– Poland’s getting ready to host its first FIS Cross-Country World Cup on Friday and Saturday in Szklarska Poreba. According to FIS News, the venue has 2 meters (about 6 1/2 feet) of natural snow, and the forecast called for temperatures around -3 degrees Celsius (27 degrees Fahrenheit) with some snowfall over the next few days.
The weekend kicks off with freestyle sprints on Friday. Saturday hosts 10 and 15 k classic races, and on Sunday, World Cup racers can participate in a separate competition — the World Uphill Trophy race — at the alpine area in Szklarska Poreba. The 8 k race goes straight up for 500 meters for the first 4 k, then down the alpine slope on the other side.
– Described by the International Ski Federation (FIS) as possibly “the surprise of the year,” Jessie Diggins told FIS News in an interview that she’s not sure what her favorite race is, but probably something that involves skating.
“I really like skating because I don’t have deal with kick wax but I do not know that I have a favorite distance yet,” she said. “I really hate when I can’t get a good kick, just slipping and slipping and slipping. That is very frustrating.”
Asked what she liked most about the sport, Diggins said pushing herself.
“It’s cool to think, wow, I’m skiing really fast!” she said. “I’m doing cross-country skiing for this feeling, for being fast, for pushing your body to the limit. That feels good afterwards”
– Hanna Falk is sick but optimistic. The Swedish national team skier recently found out that an pneumonia-causing bacteria, known as TWAR, has been making her sick and keeping her from races. Falk hasn’t competed since placing 38th in a classic sprint at Swedish nationals on Jan. 29. On her website, Falk wrote: ”I’m a little more alert now … but yet I am not healthy. I eat antibiotics now and will do [so for] just over a month. During that time there will be no contests and a moderate amount of exercise. I hope this time will be enough to get completely healthy and get rid of all bacteria.”
She went on to state that health is always a priority, and she has been trying to find other things to occupy her time.
“But I do not give in so easily, you know!” Falk wrote. “New season awaits and I want more than ever back to the top of the world!”
– Norway’s John Kristian Dahl and Martine Ek Hagen earned World Cup starts after winning their Scandinavian Cup races in Albu, Estonia, last weekend. Both have raced at that level before, with Dahl, 30, placing sixth at the Moscow freestyle sprints and second in a team sprint earlier this year. Hagen, 20, is a first-year senior and will be competing at the upcoming U23 World Championships from Feb. 19-26.
Norwegian national team director Vidar Løfshus told told skiforbundet.no he was especially impressed with Hagen this winter.
“She has taken a big step closer to world’s best and had shown up from a positive side,” he said. “With the overall victory also secured her many chances to come in the World Cup.”