Rank #1: Nordic Nation: Estonia’s Karel Tammjärv
In this episode, we speak with Estonian athlete Karel Tammjärv. If you are unfamiliar with the latest news, Tammjärve was arrested last week in Seefeld, Austria as part of an investigation into doping.
FasterSkier first contacted Tammjärv yesterday and in a quick turn of events, Tammjärv offered us an interview this morning. Although the interview was conducted on short notice, we had no pre-conditions when it came to the types of questions we could ask.
We have run several stories about the arrests which went down last Wednesday in Seefeld.
Many FasterSkier readers became familiar with Tammjärve through Noah Hoffman’s blog. Hoffman posted a blog on Monday about his relationship with Tammjärv and the recent doping news.
Mar 06 2019
Rank #2: Nordic Nation: Training and Intensity with Dr. Stephen Seiler
May 1 marks the symbolic start of the annual training cycle for many year-round nordic skiers. With that in mind, we recently spoke with Stephen Seiler. A Texas native, Seiler, 51, is a professor of sports science at the University of Adger in Kristiansand, Norway.
Stephen Seiler, a professor at the University of Adger in Kristiansand, Norway, specializes in exercise science. (Photo: uia.no)
Seiler has researched, written and spoken extensively about physiological adaptations as it relates to endurance athletes. Seiler’s mantra — the 80/20 Rule — the easy to hard intensity ratio when it comes to training sessions, has been well publicized. Seiler believes easy days should be truly easy, meaning walking the hills may be mandatory. If the easy days are easy, then the hard days are hard. He espouses a fidelity to training models with little, if any, in-between efforts; that means no middle-of-the-road intensity. And his observations come straight from Norway.
“… They know what gets you on the podium,” he said of the Norwegians’ tried-and-tested training principles. “And they know that there are no shortcuts. They don’t fall for the latest trend, the latest trick because they know how you get there. The magic is there is no magic in Norway.”
But we’ll let Seiler speak for himself.
Here’s a link to the video referenced several times in the podcast.
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May 15 2017
Rank #3: Nordic Nation: The So-Long-for-Now Episode with Noah Hoffman
It’s the first of our “so long for now” episodes. In the code speak of sport, that means retirement. No North American nordic sport athlete has been as prolific blogging about their life as recently retired skier Noah Hoffman. He’s also been a willing participant on this podcast in the past, exploring the realities of making a go of it as an American on the World Cup. At 28, Hoffman enters a brave new world beyond cross-country skiing. In this episode, we discuss what’s next with Hoffman and of course, we dive into what he’s learned as a pro athlete.
American Noah Hoffman racing in the 15 k freestyle at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, where he finished 48th. (Photo: FlyingPointRoad)
We connected with Hoffman while he was in Cleveland on his first transcontinental road trip. For an athlete that has lived the life of training plans for as long as he can remember …. Hoffman’s future looks wide open. It should also be noted that the sport will have lost a kind and worthy personality. That is until Hoffman shows up some years from now and crushes some master’s race.
American Noah Hoffman with his dad after finishing the Holmenkollen 50 k freestyle mass start in Oslo, Norway, on March 10 for the final race of his pro skiing career. (Photo: Liz Stephen)
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Mar 30 2018
Rank #4: Nordic Nation: The ‘Take a Bow’ (50th!) Episode with Marit Bjørgen
The stats are simply mind-boggling. Essentially, Norway’s Marit Bjørgen has the mostest. The most decorated Winter Olympic medalist: 15 total medals, eight gold, four silver, and three bronze — over five Olympiads from 2002 to 2018. The most World Championships bling: 26 total medals, 18 gold, five silver, and three bronze. Bjørgen won 114 individual World Cups and podiumed 184 times on the World Cup.
Take a bow. Marit Bjørgen of Norway winning the 30-kilometer classic mass start at 2015 World Championships in Falun, Sweden. (Photo: Nordic Focus/Fischer)
Maybe something more sentimental for the core Norwegian fan, this past March, Bjørgen won a record seventh Holmenkollen 30 k. And she won that in un-Bjørgen like style by coming from behind to reel in a speedy Jessie Diggins.
Norway’s Marit Bjørgen celebrates her seventh Holmenkollen 30 k victory in Oslo, Norway, ahead of American Jessie Diggins, Norway’s Ragnhild Haga (not shown) and Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla. (Photo: Fischer/NordicFocus)
This brings us to the point that this is the 50th episode of Nordic Nation. So, we wanted to go big. Really, no one is bigger than Bjørgen in the sport. In this ‘Take a Bow’ episode with Marit, we cover motherhood, training, racing, the media, and growing up in a small Norwegian club with three racers. The newly retired Bjørgen, 38, was interviewed last Tuesday, July 10.
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Jul 16 2018
Rank #5: Nordic Nation: Sadie Bjornsen and the ‘Sadie System’
The Sadie System, as in the Sadie Bjornsen system, is the topic in this episode of Nordic Nation. That system involves a basic understanding of how hard and long to train and how to recover effectively, a question many athletes struggle to answer. But Bjornsen, a U.S. Ski Team all-arounder, has overcome chronic foot injuries and arrived on the World Cup scene this year poised for podiums. She has three World Cup podiums so far in the 2017/2018 season and she’ll be competing at her second Olympics this February. And she does have some bronze bling from last year’s World Championship team sprint with Jessie Diggins.
When asked about interesting media exposure she’s had during the run up to the Olympics, Bjornsen mentioned a Twitter exchange the U.S. Ski Team’s women had with Paula Poundstone of NPR’s Wait Wait. Rule of thumb: it’s a bad idea to dis World Championship medalist.
U.S. Ski Team member Sadie Bjornsen (4) racing to fifth in the women’s 10 k freestyle pursuit at Stage 3 of the 2018 Tour de Ski in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. She went on to finish ninth overall in the Tour. (Photo: Fischer/NordicFocus)
We caught up with the 28-year-old Bjornsen on the phone on Jan. 18, a few days before last weekend’s World Cup races in Planica, Slovenia. The skier originally from Washington’s Methow Valley, who trains with Alaska Pacific University (APU) in Anchorage, Alaska, is a model of perseverance, goal setting and getting things done.
Sadie Bjornsen (l) catches her teammate Jessie Diggins after they placed third in the women’s classic team sprint on Feb. 26 at 2017 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland. (Photo: John Lazenby/Lazenbyphoto.com)
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Jan 24 2018
Rank #6: Nordic Nation: Matt Whitcomb and the Art of Coaching
In more than a decade with the U.S. Ski Team, women’s coach Matt Whitcomb has picked up a few lessons about how to connect with athletes and how to nudge them in the direction of their best possible performance on race day. In this episode of Nordic Nation, we connected with Whitcomb while in western Massachusetts on Nov. 10. Whitcomb has now jumped the pond and is in Europe, prepping his team for the first World Cup on Friday in Kuusamo, Finland.
U.S. Ski Team Women’s Coach Matt Whitcomb (r) reviews video with Sadie Bjornsen on some climbing technique Wednesday at a training camp in Bend, Ore. (Video: FasterSkier Vimeo)
Whitcomb, 39, began his career with the U.S. Ski Team back in 2006. Along the way, he appears to have developed a reputation as a team builder — one who can be inclusive when it comes to embracing the many types of personalities the sport attracts. You’ll hear Whitcomb discuss how he’s learned to build team unity and how he deals with the stresses of the World Cup.
Whitcomb also dives headfirst into the realm of anti-doping stances with a passionate statement of how the sport should move forward before the PyeongChang Olympics in February 2018.
Standing between Chelsea Marshall and Matt Whitcomb, Liz Stephens waves as she is introduced to the crowd at Fenway Park. In the background, her smile is seen on the bigscreen.
On a lighter note, those who follow the sport know Whitcomb rocks a Red Sox cap whenever possible. Unabashedly, as we learn in the short audio clip below that did not make the final podcast edit farther down the page, the Red Sox hat has become one of Whitcomb’s hallmark cultural exports — having to do with his “disgust” with Yankees hats all over Europe. If you see a Swedish coach sporting a Red Sox hat at the World Cup, you’ll know who is responsible.
Whitcomb and his anti-Yankees crusade:http://fasterskier.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2017/11/Whitcomb-and-Red-Sox.mp3
(Note: Although the podcast host grew up on the Massachusetts border, he is not a Red Sox fan, and in fact, cheered loudly with his dad in the Shea Stadium stands during Game 6 when the baseball dribbled under Buckner. Acknowledged are the Red Sox recent World Series rings.)
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Nov 23 2017
Rank #7: Nordic Nation: Competition Analysis with Grover and Diggins
Render it all down, it’s about the human element of competition on the World Cup. In this episode of Nordic Nation, we first speak with U.S. Ski Team Head Coach Chris Grover and then with one of the team’s athletes crushing right now in the Tour de Ski, Jessie Diggins. The topic at hand: breaking down an International Ski Federation (FIS) document sent to coaches after each race called a “Competition Analysis”.
These are not publicly posted where one might expect to find them (with results and World Cup standings) on the FIS site, unlike the International Biathlon Union (IBU), which publishes similar competition analyses (but with a lot more information, like shooting speed and time spent on the shooting range). While Grover wasn’t sure why FIS doesn’t link to these, one thing’s for sure: these analyses can be tools for coaches and athletes in dissecting races beyond the televised checkpoints.
Jessie Diggins racing to fourth in the women’s 15 k freestyle at the World Cup in Davos, Switzerland, on Dec. 10. (Photo: Salomon/NordicFocus)
Specifically, we’ll discuss the competition analysis from the women’s 15-kilometer freestyle on Dec. 10 in Davos, Switzerland. Diggins placed fourth in that race. The FIS Competition Analysis is a tool coaches and skiers can use to see exactly where they skied effectively, and where they may have lost time. In Davos, pretty much Diggins skied fast.
Here’s a link to the Davos competition analysis. It’s useful to check it out a bit before listening to the podcast, but not totally necessary … but it does help.
And just to remain timely, here’s a FIS Competition Analysis from the Tour de Ski’s stage 4 women’s 10 k freestyle pursuit in Oberstdorf, Germany; Diggins placed fifth and her U.S. teammates had an impressive day as well.
Other references: 2016 FIS Cross-Country Homologation Manual
Time for the podcast. Thanks.
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Jan 05 2017
Rank #8: Nordic Nation: Author Peggy Shinn on the U.S. Women’s XC Ski Team
In this episode of Nordic Nation, we talk with author Peggy Shinn. She recently wrote a book titled “World Class: The Making of the U.S. Women’s Cross-Country Ski Team”. The book was released before Shinn jetted off to PyeongChang, South Korea, to cover the Olympics in person. Not one to miss a good show, she was on hand to see the U.S. Ski Team come full circle as Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall won gold in the team sprint.
Peggy Shinn, author of the new book “World Class: The Making of the U.S. Women’s Cross-Country Ski Team” (Photo: Peggy Shinn collection)
Shinn’s book and what insights she gleaned during the writing process are our primary topics of discussion. From the roots of the women’s team when coaches Marty Hall and John Caldwell pulled the strings, to the modern World Cup where the U.S. women’s team has become a force, Shinn gives us a glimpse of how the women’s program went from deep grassroots to a medal contender.
Our interview with Shinn took place in the main press center in PyeongChang after three weeks in Korea. Admittedly, FasterSkier’s Gabby Naranja and I, as well as Shinn were feeling brain dead. So pardon any giddiness or digressions.
The cover of Peggy Shinn’s new book World Class: The Making of the U.S. Women’s Cross-Country Ski Team. (Photo: Peggy Shinn collection)
FasterSkier will have a review of Shinn’s book in the near future. Thanks for reading and listening.
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Mar 23 2018
Rank #9: Nordic Nation: Norwegian Ski Journalist John Rasmussen
Norway still dominates the World Cup. With both Martin Johnsrud Sundby and Heidi Weng wearing yellow bibs as overall World Cup Leaders, it seems not much has changed besides Weng supplanting Therese Johaug on the podium’s top step.
Norwegian Journalist John Rasmussen is our guest on Nordic Nation (Courtesy photo)
This past summer and fall, Norway’s cross-country community — which is arguably the entire nation — took a hit when both Sundby and Johaug were linked to doping. Much has been written about the technical aspects of their cases.
Nordic Nation reached out to Norwegian ski journalist John Rasmussen at Dagbladet, one of Norway’s leading newspapers. Rasmussen’s beat is the international and Norwegian ski scene. And since Google translate is not the most effective tool to go from Norwegian to English, we thought it best to get things straight from someone in the know.
“Doping in sport is so not on in this country,” Rasmussen said on the phone from Norway when we spoke on Dec. 15. “It’s considered such a shameful act, and particularly in cross-country, which is the national sport… If you’re caught cheating doing that, it’s probably like stealing from your neighbor. It’s not good.”
There’s more in this episode from Rasmussen. We talk of Johaug in the broader context of Norway’s sporting culture and the next steps in her doping case to be adjudicated late next month. There’s also some real world talk on what a parent says to a child who idolizes Johaug in a country where skiing is the sport of the people and the gods.
Click play to listen below or subscribe here on itunes.
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Dec 23 2016
Rank #10: Nordic Nation: Wax-Truck Road Trip with Tim Baucom (While Andrew Morehouse Pilots)
Not exactly planned, and on a whim, it’s the wax-truck road trip — otherwise known as the Bon Voyage episode.
A full crew cab in the USST wax truck. Presumably on the way from Kuusamo, Finland, to Lillehammer, Norway. (Photo: Tim Baucom)
Nordic Nation dialed up intrepid wax-truck driver and navigator … and U.S. Ski Team Wax Tech Tim Baucom to check in on the new wax truck’s first big Euro-trip. We caught up with Baucom on Day 1 of a three-day trip a few hours after the duo left Lillehammer, Norway, where last weekend’s World Cup races were held. The two techs were headed to Davos, Switzerland, site of this weekend’s World Cup.
Waxing World Cup fast skis and backed up with a CDL is not their only gig: Tim Baucom (right) and Andrew Morehouse (left) play the Newell-Flowers wedding outside Bozeman, Montana. (Photo: Jeremiah and Rachel Photography)
Baucom and Morehouse were responsible for $600,000 dollars of precious wax truck (that amount includes the taxes on the truck), as well as something like 600 pairs of skis.
That’s a lot of XC schwag. And a lot of eventual ski cleaning. (See below.)
USST wax techs go beyond the call of duty. Tim Baucom is responsible for Simi Hamilton’s and Ida Sargent’s skis throughout the season. Here, Sargent leaves a note for Baucom (with graphics) detailing the cleanup. (Photo: Tim Baucom)
And just to be safe, we also dialed up Baucom on Day 2 of their three-day journey to Davos. It’s always a good idea to check back in — new pricey truck, irreplaceable skis and two of the finest wax techs on the circuit — who doesn’t want the whole package to be safe?
Putting the CDL to good use: truckin’ along in the USST wax truck with the big rigs in Europe. (Photo: Tim Baucom)
For the record, Baucom and Morehouse are safe, legit and well trained. Don’t believe Nordic Nation? Here’s online proof of their CDL’s.
Listen to Baucom unbound.
USST wax tech Tim Baucom testing wax and skis in the early a.m. in Lillehammer, Norway. (Photo: Zach Caldwell)
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Dec 07 2017
Rank #11: Nordic Nation: The ‘Brains of the Operation’ Episode with Øyvind Sandbakk
Here on Nordic Nation, we’re featuring back-to-back interviews with notable Norwegians. We previously connected with Marit Bjørgen and focused on the athlete side of the performance matrix. This time, we spoke with wunderkind sports physiologist, Øyvind Sandbakk. If you are new to his name, he is one of the key reasons Norway has remained ahead of the sport-performance curve in nordic sport.
Dr. Øyvind Sandbakk (Courtesy photo)
If there’s an interesting question to answer with regards to things like double-poling efficiency, Sandbakk or one his students is on it. Yes, Norway has strength in numbers when it comes to cross-country athletes, but they also have a Sandbakk and a cadre of graduate students who keep Norway a step ahead.
Sandbakk serves as managing director at the Centre for Elite Sports Research at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. And as if he is not busy enough, he’s also head of research and development at the Norwegian Olympic Sports Centre (Olympiatoppen).
Sandbakk discusses how he became involved with research and how his research group has become one the premier nordic-sport think tanks.
Here’s a link for a comprehensive list of Sandbakk’s research.
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Aug 06 2018
Rank #12: Nordic Nation: The Dan Cnossen Interview
In this episode of Nordic Nation, we spoke with Dan Cnossen, who, at 38, has much to celebrate. This past winter, he raked in six medals (one for every race he competed in) at the Winter Paralympics — three in biathlon, three in cross-country — in PyeongChang, South Korea. But as he discusses in this podcast, the winning does not define him. Raised on a fifth-generation family farm outside Topeka, Kanasa, Cnossen went on to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy and now holds masters degrees in public administration and theological studies — both from Harvard.
Biathlon gold medalist Dan Cnossen of the U.S. celebrates his win in the men’s sitting 7.5 k biathlon sprint on March 10, the opening day of competition at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. (Photo: U.S. Paralympics/Mark Reis)
On his path to the Paralympics, Cnossen served as a Navy SEAL platoon leader. He lost both his legs in an explosion in 2009 while on patrol in Afghanistan, and became a recipient of both a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with Valor.
In the 42 minutes we have with Cnossen, we learn about perseverance and how a curious mind meshed athletics with theology.
Sep 07 2018
Rank #13: Nordic Nation: Olympic Champ Kikkan Randall Elected to IOC Athletes’ Commission
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — In this episode of Nordic Nation, FasterSkier sat down with U.S. cross-country skier, Kikkan Randall — known by some as Kikkanimal — to discuss her fifth and final Winter Olympics, as well as what lays ahead for the Anchorage, Alaska native.
On Wednesday evening earlier this week, Randall and teammate Jessie Diggins paired up to take the win in the team sprint, earning the U.S. women their first Olympic cross-country medal in gold.
Kikkan Randall racing during her leg of the women’s team sprint on Wednesday at the at the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. (Photo: FlyingPointRoad)
The day after her gold medal performance, Randall learned that she had been elected by her peers to serve on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes’ Commission. Consider, she’s also a mom.
Randall will serve an eight-year term as one of 20 representatives on the IOC Athletes’ Commission. Her primary role will be to represent the athletes’ viewpoint within the decision making bodies of the IOC. Randall has served as a leader within Fast And Female. She has also worked as an athlete representative in the International Ski Federation (FIS).
News also broke on Friday that her gold-medal team-sprint teammate Jessie Diggins was selected to carry the American flag for Team USA at the Closing Ceremony on Sunday.
Kikkan Randall (l) and Jessie Diggins after being awarded their gold medals from the freestyle team sprint at Thursday night’s Olympic medal ceremony in PyeongChang, South Korea. (Photo: FlyingPointRoad)
We met up with Randall in the U.S. pop-up training room called ‘The Haven’. You may notice the recording has the ambient echo of a gym; a fitting setting for a conversation with an athlete as powerful as Randall. With her characteristic cotton-candy pink colored hair let down, Randall detailed to us her final Olympic moments and her future role with the IOC as an athlete rep.
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Feb 23 2018
Rank #14: Nordic Nation: The Pete Vordenberg Experience (Episode 1)
Not exactly a mystery man in nordic-ski circles, former U.S. Ski Team Head Coach Pete Vordenberg has been admittedly reclusive when it comes to staying in the XC ski game. In this two-part episode, Nordic Nation chats with Vordenberg in Bend, Oregon, and connects the dots in terms of what he’s been up to. Vordenberg raced in two Winter Olympics and was a forerunner in a third. (You’ll have to listen to Episode 1 to learn about that forerunning gig.) After skiing with the U.S. Ski Team (USST) for six years, he began coaching for the USST in 2002, retiring as the USST head coach in 2012.
Former U.S. Ski Team Head Coach and current dad, husband and photographer:Pete Vordenberg. (Photo: Pete Vordenberg)
This was a wide-ranging interview with numerous digressions: both the interviewer and Vordenberg were easily distracted. Serious attempts in the editing process were made to overcome the interviewer’s deficiencies. And make note, this interview was recorded outdoors at two local Bend breweries, with a brief intermission on bikes.
In Episode 1, Vordenberg speaks about his book Momentum: Chasing The Olympic Dream, how he started skiing in Boulder, Colorado, and how the USST began to turn it all around on the World Cup.
But in between all of that, good old type 1 fun.
Pete Vordenberg unwinding in Lahti, Finland 2017. Riding the saddle at an underground Lahti karaoke session. (Photo: FasterSkier)
Vordenberg is a keen and creative mind. When he’s not being a dad, he’s mastering his art as a photographer. His Instagram account is both stunning and eclectic. Have some time set aside before checking his account out, it can be a wormhole.
Enjoy the ride listening to The Pete Vordenberg Experience.
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Sep 22 2017
Rank #15: Nordic Nation: Andy Newell in Transition
FasterSkier caught up with former, yes former U.S. Ski Team member Andy Newell on October, 8 in Park City, Utah. Newell was in Utah assisting with the latest NEG camp and training with his old cohort when time permitted. No longer a staple of the national team, the 34-year-old Newell has partially turned over a new leaf. He’s still training as a professional skier, but he’s also the owner of a cross-country skiing business called Nordic team Solutions.
Andy Newell leads the double pole train at the Lake Placid REG camp as part of his coaching related startup -Nordic Team Solutions. (Photo: Bryan Fish)
Newell plans on racing several World Cups this season, and, if the gears are clicking, he hopes to qualify for the Seefeld, Austria World Championships. If that’s not enough for this athlete in transition, Newell intends to expand his nascent business.
Newell’s business model is part web-based platform and part ski-boots on the ground business specializing in technique, training, and nutrition. We’re sure we missed something. But Newell covers it all in the podcast as he explains the niche he’s trying to fill.
Andy Newell (left) putting his Nordic Team Solutions to good use. (Photo: Bryan Fish)
Oct 19 2018
Rank #16: Nordic Nation: The Pete Vordenberg Experience (Episode 2)
Here it is … Episode 2 of Nordic Nation’s “The Pete Vordenberg Experience”.
If you missed Episode 1, you’ll want to start there for some context. Pete Vordenberg, a two-time U.S. Olympic cross-country skier and former U.S. Ski Team coach, talks about his transformation since leaving skiing to dedicate himself to the hardest job he’s ever had: a stay-at-home dad. In Episode 2, he continues to reflect on how skiing impacted his life and how he would like it to be a part of his daughters’ lives, as well as what he thinks needs to happen globally for the sport to continue.
Pete Vordenberg, former U.S. Ski Team head coach, as seen in 2012. (Photo: USSA)
You’ll also hear Vordenberg, who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, discuss selection criteria, decompression from the full-immersion XC-ski life and how he began falling back in love with the sport. And yes, no joke, in Episode 2, you’ll hear how reggae star Matisyahu is — if the math is correct — only two degrees separated from the mythical cross-country deep state.
Enjoy the ride listening to “The Pete Vordenberg Experience, Episode 2”.
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Sep 22 2017
Rank #17: Nordic Nation: Straight Up Erik Bjornsen
No longer the young guy on the U.S. Ski Team, at 26 years old, Erik Bjornsen often carries high expectations on his shoulders. And frankly, they are strong shoulders. After a summer and fall of solid training, the younger of the two Bjornsens on the U.S. Ski Team (his sister Sadie is a teammate) has high expectations for this Olympic year. Rather than a product of stats and results, Bjornsen is a believer in himself. He studies the sports’ stars, analyzing what makes them technically efficient. He makes the hard workouts count. It’s a method Bjornsen hopes will serve him well in a tightly packed World Cup men’s field.
Erik Bjornsen leads fellow U.S. Ski Team member Noah Hoffman during the men’s 15 k freestyle pursuit at Stage 4 of the 2015 Ski Tour Canada in Quebec City. (Photo: FlyingPointRoad.com/NNF)
Bjornsen jumps to Europe on Nov. 15. He won’t be dipping his toe into the race season — his first races of the season will be the World Cup’s Ruka Triple mini tour in Finland from Nov. 24-26.
Erik Bjornsen (Photo: Toko/NordicFocus)
Nordic Nation spoke to Bjornsen on Oct. 25 from his home in Anchorage, Alaska. The discussion covers sprinting and distance, his growth as a skier, and yes, how he’d like to see FasterSkier improved. Who would have thought the youngest Bjornsen would like to see a bit more nordic gossip on the FS site? With that in mind, old news we know, Bjornsen was engaged this summer.
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Nov 10 2017
Rank #18: Nordic Nation: The Sit Down with Bob ‘Woody’ Woodward
Bob Woodward. Not the journalist associated with Watergate, but the Bob Woodward, outdoor writer and journalist who was arguably the first to report on the international cross-country racing scene way back in the day. Our Bob Woodward goes by the name of “Woody”. And Woody had been living in Bend, Oregon, since 1978. In fact, Woody lives a few blocks away from me here in Bend.
Woody is a local’s local who also helped define outdoor-sports writing. Before the internet, before things like mountain biking, skiing and climbing were branded as lifestyles, Woody was covering adventure sport and passing on his observations to readers. Yes, Woody also covered nordic sport. From Oslo to races here in North America, Woody reported on the gear, the lycra and the personalities.
Finnish ski legend Juha Mieto (r) with outdoor writing legend Bob “Woody” Woodward (l) in Lahti, Finland, back in 1979. (Photo: Bob Woodward collection)
We met up with Woody on Dec. 1 of last year to discuss his writing career and what he learned along the way covering the nordic world. (Here’s a link to Woody’s piece on Juha Mieto.)
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Mar 14 2018
Rank #19: Nordic Nation: Calling John Caldwell
John Caldwell with his three sons. (From left to right) Sverre Caldwell, Tim Caldwell, John Caldwell, and Peter Caldwell. (Photo: Sophie Caldwell)
Flashback to 1964. That’s six years after the mega-fad of hula hooping, and five years before the psychedelic haze of Woodstock. A time when the country teetered towards war protest and Tricky Dick … (as in, “I am not a crook.” — Richard Nixon).
What could possibly supplant hula hoops and pending cultural disruption? You guessed it, cross-country skiing.
In 1964, John Caldwell wrote the first edition, of eight editions in total, what’s now considered a classic, The Cross-Country Ski Book.
While not quite on the scale of hula hooping, Caldwell’s book spawned a cross-country ski boom. The book popularized the sport that offered skiing as a path to enjoying the outdoors in silent-sport mode.
John Caldwell and the art of flexing skis. Here, he’s helping his granddaughter Sophie Caldwell, a U.S. Ski Team member, pick skis. (Photo: Sophie Caldwell)
That’s not to say Caldwell doesn’t come with serious racing street cred. He was a 1952 Olympian and coached the U.S. Cross-Country Ski Team from 1965 to 1972 and was an Olympic coach in ’68, ’72, ’80, and ’84. He’s coached hallmark U.S. cross-country skiers like Martha Rockwell and Bill Koch.
At 88 years old, Caldwell lives in Putney, Vt., his hometown since 1941. He’s looked to for sage advice or a spicy quote on how the power brokers at the elite levels of U.S. skiing need to change and up their game.
One of Caldwell’s rules of engagement for the following “Nordic Nation” interview was no discussion of his grandkids. That brings us to the fact that his grandkids are still in the World Cup ski game. Granddaughter Sophie Caldwell and grandson Paddy Caldwell are current U.S. Ski Team members. (Note to listeners: Like any good grandparent, Caldwell did indeed mention his grandkids during the interview.)
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Aug 11 2017
Rank #20: Nordic Nation: The Good People Episode with Bill McKibben
Bill McKibben — author, educator, environmentalist as stated on his personal website. He is one of us, too: an individual dedicated to the sport and culture of human-powered skiing. Back when he was 37, McKibben penned a great book titled “Long Distance: Testing the Limits of Body and Spirit in a Year of Living Strenuously“. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to train like an Olympian in the body of a burgeoning masters skier, it’s a great read. It’s also the real deal type of book from a writer who actually left a job at the New Yorker — not many people give up that gig — for the greener pastures and colder ski tracks of Vermont.
Bill McKibben: Climate activist, educator, and lover of all things xc skiing. (Photo: BillMcKibben.com)
Twenty years after he wrote that book, McKibben, who just turned 57, is a Middlebury College professor and perhaps the foremost political organizer when it comes to the issue of climate change. He helped start the climate justice organization 350.org.
The author of many books, McKibben released his first novel this fall titled “Radio Free Vermont“. Let’s just say it has all the hallmarks of a good tale with some cross-country skiing and biathlon thrown in for good measure.
Nordic Nation connected with McKibben back about a month ago on Dec. 4, 2017. It’s pretty much an all-inclusive interview: climate change, World Cup, Simi Hamilton as an undergrad skier, and some discussion of “Radio Free Vermont“.
Enjoy the interview before we get sucked into the Olympic vortex here on Nordic Nation.
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Jan 10 2018