Saturday, March 17, 2012

On track skiing and the Lahti Ski Games

In contrast to the road and off track skiing we did at Kaukopartiohiihto we also did a little skiing at the Lahti sports center and at the ski trails in neighboring Hollola. These trails might be a little more like what you think of when you think of cross country skiing. Freshly groomed corduroy and set classic tracks. Needless to say this is the worst kind of luxury for someone from Iowa. It makes you think that if only someone would make some nice groomed trails maybe you too could be a contender.

These are the same trails where, while we were at KPH, world class skiers (including Kikkan Randall) were racing. In fact, the days before the race when we skied there we were skiing right alongside those skiers who were testing skis and getting warmed up for the races.
(more skis than I'll ever have)

These trails also made it clear to me just how bad of a skier I am. My classic technique is bad and skating is even worse. I suppose I shouldn't feel too bad. I don't have trails like this near home and have only been skating for a year (and a bad snow year at that).
(just a few of the fastest skiers in the world)

Since I cut our KPH experience short we were able to spectate at some of the Ski Games events including the ski jumping final and the 1.4k classic sprint races. Ski jumping is something I had never actually expected to see in person so that was a treat. All I can say is that the jumpers make it look easy. I expect that when you get to the top of the hill it doesn't look so easy anymore.
(he's there in the center of the photo)

Watching the sprint race reminded me how much different the on piste skiing is from the off track skiing we had been doing the previous day. On track skiing is all about double poling. So much so that the Vasaloppet was won this year by a skier without grip wax on his classic skis. He double poled the whole 90km. I have always been taught that since my legs are larger than my arms I should be using them to ski, a philosophy I agree with, but good double polers use their abdominal muscles more than their arms anyway. I'll work on my double poling (it needs it), but I don't think I'll ever be converted over from the kick and glide.
(now that's double poling!)

Note: The good photos were taken by Jani, the bad ones by me.


MrDaveyGie said...

Nice pictures, and the one, at the top of your blog, draws me to want to be there....

Janne K said...

You can watch Vasaloppet and all ski classic contests at their website (not sure if there are any regional restrictions). Real double-poling.

Best Finnish skier at this years Vasaloppet, Teemu Virtanen(tv producer and host) was placed 99. He lived almost 20 years in USA(he got cross-country skiing related stipend at University of Reno early 90's, but after two years of studying he moved to Hollywood). He used to do some sand-cross-country skiing at Venice beach. In 2010 he did 24h nordic skiing world record(~430km) at age of 43.

Matt Maxwell said...

Dave, I can't take credit for that photo. Jani took it with my camera, but it makes me want to be there too.

Janne, I looked into sand skiing, but the longest beach around here is about 100m. I guess I have 10 years to train and beat his 24 hour record. :)

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