While the masses are enjoying their summer holidays, Cross-Country skiers remain hard at work to be in top shape for the upcoming season which will include three highlights: the 3rd FIS Tour de Ski, the 2009 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec (CZE) and the FIS World Cup Final in Sweden.
Callaghan Valley/Whistler Nordic Park
Several athletes from Norway, Sweden, Germany and the US travelled to Whistler after the end of the Cross-Country season, to inspect and train on the Olympic courses in Callaghan Valley/Whistler Nordic Park. "The better you know the terrain, the better you can perform on it. It's a matter of pacing yourself and learning the distances and the altitudes," explained the U.S. Cross-Country Head Coach Pete Vordenberg.
The official summer training kicked-off for most nations in early May. Several teams started with endurance and strength training on foot and bike, while others sought to extend the snow season. The Finnish team, including the overall World Cup winner Virpi Kuitunen, held its first ever training camp in Copenhagen (DAN) in May. At the beginning of June, they went to the famous Sognefjellet (NOR) for on-snow training and then headed, last week, to Vuokatti, for their first camp on home terrain.
Passo Tonale, Italy
The Czech team, including the FIS Tour de Ski and overall World Cup winner Lukas Bauer, started their training at Passo Tonale (ITA), while some Swedish athletes were on the island of Crete (GRE) and the Russian team travelled to Turkey. The Germans started training in the different training groups where for example cycling camps in the Allgäu region and in Tuscany (ITA) were on the schedule.
Several teams opted to stay close to home rather than earn some more frequent flyer miles. The Swiss started their preparations in Magglingen (SUI) and continued with on-snow glacier training in Les Diablerets (SUI). The Austrians, led by Head Coach Bernd Raupach, held their first camp on the Dachstein (AUT) glacier while the French had their official training camps in La Rosière/Col du Petit St. Bernhard and Tignes (FRA). The Norwegians had a training camp organized by “Olympiatoppen” in Steinkjer (NOR) together with Biathlon, Nordic Combined and Speed Skating disciplines, followed by a get-together in Oslo and an on-snow training camp in Sognefjellet (NOR). The Italians were at Passo Stelvio, later in June in Fiuggi (not far from Rome) and at the Roller Skiing World Cup in Piglio.
For the Australian Cross-Country Team, the situation is different as there the winter season is in full swing. The team just completed an on-snow training camp at Falls Creek, where skiing conditions have been excellent. The Cross-Country competition series in the southern hemisphere, the FIS Australia - New Zealand Cup (ANC) begins in August, with three events in New Zealand and four in Australia before concluding at the traditional Kangaroo Hoppet ski marathon at Falls Creek on 30th August.
In the northern hemisphere dry land training will continue. Some athletes will be adding some roller skiing and running events such as the Saku Suverull in Otepää (EST) on 15th-16th August. More on-snow training is on schedule in September/October on the glaciers or in the indoor ski tunnels.