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Behind the scenes: A passion for innovation

From the World Cup to YOUR race course. Photo: Stefano Zatta
From the World Cup to YOUR race course. Photo: Stefano Zatta

From the World Cup to YOUR race course. Photo: Stefano Zatta

How does Madshus apply World Cup technology to every product level?

Meet Svein Ivar Moen, the head of the Madshus ski testing department.

“I was born curious. I like to challenge the established conventions, and I look for ways to apply new and cutting edge innovation to all of our product lines,” the accomplished test technician says.

Moen came to Madshus in 2016, after more than 20 years as a wax technician and ski tester. From 1998 until 2014, he was the head wax tech with the Norwegian National Biathlon Team. But he has been the personal wax tech and equipment manager for Ole Einar Bjørndalen, the world’s most winning Olympic winter athlete to date, since 1997. Moen says the king of biathlon is a great partner in innovation.

“I’ve known Ole Einar Bjørndalen since we were 12 years old. We were buddies as kids, we went to the same high school, and working with him is great. He is demanding and he is a perfectionist. He is always looking to optimize everything, down to the last detail. If there are 50 factors and he does 49 of them perfectly, then he wants to improve the last one. I have the same approach to skis,” Moen says.

Ole Einar Bjørndalen (NOR) during a test camp at Sognefjellet. Photo: Madshus

Ole Einar Bjørndalen (NOR) during a test camp at Sognefjellet. Photo: Madshus

Not all development is progress
“There is innovation and development is basically just change. But change doesn’t necessarily mean progress. You always have to ask: Why are we doing this? Is this truly progress, or are we just making a new thing? This is harsh, and you have to be willing to discard projects you’ve spent a lot of time on, but it’s the only way you actually progress,” Moen says.

Next, he explains, you always have to stay focused on the task.

“It’s important to consider: who are we making the skis for, and what are their needs,” he says.

The World Cup is a test lab
Moen explains that World Cup racers and recreational skiers have different needs and requirements. However, he points out, that doesn’t mean recreational skiers don’t need a top of the line product.

“At Madshus we use the World Cup as our test lab. Everything we bring to the World Cup and test at the very highest level is considered for a broad range of skiers. We use the same geometries, technologies and construction methods for our World Cup skis, our race performance series and our recreational skis, but we adjust the skis properties, such as flex and camber, to fit the different skiers’ needs. Again, it comes down to making sure we serve their needs,” Moen says.

Check out the Madshus Champion ski line 

Testing at the FIS level. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Testing at the FIS level. Photo: Stefano Zatta

What drives you to develop new skis and technology, year after year?
“I have always been curious, and the only thing I know to be true is that there is no set answer to anything, especially when you are working with snow and ice. Conditions are constantly changing and what worked yesterday can be worthless today, even if the temperature is the same and the snow is still white,” says Moen, explaining that this is exactly what triggers him.

“I love the challenge of working with a constantly moving target. So often, things are done a certain way because it’s always been done that way. There are so many myths and a tradition for doing things a certain way without challenging why,” he says.

Moen is different.

“I try to mix the basics and the established principles with new ideas. I keep track, measure and try to get objective answers. And I’m never content. I want to improve.”

What inspires you?
“In one word: Progress. Things can always get better, and I want to find out how. My favorite quote is from the legendary Norwegian soccer coach Nils Arne Eggen: When everyone’s content and in agreement, there is no progress.”

Three double podiums

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) earned her first World Cup podium for the season when she won the 10km skate race in Davos (SUI) on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus
Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) earned her first World Cup podium for the season when she won the 10km skate race in Davos (SUI) on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) earned her first World Cup podium for the season when she won the 10km skate race in Davos (SUI) on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Madshus racers dominate both the biathlon and cross-country World Cup competitions on Sunday.

First, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) earn her first World Cup victory of the season, winning the 10-kilometer skate race in Davos (SUI) by five seconds.

“A race like this is what I train for every day of the year. I started out conservatively, and I really had no idea I was skiing all that fast, but the coaches kept telling me I as ahead. This was a fantastic day for me, and Davos is my favorite World Cup venue,” Østberg said after the race.

Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) snagged the last podium spot, her second World Cup podium this season.

The next FIS World Cup races take place in Toblach (ITA) on December 16-17.

Story continues below

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen skied the first leg for Norway at the IBU World Cup relay in Hochfilzen (AUT) on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen skied the first leg for Norway at the IBU World Cup relay in Hochfilzen (AUT) on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

At the IBU Biathlon World Cup relay, Ole Einar Bjørndalen helped Norway to a spectacular victory. The Norwegian team won by a 2-minute margin in the challenging conditions in Hochfilzen (AUT). Benedikt Doll skied the second leg for Germany, who was second after beating France by 40 seconds.

In the women’s relay, Vanessa Hinz skied the first leg for Germany and laid the foundation for first place, while Anais Bescond anchored France to third place.

The IBU World Cup now moves on to Annecy (FRA) on Dec 14 to 17 for the final round before Christmas.

Vanessa Hinz helped Germany to first place in the IBU World Cup relay in Hochfilzen (AUT) on Sunday. Photo: Nordic Focus

Vanessa Hinz helped Germany to first place in the World Cup relay in Hochfilzen (AUT). Photo: Nordic Focus

How to get 300 million Chinese on skis?

Ole Einar Bjørndalen (NOR) won four medals during the 2016 IBU World Championships on home turf in Oslo. Photo: Nordic Focus
Ole Einar Bjørndalen (NOR) won four medals during the 2016 IBU World Championships on home turf in Oslo. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ole Einar Bjørndalen (NOR) won four medals during the 2016 IBU World Championships on home turf in Oslo. Photo: Nordic Focus

Ole Einar Bjørndalen is headed for China.

As China is hosting Winter Olympics in 2022, the Chinese president Xi Jinping wants to increase the effort on skiing. His goal is to get 300 million Chinese on cross-country skis. This is why China recently launched the project campaign “Bring the kids to the snow.”

To help get the project off the ground, legendary biathlete Ole Einar Bjørndalen (NOR), the most winning winter Olympian to date with eight gold medals, four silver medals and one bronze medal, is named the ambassador or the Chinese campaign. Bjørndalen, who became a father for the first time himself in October 2016, is an important part of the plan.

“We simply want to teach the Chinese to ski. Madshus has a solid network in China, so the foundation for the project is already set. My job is to get the Chinese inspired and excited about skiing,” Bjørndalen says to the Swedish newspaper SportExpressen.

“China doesn’t have the same tradition and culture for skiing as we do in Norway and Sweden, but it’s all about creating positive experiences. The Madshus project in China is targeted at the recreational level, and not geared toward elite development for the 2022 Olympics,” Bjørndalen explains, and continues:

“Winter sports are still small compared to the summer sports. But if we can get more Chinese to compete in cross-country and biathlon, we have a real chance to make an impact that will benefit skiing in the long run. There are many nations competing already, but the pool of elite athletes in biathlon and cross-country skiing is still small compared to many of the summer sports.” There are far more Chines.

Bjørndalen will travel to China in the spring, but until then, his number-one priority is the 2018 Olympics in South Korea, which the 43-year-old says will be his last.

Ready for World Cup-Level Racing in July

Heidi Weng at Lysebotn OPP last summer. Photo: Blink

Heidi Weng at Lysebotn OPP last summer. Photo: Blink

The Blink ski festival in Sandnes (NOR) opens on Wednesday and is now the largest summer ski festival in the world.

Each year, more than a 100 of the top World Cup level skiers and biathletes take part in the BLINK events, including Ole Einar Bjørndalen, Krista Pärmäkoski, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg, Heidi Weng, Øystein Pettersen and more. The festival and events are also open to future stars, elite and amateur skiers, and more than 5000 kids are expected to stop by the kids’ world section to try out roller skiing and laser biathlon.

This year’s BLINK summer ski festival takes place from July 26 to July 29, and features a number of races and events, starting with the 60-kilometer Blink Classic classic roller ski race on July 26 that is a part of a brand new marathon roller ski world cup.

Next up is Lysebotn OPP on Thursday, July 27. The 7.5-kilometer uphill race is expected to be a fierce fight between Heidi Weng, Ingvild Flugstad Østberg and Krista Pärmäkoski – the Madshus’ turbo trio from the World Cup. Check out the start lists HERE

Friday July 28 and Saturday July 29 feature a number of cross-country and biathlon events in Sandnes city center, including sprints, super sprints and mass start races. Check out the complete schedule HERE

Kids get a chance to try their hand at biathlon. Photo: BLINK/ Axelar Svein Erik Fylkesnes

Kids get a chance to try their hand at biathlon. Photo: BLINK/ Axelar Svein Erik Fylkesnes

Wrapping up the World Cups

Heidi Weng (NOR), Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) swept the podium on the 7th stage of Ski Tour Canada. Photo: FIS
Heidi Weng (NOR), Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) swept the podium on the 7th stage of Ski Tour Canada. Photo: FIS

Heidi Weng (NOR), Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) and Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN) swept the podium on the 7th stage of Ski Tour Canada. Photo: FIS

The IBU biathlon World Cup wraps up the 2017 season in Holmenkollen, while cross-country returns to Canada for a 3-day mini tour this weekend.

Madshus podium girls Krista Pärmäkoski (FIN), Heidi Weng (NOR) and Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (NOR) returns to Canada for the final World Cup weekend of the season.

The mini tour opens with skate sprints for men and women on March 17, continues with 10km and 15km classic mass starts for women and men respectively on Saturday, and concludes with 10km and 15km pursuits on Sunday.

Heading into the mini tour world cup final in Quebec, Weng is leading the overall World Cup with a total of 1746 points. Pärmäkoski sits in second place with 1446 points, while Østberg is third with 1352 points total.

Weng also leads the distance World Cup, while Pärmäkoski is third.

Bitahlon party
For the biathlon racers, the 2017 World Cup will conclude in Holmenkollen (NOR), the host of the 2016 IBU World Championships. The weekend features sprint races for men and women on Friday, March 17, continues with men’s and women’s pursuit races on Saturday, and concludes with mass start events on Sunday.

Marte Olsbu (NOR) earned her first two World Championship medals in Oslo last year when she won the bronze medal in the mixed relay and then anchored Norway to gold in the women’s relay. Ole Einar Bjørndalen (NOR), who won three individual medals at the World Championships in Oslo last year, as well as helping Norway to gold in the men’s relay, is also looking forward to cap off the season on home turf.

Marte Olsbu (NOR) anchored Norway to gold in the relay at the 2016 IBU world championships in Oslo (NOR). Photo: Nordic Focus

Marte Olsbu (NOR) anchored Norway to gold in the relay at the 2016 IBU world championships in Oslo (NOR). Photo: Nordic Focus

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