May 16th, 2013
– How much is Petter Northug worth to a private investor? According to Coop, a European supermarket chain, 15 million a year. Shortly after the 27-year-old Norwegian world champion announced his departure from the national team on Wednesday, VG reporters contacted the CEO of Coop Trading Norway, Svein Fanebust.
“I have tonight been contacted by Northug team,” he said, according to a translation. “Coop continues talks with Northug with a view to reaching an agreement. The goal is for us to get him into our community.”
But Northug’s not settling just yet.
“We have a dialogue with existing and potential sponsors,” Northug’s investment manager Are Langås said. “It is of course very interesting to chat with Coop.”
– Loyalty-schmoyalty. Before you get upset about Northug’s decision to split from the Norwegian Ski Federation, consider these words from Therese Johaug’s manager, Jørn Ernst.
“It’s definitely exciting to see how this is for Northug,” Ernst told NRK, according to a translation. “The most important thing is that this gives Northug sporting success. At the same time there is the likely that there will be huge amounts of money on the table from the sponsors that will help his team.
“Therese would have earned big money if she went out of the national team,” he added. “But money is the last thing she thinks of.”
Really? Really, he insists.
“Therese is very clear that it is not the way to go. She has no plans to invest alone, and it has never been discussed,” he said. “Therese thrives very well in the national team. They are a tight group, and she needs the good environment to perform. Northug is completely different. He is in a unique position.”
– Earlier this month, the International Ski Federation (FIS) Organizing Committee met to review the 2013 World Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy, and plan for the 2015 championships in Falun, Sweden.
According to FIS News, representatives were most impressed by Italy’s ability to spread the championships across three competition venues plus a downtown-based media center and ceremony stage. Organizers reportedly “succeeded in creating a true festival and spirit” and notably attracted 20 percent of residents to volunteer or contribute.
Looking ahead to Falun, preparations are generally on schedule, especially with marketing and volunteers, but the controversy surrounding the cross-country course has yet to be resolved. In response, organizers expanded its group of experts to include FIS representatives and Swedish national team athletes. The ski jumps could also use some fine tuning. The Coordination Group encouraged organizers to put plastic mats on both hills – not just the large hill – to allow for year-round use of the facility. They also discussed installing wind protection.
May 13th, 2013
Team announcement season continues; on Monday Miles Havlick, two-time NCAA Champion at the University of Utah, decided to ski for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation in 2013-2014. The 23-year-old from Boulder, Colo., fielded a competing offer from Ski & Snowboard Club Vail/Team HomeGrown in Vail, Colo., but Havlick says SVSEF will be a return to the familiar. He took a post-graduate year with the program before going to UU and looks forward to returning to Sun Valley, Idaho, in August after he finishes two final classes in Salt Lake City this summer.
“It was really a tough decision,” Havlick said. “Both teams are obviously top-notch and have a lot of momentum and great things going for them. It’s just — Sun Valley is a place I love to be. I go up there every summer for a few weeks and I skied for them before college, so it’s something familiar and I think, hopefully, it’ll help me take the next step with my skiing as well.”
In addition to winning the 15 k mass start at NCAA Championships for two straight years, Havlick was eighth in the 30 k classic at U.S. Nationals in January and won six Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association (RMISA) races during his senior season with the Utes.
May 7th, 2013
The Stratton Mountain School (SMS) T2 team announced its 2013-2014 roster on Monday evening and there are two notable additions to the group. Joining returning skiers Jessie Diggins, Sophie Caldwell, Erika Flowers, Andy Newell, Eric Packer, and Skyler Davis are Simi Hamilton, a U.S. Ski Team member formerly of Sun Valley’s elite team, and Annie Pokorny, 20-year-old former Middlebury College skier who recently completed her sophomore season.
“Simi…brings an impressive results resume and exactly the team first attitude our group revolves around,” reads the SMS T2 announcement. “Annie Pokorny…was a dominant Eastern collegiate skier this past year. She will join and add to a tight knit SMST2 women’s team.”
SMS T2 wrapped up its inaugural season this spring and all six original athletes are returning next fall along with head coach Gus Kaeding, bringing its full-time athlete count up to eight going into the Olympic year with four national team members.
March 27th, 2013
Wednesday afternoon, a day and a half after the Andrus Veerpalu decision was delivered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the World Anti-Doping Agency finally posted a statement on their website concerning the case, which could be considered a rebuke to WADA for not following sound science in developing a guideline to separate positive and negative findings. The statement is brief and does not address any of the concerns raised by CAS:
“WADA is disappointed with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) decision on the Andrus Veerpalu case.
It is of course pleasing and important that CAS has accepted the reliability of the hGH test method. However, we are concerned at the conclusion reached by CAS about the Decision Limits applied for hGH. This hGH test was developed with leading experts in the hGH field.
We received the court’s reasoning yesterday, and will not comment more specifically until we thoroughly analyze the findings and its consequences.”
March 26th, 2013
More from the department of skiers being really good at video editing: SMS T2 skier Eric Packer produced this short clip on Tuesday recapping the U.S. OPA Cup Finals trip to Toblach, Italy, this season. Give it a watch.
March 21st, 2013
Arendz ends dream season with three IPC World Championship medals, four IPC World Cup podiums
SOCHI, Russia — Mark Arendz put the finishing touches to a memorable season by locking up the overall IPC World Cup biathlon title after winning the bronze medal in the men’s 15 kilometre biathlon race in Sochi, Russia on Thursday.
Arendz, of Springton, P.E.I., took advantage of a stellar day on the range where the 21 year old missed just one target in four rounds of shooting to clock a time of 48:48.3 for third spot.
“It was a great race for me. It was so slow that I really had to focus on my technique and shooting. I felt I was more comfortable on the range today then yesterday [where he placed fifth],” said Arendz. “The one miss took me out of second, but I’m very pleased with how the day went. It has been a great opportunity to ski at the Laura venue in anticipation for next year’s Paralympic Games.”
Norway’s Nils Erik Ulset fired his way to the gold medal with one miss and a time of 45:53.0. Grygorii Vovchynskyi, of the Ukraine, had one miss of his own, but celebrated the silver with a time of 48:09.3.
The bronze-medal finish caps off a strong season for Arendz where he captured his first career IPC Biathlon World Cup Crystal Globe. The 2010 Paralympian skied his way to the podium four times on the IPC World Cup, in addition to racking up three World Championship medals including his first victory at the worlds.
“It has been a great season. I had some tough races and results, but I’m very satisfied that I was able to stay consistent all year,” said Arendz. “That consistency paid off. After finishing second overall the last two years, I get to go home with the overall title and the Crystal Globe. This is a huge boost of confidence for me.”
Daily reports of all the action at the IPC World Cup Finals from Sochi are published at www.ipc-nordicskiing.org.
The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games will take place between March 7-16, and are set to feature 700 athletes from 45 countries. Athletes will compete in five sports – alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling. Para- snowboard will make its Games debut as part of the alpine skiing programme.
Cross Country Canada is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada, which is the nation’s optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually. Its 55,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those on Canada’s National Ski Teams and Para-Nordic Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Haywood Securities, AltaGas, Statoil and Canadian Pacific – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Own the Podium and B2ten, Cross Country Canada develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on Cross Country Canada, please visit us at www.cccski.comNo comments
March 18th, 2013
Sixteen men and women were invited to an exhibition 100 m sprint in Oslo, Norway, on Monday to try to set new on-snow 100 m records in front of thousands of ski fans. Invitees included Petter Northug (NOR), Teodor Peterson (SWE), Kikkan Randall (USA), Emil Joensson (SWE), Andy Newell (USA) and Lenny Valjas (CAN), who competed in a series of elimination rounds on snow at the Bislett track & field stadium.
Up against some of the biggest names in sprinting on cross-country skis, it was a relative unknown from Norway who crossed the finish line first at the end of the day. 24-year-old Ludvig Søgnen Jensen, who gained entry to the Bislett sprints by sending a video of himself skiing 100 m in 11.25 seconds to the organizers, outkicked Peterson and Eirik Brandsdal (NOR) to take the win in 11.56 seconds.
“I hope there will be more such contests,” Jensen told the NRK. “Then I still had to work at it. I think audiences love it.”
Northug was eliminated in the semifinals, but wasn’t really surprised. “I know I’m not fast enough at 100 meters,” he told the NRK.
Finland’s Mona-Lisa Malvalehto won the women’s division in a time of 13.04.
Bislett event website (full results not yet available).1 comment
February 28th, 2013
A Swedish documentary film called Blood Race in Skiing that aired on Swedish television on Wednesday night has accused multiple Norwegian skiers from the 1990′s of blood doping, citing results from a recent study that found blood samples from athletes of that era with high hemoglobin data. The film, shown on SVT, is based on information from a key source from the Norwegian national team, according to director Arto Halonen.
Among the implicated athletes is the most decorated winter Olympian of all-time, Bjørn Dæhlie, who firmly denies cheating at any point in his career. He also reiterated that the documentary is old news, based on accusations that have been circulating for several years.
“I know that there is a finding that has been out for Norwegian cross-country skiers in a few years,” Dæhlie told Afterposten. “It has probably been made some documentaries, too, and some of the material is the SVT has taken hold of now. It comes from the same place.”
“I have never cheated or manipulated my blood,” Dæhlie told Dagbladet. “My hemoglobin levels have normally been around 15.6-15.8 but I have also reached 16 and 17. That may happen during extreme circumstances and be related to training in altitude or to fluid intake.”
The test results were obtained from a 1997 World Cup event in Lahti, Finland and were supplied by former Finnish coach Kari-Pekka Kyrö, who had a central role in a 2001 Finnish doping scandal at World Championships.
The International Ski Federation (FIS) said in a press release Thursday that the test results involved in the film do not sufficiently prove or disprove doping.
“It is not possible for the FIS to confirm the values that have been published by Kari-Pekka Kyrö and consequently, to comment on these. The testing that was done at the time the research was conducted by experts in the FIS Medical Committee for statistical purposes, with the desire to find the level of hemoglobin values for health checks,” the statement said.
“These tests were not doping controls, and can not now be evaluated as if they are blood pass tests performed today, with clear criteria and procedures defined by WADA.”
FIS Anti-Doping Manager Bengt Saltin insists that the tests taken from “that period in the 90s when everything was on trial stage and very unsystematic.”
Read more here.
Correction March 1, 2013: A previous version of this article stated that the documentary was Finnish. It is acutally Swedish; we apologize for the mistake.3 comments
February 14th, 2013
After becoming the first American to win a ski-mountaineering World Cup last season, American Nina Silitch broke through again on Monday, capturing silver in the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF) World Championships sprint in Les Ecrins, France.
Silitch, 40, who lives in Chamonix, France, and races for the U.S., finished second to Mireille Richard of Switzerland and shared the podium with Sweden’s Emelie Forsberg in third.
“Winning a silver medal at the Ski Mountaineering World Championships in the sprint event is a dream come true for me,” Silitch wrote on her blog, which includes photos of the race.
“Never would I have imagined myself here 10 years ago when I first moved to Europe and had not even tried randonee skiing. It was 6 years ago when I attended my first skimo worlds in Switzerland, just 2 years after my 2nd child and 1 year after starting the sport.”
For more on Silitch, visit ninasilitch.com.
February 13th, 2013
Hoptocopter Films and Ski Denver recently collaborated on a beautifully-produced short film promoting Sylvan Ellefson (Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Team HomeGrown) and the sport of cross-country skiing in Colorado. The 2:09-minute short premiered in conjuction with the SIA Snow Show in Denver Colo., earlier this month. For your Wednesday dose of great nordic imagery, check it out:1 comment