Summary: The FasterSkier.com podcast is a production of FasterSkier.com, the premier cross-country ski website in North America. The podcast features interviews, commentary, and news updates.
It’s been a while, but the FasterSkier team is proud to say that our podcast has officially been resurrected. As we head back into the winter of twenty thirteen, we’ll be producing the show regularly. Expect interviews with the country’s biggest cross-country skiing stars and coaches, plus analysis from the FasterSkier crew. This week, Topher Sabot and Nat Herz interview Erik Flora, the head coach of the Alaska-Pacific University Nordic Ski Center club team, which includes World Championships medalist Kikkan Randall, and U.S. Ski Teamers Holly Brooks, and Erik and Sadie Bjornsen. Randall has been dealing with a stress fracture in her right foot, so we started by asking Flora the obvious question: how is she doing?
The newest member of the national team with her USST swag. Courtesy photo. We’ve reached a lull in the ski-related calendar, which means more time for producing podcasts. Kicking things off in this episode is a discussion of the 2012 U.S. Ski Team cross-country nominations and an interview with its lone addition, Holly Brooks. You can listen to the entire podcast right here, or download it from iTunes for play on an iPod.
The start of the men's relay in Ruhpolding, Germany, with the stadium's 12,000 fans in the background; almost 18,000 more line the course. Photo: NordicFocus/USBA. RUHPOLDING, Germany – While biathlon doesn’t draw huge crowds in the U.S., Germany is another story. As in Norway and Russia, biathlon is the most successful winter sport; over the course of the 10 weekends of World Cup and Championship racing in this season, 450,000 spectators will have attended competitions. And nowhere are they more vocal than in Germany, home of Oberhof and Ruhpolding, the two most popular venues on the circuit (during Germany’s partition, Ruhpolding was one of the centers for biathlon for West Germany and Oberhof for East Germany). These venues draw more fans than any others; athletes frequently describe the atmosphere as crazy. 2012 is Ruhpolding’s fourth year hosting World Championships, as it was also the site of the 1979, 1985, and 1996 events. Oberhof hosted the 2004 Championships. Situated in a narrow valley, Ruhpolding’s Chiemgau Arena caps attendance at approximately 30,000 fans; that number has been in attendance every day of the championships, and many events were sold out weeks before the races even started. A total of 200,000 visitors were expected for the Championships, while the town itself has just 6,000 residents. In Germany, biathlon broadcasts took up 30% of the market when they were aired, and reportedly drew as many as seven million viewers per race. “There is not one stadium in the world where the athletes are feeling the spectators so close on the back as here in Ruhpolding,” IBU President Anders Besseberg said of the venue. The party atmosphere at these events is comparable to few winter sports in North America. Fans arrive hours before the races to secure a coveted spot along the fence and get as close to the action as they can. Thousands of liters of beer and mulled, fortified glühwein have been sold over the course of the ten-day event, as well as thousands of rolls, pretzels, sausages, and cakes. Spectators bring flasks and dress in their country’s colors, often sporting elaborately patriotic costumes. While there is a huge contingent of Norwegians attending the races, the Germans expect the most from their athletes, creating incredible pressure for the racers but also incredible support. German athletes are cheered when as they warm up, zero their rifles, and walk to the start. Live TV coverage follows star Magdalena Neuner as she changes her gloves and eats a granola bar before she races. There are press conferences with German coaches almost every day, and when the athletes finish a race, it can take hours for them to leave the venue after being assailed by journalists. During the races, the stadium erupts in a loud roar every time a German athlete out on the course is shown on the big screen by one of the 38 cameras placed around the two- to four-kilometer loops. When one of them enters the stadium to shoot, the crowd initially surges – but then falls deadly silent as their racer sets up and focuses on the targets. With every hit, the fans explode into a unified “HEI!” With a miss, they groan. FasterSkier caught audio of the atmosphere when German double Olympic gold medalist Michael Greis came in to shoot during the men’s 10 k sprint competition. Listen for the overall support from the crowd as he skis into the range; then, moderate cheers as another athlete hits their targets. At the 44-second mark, Greis begins actually shooting. Follow as he hits four targets and misses one. 110306_001 FasterSkier has also compiled a photo gallery of the stadium and fans from the last ten days and hope to show readers something they can all hope to experience at one time or another: a place where nordic sports have enthusiastic and unwavering support.
The womens A-final. Rumford, ME – Sam Evans-Brown spoke with some of the top racers from the sprint races at US Nationals about their performances on the day, and hopes for the rest of the week. Women’s Freestyle Sprint Podcast
The Men's A Final enters the stadium. Photo: James Doucett. RUMFORD, Maine – Sam Evans-Brown caught up with skate sprint champion Torin Koos, and talked with other skiers in the men’s final to hear how the race unfolded. Listen in.
This past weekend in Dusseldorf, Germany, Kikkan Randall and Sadie Bjornsen made US skiing history when they paired up to finish second in the World Cup Team Sprint. Just the day before Randall won the individual sprint. We caught up with Randall and Bjornsen as they prepare for this weekend’s races in Davos, Switzerland. You can listen to the entire podcast right here, or download it from iTunes for play on an iPod.
Two weeks into the World Cup season, and we have seen Kikkan Randall storm out of the gate with an 8th in a classic 10k, a 4th in a classic sprint, and a 6th place finish in the overall Kuusamo mini-tour. Colin Reuter and Christopher Tassava of the Nordic Commentary Project join FasterSkier Editor Topher Sabot to discuss Kikkan, Holly Brooks’ step forward, the dominance of the Norwegian women’s team, and yes, we even mention Petter Northug, as well as much more. You can listen to the entire podcast right here, or download it from iTunes for play on an iPod.
This article is the third profile in the ‘Where Are They Now’ series, made possible through the generous support of Fischer Sports. Learn more about their products at www.fischersports.com. Mike Gallagher, a three-time Olympic cross-country skier and former U.S. Ski Team head coach, stands in front of his home in Pittsfield, Vt., on Nov. 1. FS Podcast Short: Mike Gallagher discusses the evolution of skating with Alex Matthews (You can subscribe to FasterSkier Podcasts in iTunes here) PITTSFIELD, Vt. — The “XC1” license plate on the Subaru wagon should have been a dead giveaway. Instead, it took a minute to be sure the man walking across the general-store parking lot was Mike Gallagher, one of the pivotal players who put U.S. nordic skiing on the international map. Inside the store, appropriately named the “Pitt-Stop” after the town with about 550 residents, Gallagher greeted a few familiar neighbors and affectionately asked the clerk to prepare his turkey-BLT sub without onions. “They don’t come with onions,” she said, kindly. “Oh, no?” the 70-year-old Gallagher said about one of his favorite grinders. “Well, all right then.” Pittsfield and Irene: When Tropical Storm Irene swept the country in late August, it devastated several communities in central Vermont, including Pittsfield. High atop a mountain road, Gallagher lost his driveway. With his power out, he thought, “Poor me,” he said. Then he walked into town. In the river valley, 22 homes had been condemned or destroyed in Pittsfield, he said. Residents were stuck without a way out for more than a week. The Pitt-Stop rationed gas to five gallons a day per household, the National Guard and FEMA flew supplies in, and people met every other day at town meetings. “The town came together like it never has,” said Gallagher, who has lived in Pittsfield since 1967. “We’ve had what we call floods, but nothing. We never lost bridges, we never lost homes.” With his wife, Tyna, in Boston during the storm, Gallagher couldn’t talk to her for four days. He had to walk to town and stand in one spot to get cell service. When Tyna arrived home later that week, she was covered in scratches from walking through the woods, Gallagher said. They couldn’t use their driveway for nearly a month, he said. It took 63 dump-truck loads of gravel to fill in. Before proceeding a few miles from town to his home at the height of the land, the three-time Olympian and former U.S. Ski Team head coach visited the postmaster. Up at his log cabin on 50 acres of land surrounded by national forest, Gallagher revealed four green-and-spotted apples the postmaster gave him. She thought they were interesting, he said with a laugh. He had apple trees in his yard. Placing them on the woodpile that filled his front porch, Gallagher explained he used to chop the wood himself. Now, he had it delivered, but even after having a hip replacement a year and a half ago, he still stacked it. Before eating lunch inside the house he built in the 1970s, Gallagher pointed to a green square nailed outside his garage. High above the ground, the original “XC1” Vermont license plate attested to his ski career; the nine-time U.S. nordic champion received it in the ’70s upon being the top racer in the country. With prestige came egos, Gallagher said. He had plenty of stories to illustrate his. A veteran member of the U.S. Ski Team in 1968, he remembered when about 10 teammates set a running record on Vermont’s Long Trail, which extends nearly 300 miles from Canada to Massachusetts. A year later, he and the team took on another training excursion: bicycling some 1,000 miles around Vermont. “I had this license plate, but I was not a biker,” Gallagher said, with a smile. “I had a 10-speed bike. … It didn’t have those fancy toe clips. I didn’t wear those fruity-looking black pants and those pointy Italian shoes with these clips on the bottom. I was a real man. I [...]
The World Cup season kicks off on Saturday in Sjusjoen, Norway with a 10/15km freestyle, followed by one of the few 4×5/10km relays on the circuit. In this edition of FasterSkier Podcasts we check back with the Nordic Commentary Project’s Colin Reuter and Christopher Tassava to discuss the 2012 World Cup season. You can listen to the entire podcast right here, or download it from iTunes for play on an iPod. Please note: The FasteSkier iTunes feed has changed. Pleases use the link above to subscribe to the new version.
Part 2 of the FasterSkier Tech Roundtable. In what may be a first in the North American skiing, FasterSkier brought together four of the best ski technicians around for a roundtable discussion on a variety of issues. Nathan Schultz of Boulder Nordic Sport, Mark Waechter of Nordic Ultratune, Zach Caldwell of Caldwell Sport, and Patrick Moore of the Alberta World Cup Academy digitally joined FasterSkier Editor Topher Sabot and Associate Editor Audrey Mangan from all corners of the continent. The discussion is split into two segments. Part 1 focuses mainly on the World Cup and associated issues, while Part 2 tackles topics relevant to racers at all levels. You can listen to the entire podcast right here, or download it from iTunes for play on an iPod. Please note: The FasteSkier iTunes feed has changed. Pleases use the link above to subscribe to the new version. Part 1 of the Tech Roundtable can be found here.