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How Do You Ski a Prologue?

Not quite a sprint, and definitely not a true distance race, the 3.3/2.8 k prologue is a strange distance—something like the 3,000 meter on a track. How does one ski it? Carefully.

With four mini-tours on their domestic calendar this year, the Canadians have raced prologues aplenty, and according to Jesse Cockney (Alberta World Cup Academy), you have to take your time—especially on Tuesday’s course in Sun Valley, Idaho, which features a sustained, steep climb midway through.

“We’re going to have a lot of hurting kids at 1.2 k or so, going out too fast,” he said. “3.3 [kilometers]—it’ll get you.”

The key, according to one of Cockney’s coaches, Chris Jefferies, is starting slowly.

“You’re not going to lose it in the first kilometer,” he said. “You don’t have to be ranked at the top in the first split—but you can’t give away, either.”

Especially on Tuesday’s course, a blazing start will be tempting, since the first kilometer of the loop is flat and rolling. But do that, and you’ll be paying for it over the last five minutes.

“The climb out there is going to be quite the thing to get up,” Cockney said.

Having skied a number of prologues this season, the Canadians have a little more practice at the format, and will probably be at an advantage. Mike Cavaliere, another Alberta World Cup Academy coach, pegged Drew Goldsack as one of his athletes to watch, along with Kevin Sandau.

As for the Americans, a good battle could be in store between Kris Freeman and Andy Newell—they split the two World Cup prologues they raced this year.

Link to start list.

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  1. […] topic of conversation in skiing, or really any endurance sport. Typically, the refrain is ‘don’t start to fast‘. In fact, I feel like I hardly ever hear people recommending that one should start a race […]