— The wait is over—with the sprint in Muonio, Finland already completed, racing season is officially here. Bruksvallarna, Sweden is also hosting FIS races this weekend, starting with the men’s 15 k skate on Saturday. It will be a stacked field. Joining the Canadian National Ski Team are the top Norwegians, Russians, French and Swedes. Petter Northug (NOR) and Marcus Hellner (SWE) headline a long start list. Today, the course was approved for the calculation of FIS points, so this will be the real deal.
The women’s 10 k skate is on Sunday. Top names include Charlotte Kalla and Anna Haag (SWE), with Marit Bjoergen and co. noticeably absent.
— Five Norwegian biathletes will be joining the cross-country field for the first World Cup on November 19 in Sjusjoen, Norway. The host country gets 10 additional start rights for each gender, so Emil Hegle Svendsen, Lars Berger, Ronny Hafsås, Tarjei Bø and Tora Berger are taking full advantage of the opportunity to race earlier than the first Biathlon World Cup (in Ostersund, Sweden on November 28).
“Now I am so tired of just practicing and eager to go skiing,” said Svendsen, a multiple World and Olympic Champion.
— Mathias Fredriksson (SWE) plans on retiring after this season, and wants to go out with a bang. Before each race he enters he will auction off equipment to raise money for UNICEF. Other skiers will also donate their gear to the cause throughout the winter. Bidding will take place online here.
“I wish that my last race of the career will also be the coolest one,” said Fredriksson.