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Der "Fast-Heimsieg" der Neuseeländerin in Lake Louise
In der zweiten Abfahrt von Lake Louise triumphieren die seit vier Jahren in Kanada lebende Neuseeländerin Georgia Willinger und der Kanadier Tyler Werry.

Näin ylivoimainen Hannu Manninen oli avauskilpailussaan – sai heti mieluisan palkinnon
Suomen yhdistetyn A-maajoukkueryhmä on jo valittu Lahden maailmancupin kisoihin 7.–8. tammikuuta 2017.
Lahden MM-kisojen suomalaistoivo sai iltapäivällä todella ikäviä uutisia – ”Ärräpäät lentelivät”
Yhdistetyn maailmancupin erinomaisesti aloittanut Eero Hirvonen on loukkaantunut.
Fabienne Suter muss rund einen Monat pausieren
Nächster Ausfall bei Swiss Ski. Fabienne Suter muss nach einer Arthroskopie am rechten Knie mehrere Wochen pausieren.

With Nordgren’s Freak Injury, U.S. Men’s Biathlon Team Down to Three
Tim Burke (left) and Leif Nordgren zeroing their rifles prior to the start of the men's 10 k on Thursday Nov. 10 at this year's Biathlon Canada team selection time trial races at Frozen Thunder in Canmore, Alberta. (Photo: Matthias Ahrens)

US Biathlon teammates Leif Nordgren (left) and Tim Burke zeroing their rifles prior to the start of the men’s 10 k sprint on Frozen Thunder in Canmore, Alberta, in November. Nordgren briefly joined Burke and his U.S. teammates on the World Cup before having to fly back to the United States for surgery on his toe. (Photo: Matthias Ahrens)

The U.S. men’s biathlon team was already starting the World Cup season with a man down: Sean Doherty, the several-time World Youth and Junior Champion and 2014 Olympian, who had come down with mononucleosis.

But the team is now down to just three men after fellow 2014 Olympian Leif Nordgren had to have surgery on his toe after an incident with a treadmill.

Until January at least, that leaves just Lowell Bailey, Tim Burke and Russell Currier sporting the purple-and-orange suits of the United States on the sport’s biggest stage. It also leaves them without a relay team on Sunday in Pokljuka, Slovenia.

“It’s definitely disappointing to sit out a relay, but unfortunately, that is what we will have to do next weekend,” Bailey wrote in an email this past Sunday. “I think both of them will be back in force after the new year, so our whole focus now will be on the last half of the season, and a podium at World Champs… that’s what we are all aiming for!”

Paul Schommer, who was on the short list for a World Cup spot before Currier was selected, would have been the next logical man to add to the roster, but the team decided against it.

“We discussed the option to bring another man over, but we felt that the heavy travel and the race schedule as well at World Cups 2 and 3 did not justify getting someone out of the middle of a training block in Canmore,” U.S. Biathlon Chief of Sport Bernd Eisenbichler wrote in an email. “We only have one relay in the first trimester… We always try to look at individual best development options, as long as we are not missing more than one relay of course.”

Leif Nordgren leaving the range in Sunday's mixed relay in Ostersund, Sweden. The United States team finished tenth. (Photo: US Biathlon / NordicFocus)

Leif Nordgren leaving the range in last year’s mixed relay in Ostersund, Sweden (Photo: US Biathlon/NordicFocus)

Nordgren’s injury actually happened just before he left the U.S. for the opening weekend of World Cup racing in Östersund, Sweden.

“The way it happened was kind of a freak accident,” he explained in an email. “I was doing intervals on the [rollerski] treadmill. After one interval I got off to take a lactate sample. The treadmill was still coming down from its incline though and squished my toe into the floor. Conveniently the treadmill turned off at that point and it took 30-45 seconds to turn it back on and raise it back up.”

Nordgren was initially told that he was fine to travel, train, and race, so he flew to Sweden, where he competed in the single mixed relay with Joanne Reid, finishing 19th.

“It definitely hurt pretty bad to train and race on it last week,” he admitted.

Afterwards, he went to the hospital in Sweden, where X-rays revealed that he had actually fractured the toe. Because it was an open fracture, surgery was needed. Nordgren opted to fly back to the U.S. for the procedure.

“The main reason to do the surgery was to make sure the fracture didn’t get infected,” he wrote. “When there is a fracture near an open wound (my toe was cut as it was squished) they call it an open fracture. If the fracture and bone get infected it can be very bad, as in amputate bad. Basically it was a better safe than sorry scenario.”

After the surgery, news came back that cultures taken from the fracture did show the presence of Staphylococcal bacteria, which can cause infection and major complications. Nordgren joked on his blog that if he hadn’t had surgery to clean out the wound and the infection had proceeded, he would probably be down to nine toes. He is now on a course of antibiotics which should prevent further problems.

“Now that they did find that staph bacteria I think everyone is happy we did the surgery,” Nordgren wrote in an email.

In terms of his prognosis, he does anticipate being back to the World Cup in January.

“I had surgery on Friday, everything went ok with that and now I am back in Lake Placid area recovering for the next few weeks,” he wrote on Monday. “Recovery is expected to be pretty short, hopefully in the 2 week range.  I should be able to start doing some upper body training before then though, but as of now with the surgery still quite fresh I just have to stick to the couch with my foot up.”

Recovery stroll. #snow #winter #neature #bordercollie #adirondacks

A photo posted by Leif Nordgren (@lcnordgren) on

As for Doherty, he raced in the NorAm mass start in Canmore, Alberta, on Sunday, placing seventh (+3:03.3 behind winner Paul Schommer) with four penalties.

“Sean did have a quite fast and real good recovery,” Eisenbichler wrote. “Our doctors and coaches did a great job to find  the right plan for him. He will do the full camp in Canmore and then if all continues to go well, he will go to [IBU Cup] trials races in Minnesota (not for trials or qualification reason, but to get some racing in). We expect to have him back for World Cup 4 in Oberhof, but more can be said and known after completion of the Canmore Camp.”

— Alex Kochon contributed reporting

The post With Nordgren’s Freak Injury, U.S. Men’s Biathlon Team Down to Three appeared first on FasterSkier.com.

Une année chargée pour les soeurs Dufour-Lapointe
Il serait facile pour les soeurs Dufour-Lapointe, compte tenu du succès qu'elles ont obtenu en ski acrobatique au cours des dernières années, de regarder très loin devant. Après tout, quand les podiums olympiques et aux mondiaux s'accumulent, la saison de la Coupe du monde peut paraître triviale. Ce serait bien mal connaître Maxime, Chloé et Justine.
VIDEO. Alexis Pinturault, l’ogre des neiges
SKI. Médaillé de bronze en Géant aux Jeux Olympiques de Sotchi (2014) et aux Mondiaux de Beaver Creek (2015), vainqueur de la Coupe du monde de Super combiné (2016), 16 fois victorieux en Coupe du monde, Alexis Pinturault est l’un des meilleurs skieurs au monde. Complet, technique, intense, enragé parfois, l’homme de Courchevel (25 ans) n’a qu’un objectif : le gros globe de cristal de la Coupe du monde. Un objectif après lequel il court encore cette saison face à son grand rival, Marcel Hirscher.
VIDEO. Alexis Pinturault, l’ogre des neiges
US Biathlon’s Clare Egan: Calm, Cool and on the Rise
Clare Egan gliding along during the 2015 IBU World Cup season. She finished the year ranked 66th overall. (Photo: USBiathlon/Nordic Focus)

Clare Egan (US Biathlon) tucking and gliding during a 2015 IBU World Cup. She finished the 2015/2016 season ranked 66th overall. (Photo: USBiathlon/NordicFocus)

On Sunday, Nov. 27, the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup kicked offin Östersund, Sweden, with a mixed relay. Two men and two women from a single nationality comprised each team. Team USA was represented by Lowell Bailey, Tim Burke, Susan Dunklee, and Clare Egan. The U.S. team placed eighth.

Bailey, Burke, Dunklee — even if you are a casual fan of biathlon in North America, they’re recognizable names. 

Egan is relatively new to the scene. 2016/2017 marks only her second full-time season on the World Cup. That’s remarkable when you consider this: other than a session or two at summer camp, she first picked up a rifle at the age of 25. She’s now 28. Her being picked as a member of the relay team t0 start the season is a sign her teammates and coaches have faith. 

Clare Egan (US Biathlon) racing to 30th in the women's 10 k pursuit at the IBU World Cup in Östersund, Sweden. (Photo: USBA/NordicFocus)

Clare Egan (US Biathlon) racing to 30th in the women’s 10 k pursuit at the IBU World Cup in Östersund, Sweden. (Photo: USBA/NordicFocus)

Still at the first World Cup stop in Östersund a week later, Egan racked up her second-best pursuit result this past Sunday, Dec. 4. She finished 30th after starting 44th (her placing in the sprint the day before).

“My wax crew did an excellent job today and definitely gave me an advantage – I was gliding past everyone on the downhills so I was able to pick up a few places just from having the fast skis…,” Egan wrote in an email to FasterSkier after Sunday’s 10 k race. “I was able to fight for top-30 on my last lap and won a sprint between 4 people in the finish. I’m proud of all my results from this week and looking forward to learning from these experiences and moving up throughout the season!”

New to the sport only a few years back, Egan had a steep learning curve. As FasterSkier podcast listeners learned, Egan attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts; a school with a club cross-country skiing program. No D-1. She graduated in 2010.

In 2011, Egan joined the Craftsbury Green Racing Project. By 2014 she was a member of US Biathlon’s development program. Now, she’s a member of the US Biathlon A-team.

So back to that learning curve.

Warning! Math equation coming.

y = mx + b.

That equation describes in mathematical terms both the direction (positive or negative), and gradient of a line. In Egan’s case, if we were illustrating her rise in the sport with a line, let’s just say it’s positive and steep.

FasterSkier reached Egan by phone in late October while she was in Canmore, Canada, for a three-week training camp. During the conversation, Egan focused on how she could improve as a biathlete. She finished last season ranked 66th overall on the IBU World Cup.

“I continue to work on improving my shooting accuracy as well as my shooting speed,” Egan said of how she can improve in the standings. “I met my goal of shooting an average of 80 percent hits on the World Cup last year. But I hope to improve upon that this year and be shooting for 85 percent, which is a lofty goal, but I think I can do it.”

Along with improved shooting, Egan remarked that she wanted to maintain her higher-end skiing speed throughout the season. Most biathletes, unlike some cross-country skiers on the World Cup, don’t specialize in say either sprint or distance events. The race season offers more opportunities to race. That increased racing load brings with it the possiblity of fatiguing, and dulling that turbo-charged race-specific gear.

“Last year I started out real strong and then I had a fairly significant trough in the middle of the season and then came back pretty well for World Cup 8 and World Championships,” Egan said of her desire to achieve fewer peaks and valleys when it comes to results. “But I would like to see more consistent results basically over the course of the season. And I think that my experience from last year as well as my training that I have put in this year will allow me to do that — last year was the first time that I had done a full world cup season.”

From an outsider’s perspective, it appears biathlon is a sport rife with tense nerves; there’s the race-pace skiing and laser focus required for shooting. Together they seem incongruous. Like timed needle threading after a sprint up the stairs.  

Yet Egan said as a developing biathlete, the nerves part of the equation remains under control most of the time. “I think actually as a brand-new biathlete you really don’t have as many nerves,” she said. “You have no pressure, no expectations, in fact your only expectation is that you will probably miss most of the targets. So there’s not so much to be nervous about.”

Clare Egan (US Biathlon) during her standing stage of the women's 4 x 6 k relay at the 2015 IBU World Cup in Presque Isle, Maine. Her team went on to place 10th for a season best. (Photo: USBA/NordicFocus)

Clare Egan (US Biathlon) during her standing stage of the women’s 4 x 6 k relay at the 2015 IBU World Cup in Presque Isle, Maine. Her team went on to place 10th for a season best. (Photo: USBA/NordicFocus)

In other situations, as she matures in the sport, the nerves do occasionally manifest. “Certainly as you improve and like now I am racing internationally, I am representing my country, I am representing my team, sometimes I am on the relay with much more experienced athletes — that’s when nervousness and pressure set in at a much higher degree.”

Entering the season, Egan also ruminated on the emotional aspects of the sports. “Every biathlete has to deal with crazy up and downs, way beyond what nordic skiers experience, and that is something you definitely have to learn to deal with,” she said. “There is no way, as a cross-country skier, that you go from the top 10 to 80th — but that happens all the time in biathlon. There is no easy answer. There is no easy way to deal with that.”

The season is young. Egan’s goals remain lofty yet modest. For her, success equates to improvement. Be it shooting speed, shooting accuracy, skiing speed, or skiing technique, she’s open to improving across the board. Ranked among the top 50 biathletes in the world will be a tangible metric, she says, or her hard work.  

***

We asked Egan to give a go at our ’17 questions for 2017′. Here are her responses:

1. Biggest change in your life in the last five or so months since the ski season ended?

I moved out of the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center and into an apartment with my boyfriend, Erik. This is the first time in my life as an athlete that my home has been separate from my “workplace,” and it has improved my quality of life as well as my ability to mentally and physically recover from training. I am especially enjoying cooking and eating homemade food!

2. Biggest change in your training?

Relative to last year, my training plan this year had less intensity over the first three months, which allowed me to increase the overall volume. I am also doing a more comprehensive strength program.

3. Major areas of improvement you’ve seen so far?

I’ve seen improvement in my shooting accuracy and speed, especially at low heart rate. The next step is putting that into practice at high intensity.

4. Whom you’ve been working closest with this offseason (coaches or training partners)?

I am coached primarily by the national team women’s head coach, Jonne Kähkönen.  As for training partners, I’ve been getting to know Maddie Phaneuf pretty well! We are regularly joined by our national teammates Susan Dunklee and Joanne Reid, as well as a handful of up-and-coming biathletes including Emily Dreissigacker and Hallie Grossman from the Craftsbury GRP, Chloe Levins and Jennie Bender.

5. Best trip in the last five months (and why)?

Best training trip was to Bend, Oregon. Anywhere with that much sun and snow is a very special place.

Best vacation was to the Turks and Caicos Islands with Erik, where we stayed at a Club Med resort and did tons of water sports and learned trapeze! And I love going home to Cape Elizabeth, Maine any chance I get — I went three times this summer.

6. Favorite cross-training?

Tennis and badminton!

7. Favorite non-athletic activity or pastime this summer?

Floating on my large inflatable pink piglet on Mirror Lake or tending to my garden vegetables and flowers.

8. Song that was your jam this summer?

That would have to be “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by J.T.

9. All-time favorite race moment?

One day that changed the course of my life was in February of 2010 when I qualified for NCAA’s as an independent skier from Wellesley College. I never seriously considered training year-round for cross-country skiing until that moment.

10. First thing you pack in your bag when you leave for Europe?

Rain pants — I’ve never been more thankful for a single item of clothing. Getting soaked as you lie on the shooting mat in the prone position is not fun! And my lucky pigs.

11. Venue/event you’re most excited to visit this season?

If all goes well, I will be racing in PyeongChang, South Korea at the pre-Olympic World Cup. I have never been to Asia and would be thrilled to see a new part of the world and feast on Korean food!

12. Who will win the men’s and women’s World Cup titles this year?

Martin Fourcade and Laura Dahlmeier. Susan Dunklee in the top 10!

13. Biggest sacrifice you feel you’ve made choosing this career path?

I live far away from most of my friends and family and my travel schedule causes me to miss more weddings and other important events than I would with a “normal” job.

14. If you could change one thing about your sport, what would it be?

I wish biathlon were more accessible to American athletes and audiences. The catch twenty-two is that Olympic medals would bring attention to our sport and inspire more athletes to try it, but without a huge pool of athletes, it is hard to achieve that level of international success. Despite the current small number of American biathletes, several are World Cup medalists who are well-prepared to medal in the 2018 Olympics, so that could spark a wave of greater publicity and involvement.

15. What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Black tea, two pieces of bread with Norwegian brown cheese (gjetost), and a homemade coconut chocolate truffle.

16. In 5 years, I’ll be ____?

…in a completely different chapter of my life, the specifics of which are TBD, but could range from working overseas with the foreign service to nursing a babe in the ‘burbs while teaching high-school Spanish and coaching girls’ track.

17. In 50 years, I’ll be ____?

If I am lucky enough to be alive as I approach 80, I hope I will look back on this sliver of my life with pride, knowing that I did my best work, that the glory outweighed the frustration, and that I lived fully in the richness of this experience.

The post US Biathlon’s Clare Egan: Calm, Cool and on the Rise appeared first on FasterSkier.com.

17 Questions for 2017: Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt
Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt and Stuart Harden outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia, this fall. (Courtesy photo)

Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt (r) and Stuart Harden outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia, this fall. (Courtesy photo)

Welcome to “17 Questions for 2017”, where we are catching up with American and Canadian national-team members before the beginning of the winter season.

***

Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt ended last season on a high note: Canada’s 2015 World Championships team member won the sprint qualifier and placed second in the final at Canadian National Championships. The 24-year-old member of Cross Country Canada’s U25 Team had to take a pause this summer, however, after suffering a stress fracture.

Bouffard-Nesbitt returned to rollerskiing this fall and has already raced in Canmore, finishing second in both the Frozen Thunder skate sprint qualifier and the Alberta Cup 6.3 k interval-start classic race.

1. Biggest change in your life in the last five or so months since the ski season ended?

The disbanding of the Bad Panda Love Shack, BPLS, i.e. losing two of my roomies to Saskatchewan and Halifax, and then having to move houses.

2. Biggest change in your training?

Bouffard-Nesbitt on her first rollerski of the year, when the leaves on the aspens were already turning gold. (Courtesy photo)

Bouffard-Nesbitt on her first rollerski of the year, when the leaves on the aspens were already turning gold. (Courtesy photo)

I was on crutches this summer and it really affected my training. I didn’t do any weight bearing training for 3 months (just swimming, spinning, and upper body strength.) It’s maybe the longest I’ve ever gone without being on snow (end of March until October) or doing anything ski specific for that matter.

3. Major areas of improvement you’ve seen so far?

Upper body strength! There are always gains to be made in times of adversity and positives to come out of otherwise crappy situations. I’ve always wanted to get stronger, and the swimming really helped towards achieving my summer goal of getting “jacked” shoulders.

4. Whom you’ve been working closest with this offseason (coaches or training partners)?

Because of my injury I hardly spent any time around my team. I would definitely say I worked closest with my support team who played an important role in my healing — my strength coach Shelley, massage therapists Jodi and Scott, my osteo Shayne and my physio Sarah. I’m really grateful for how much they helped me through the summer.

5. Best trip in the last five months (and why)?

I recently came back from spending a week in Halifax visiting my boyfriend at The University of King’s College! It was the best. We watched a Halifax Mooseheads game (You just can’t stop the Moose!).

6. Favorite cross-training?

Running/ hiking up mountains, for sure.

7. Favorite non-athletic activity or pastime this summer?

Brainstorming sessions and talking big ideas with the big boss, Peter.

8. Song that was your jam this summer?

"We raced the first two laps pretty hard. I was happy with it … But then my legs were just so burned. I wish I could have fought harder at the end, but my legs just wouldn’t let me. ... Every day I get to keep starting a race in the Tour is a privilege, and I am excited to go to Canmore." - Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt in the Ski Tour Canada

Canada’s Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt (52) racing at the Ski Tour Canada last March.

September by Earth Wind and Fire. It was actually the first song I danced to after I finally got rid of my crutches (which was right at the end of August). It was fitting, and I love that song so much. It was one of the best solo kitchen boogie down’s ever.

9. All-time favorite race moment?

There are a few that share the top spot, but I’ll go with – the utter chaos that was the first 3 km of the Montreal Ski Tour Canada mass start race. The combination of the snow conditions, the crashes and pile ups and the downhills…I was just dodging people left and right, having the time of my life. I live for that!

10. First thing you pack in your bag when you leave for Europe?

My race day essentials, starting with my race suit.

11. Venue/event you’re most excited to visit this season?

My race schedule is not set in stone, so I’m not totally sure where I’ll be heading. For starters, I’m looking forward to racing in Soldier Hollow – also know as the venue where Canadian LEGEND Beckie Scott won Canada’s first ever xc Olympic medal. I should probably ask her for some tips before I leave.

12. Who will win the World Cup title this year?

"I spent a day at the Viking canoe/kayak club near my hometown, where I used to coach kids as a summer job." (Courtesy photo)

“I spent a day at the Viking canoe/kayak club near my hometown, where I used to coach kids as a summer job.” (Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt courtesy photo)

No one can know such things. I’d love to see some North Americans in the top spots in both the men’s and women’s competitions. If you want to know which Norwegian I’m rooting for (other than Marit), it’s Heidi Weng. I’d very much like to be friends with her.

13. Biggest sacrifice you feel you’ve made choosing this career path?

Everyday I’m grateful that I am living every ski bum’s dream.

14. If you could change one thing about your sport, what would it be?

I would raise the minimum permissible race temperature from -20C to -15C to better protect athletes’ lungs from unnecessary damage. And, to add to what’s already been said by many fellow racers, I would place a really strong moral compass in every athlete to keep them from doping or cheating.

15. What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Oatmeal, red fife (shout out to Vigilante Rising) and a smoothie.

16. In 5 years, I’ll be ____?

At the top of my game. People will be speculating if I’ll retire as the greatest, most famous, most winningest female skier that Morin-Heights, QC has ever produced.

17. In 50 years, I’ll be ____?

In search of snow, probably back to wearing therapeutic shoes again because my feet will be so achey for so many reasons.

Canadian Olivia Bouffard-Nesbit of the Alberta World Cup Academy races to a ninth place finish during the women's 20 k freestyle mass start at 2016 U.S. National Championships in Houghton, Michigan. (Photo: Christopher Schmidt)

Canadian Olivia Bouffard-Nesbit of the Alberta World Cup Academy races to a ninth-place finish during the women’s 20 k freestyle mass start at 2016 U.S. National Championships in Houghton, Michigan. (Photo: Christopher Schmidt)

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