basic reason is that the current rules (according to the attorneys reviewing the appeals) say that ‘turning technique’ (basically skating with one leg) is allowed where there is no track set – this means also in uphills,” Aalberg wrote in an email to FasterSkier. “Our jury did not have this understanding of the rules and defined the ‘skating’ we observed in the uphill as wrong classical technique (in an uphill). The solution (until the rules are adjusted) is to set a track also in herringbone hills (and make sure it is marked as such).”

The skating by some skiers seemed more blatant than others, and it does not seem that the appeals committee took this into consideration. You can view the video here and check for yourself: the teams which successfully appealed were Heming (bib 12), Kjelsås (bib 5), Rindal (bib 22), and Varden Meråker 2 (bib 32).

Rottefella Files Suit Against Amer Sport, Claims Illegal Copyright of NNN System

The binding wars continue. As noted in a FasterSkier article on on Dec. 31, Amer Sports, the holding company for Atomic and Salomon, plans to release NNN-compatible boots and bindings using what they are calling the Prolink system. Ski-lines.com linked to an article on Jan. 6, originally posted on e24.no, explaining that Rottefella is filing suit against Amer Sport. Rottefella is the original patent holder of the NNN system and the more modern NIS system. In Ski-Lines.com’s translation of the article, which was originally written in Norwegian, they claim Rottefella believes the Prolink system, “is illegally copying Rottefella, who owns the NNN binding system, which includes everything from the tread of boots to the mounting plate on the skis.” E24 reports that Rottefella’s lawyer, Halvor Haug Mans, says Amer Sports is violating intellectual property rights and a Marketing Act, “against copied products.” According to E24, Rottefella, in its complaint, has given Amer…

Biathlon WC to Ruhpolding; European Snow Woes Continue, Tour de Ski Still On

* With more than ten days before the World Cup was set to arrive, organizers in Oberhof, Germany, knew that they wouldn’t have enough snow to hold the biathlon competitions in early January. On December 22 they canceled their World Cup, traditionally the first stop of the new year each season. Ruhpolding, Germany, to the southwest has stepped up and will host the fourth weekend of World Cup racing as well as their originally-scheduled hosting duties for the fifth weekend. World Cup 4 will run from January 8-10 and World Cup 5 from January 13-17. * The FIS Tour de Ski looks set to go off as planned, beginning in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, on January 1-3. There’s enough snow on the race trails and alpine resorts but not much elsewhere down in the valley. The Crans-Montana resort a few hours away had no snow on Christmas for just the sixth time since…

Dec. 22 Roundup: Last Day to Win TDS Tix; Biathletes Spread Holiday Cheer

– Today is the last day to enter for a chance to see the Tour de Ski in person. Adidas will award one lucky individual a trip to Lenzerheide, Switzerland, to watch the Tour de Ski races on-site, starting with the men’s 30 k and women’s 15 k classic mass start on Jan 2. To enter, participants must simply enter their contact information here. – And Adidas isn’t stopping the contests there: Adidas and Rossignol are sponsoring a contest for the chance to win a full ski kit from French skier, Martin Fourcade. The gear includes a long sleeve T-shirt, pants, a pair of Rossignol ski boots, and Rossignol skis. – US Biathlon’s Lowell Bailey and Clare Egan, accompanied by France’s Jean-Guillaume Béatrix, harmonized for an IBU Christmas video, with Egan leading the vocals for two Christmas songs. – Team United Bakeries spreads some holiday cheer during the holiday season in a unique way. Dressed in Santa and Yeti costumes Team United Bakeries hit the trails to “scare” the competition, and dole out…

Dec. 11 Roundup: Johaug in Hot Water Over Pole Straps; Relays Need More Women

– When almost twice as many men’s relay teams as women’s teams competed on Sunday, Dec. 6, at the Cross Country World Cup in Lillehammer, Norway, the International Ski Federation (FIS) feels something needs to change. That change may come in the form of mixed relays, which would not only allow more women to participate in the relay races, but more nations as well. – In a competition for kilometers, FIS has launched a challenge to see which country can ski the most during the first 10 days of January. Officially called the “FIS Tour de Ski Challenge 2016 Powered by Polar,” cross-country skiers of all levels are invited to track their own and others’ kilometers on skis via http://fistourdeski2016.polar.com while using a Polar Flow account and compatible GPS product. – According to Skisport.ru, Russian athlete and 2015 winner of the Eastern Europe Continental Cup, Andrew Parfenov was not allowed to enter in the…

Noah Hoffman Launches Fantasy League, Trading Closes Nov. 26

Race fans looking for the added incentive of physical prizes have a virtual chance to dominate this winter’s cross-country World Cup season, with the recent relaunch of U.S. Ski Team member Noah Hoffman’s Fantasy Cross Country League. A project Hoffman debuted last year, “Noah Hoffman Fantasy Cross Country” is aimed at gaining a greater following and support for nordic skiing at the international level. The purpose of the league is to collect the most World Cup points by selecting the best team of athletes for each weekend and tour throughout the season. To join, click this link, create an account and pick your team. The first series of trading closes Nov. 26, 8 p.m. Eastern. Rules: – One account per person; no aliases allowed. Each league participant gets a total of 16 skiers for their league team: eight women, eight men. Trades may be made until 8 p.m. Eastern time the night before…

Last Day of WADA Meetings: Russia, Ukraine Declared Noncompliant (Updating)

Note: We’ll try to update this post as the day progresses. The Compliance Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has declared RUSADA, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, noncompliant with the WADA Code. WADA Director General David Howman told the assembly that in countries which are deemed noncompliant, WADA itself will work with other relevant bodies to make sure that athletes are tested for doping violations. He confirmed that the country itself would be on the hook for the expenses of such a plan. Besides RUSADA, the committee deemed Ukraine, Andorra, Israel, and Argentina noncompliant, and put Belgium, Brazil, France, Greece, Mexico, and Spain on a “watch list”. Those on the watch list must come into full compliance by March 18th, 2016. Ukraine was reportedly deemed noncompliant for using a non accredited laboratory. Even athletes from those countries already deemed noncompliant will see no effects of the ruling on their ability to…

Nov. 14 Roundup: EU Fluoro Ban Clarified; Harvey and Newell Named Most Beautiful

– “Take it easy, both Birkebeiners and Northug,” Adressa.no began in an article about the European Union banning fluorinated wax. Earlier this week, several media outlets reported the EU would eventually ban such products, which has been the magic behind the fastest, best-gliding skis on the international race circuit. But Adressa stated such reports were “greatly exaggerated.” Currently, the EU doesn’t have any restrictions on fluorinated compounds in wax, but PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) is a different story. Norway already bans the use of PFOA in consumer products such as clothing, and pots and pans, which benefit from the water- and dirt-resistant properties of PFOA. Bottom line: Norway’s leading wax manufacturer, Swix will have to make some tweaks to eliminate PFOA from certain products. “We have long known that this could come and are well on our way to solving this problem,” Swix Sport CEO Ulf Bjerknes said, adding that the company will work until it develops an equally…

FS Live in Geneva: Follow WADA’s Announcements on Russia via Twitter

GENEVA — Members from all across the sporting world are watching this Swiss city of just under 200,000 closely today, as a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) panel is set to announce its first findings from an investigation into doping in Russia. The investigation was spurred by documentaries produced by German journalist Hajo Seppelt. In the first, he talked to former Russian track and field athletes and found that not only was doping widespread within their federation, but that it was covered up. A second investigation found that positive doping tests by not only by Russians, but also possibly by Kenyans and others were suppressed and that many medalists at World Championships and Olympics had highly abnormal blood profiles which suggested doping. More recently, the outgoing head of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Lamine Diack, has been accused of taking bribe money from Russians in order to allow doping athletes…

Nov. 7 Roundup: Beito is a Go; Saarinen Preggo; USBA Names Team

– Late this week, organizers of the International Ski Federation (FIS) season-opening races in Beitostølen, Norway, announced that the races would be run as scheduled Nov. 13-15, despite recently warm temperatures. The races will be run as scheduled — with 10/15-kilometer classic races on Nov. 13, 10/15 k freestyle races on Nov. 14, and a classic sprint on Nov. 15 — but the race course was shortened from 5 kilometers to 3.75 k. * – Clare Egan and Sean Doherty were recently named to the US Biathlon team for World Cups 1, 2 and 3, with the International Biathlon Union (IBU) season starting Nov. 29 in Östersund, Sweden. The US Biathlon (USBA) team recently wrapped up a two-week training camp in Utah and made the final selections for its early World Cup team. “I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to compete as part of Team USA on the World Cup again…