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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

Inside the factory: Making use of summer

Peter Blom testing skis at Sjusjøen in April. Photo: Stefano Zatta
Peter Blom testing skis at Sjusjøen in April. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Testing skis is a science. Peter Blom at work during a test camp at Sjusjøen in April. Photo: Stefano Zatta

The snow may be melted, but the Madshus test crew never stops testing. Check out how they pick the perfect skis.

This time of the year, Peter Blom and his fellow Madshus test-crew members are testing and selecting over 1000 pairs of skis for the upcoming World Cup season.

“We have been testing extensively since this winter but the spring and early summer months are particularly intense. That’s when we go out with the national teams and try out many of the new models and bases that we have been working on, and try out the different grinds that we offer and find which run better in various temperatures and snow conditions,” Blom explains.

The extensive testing and data collection not only helps Blom and his crew pick the perfect skis for the World Cup racers. This also benefits skiers at all levels.

“There is really no difference between the skis we pick for the World Cup skiers and the skis you can buy at your local retailer. We pick from the same stock, all made right here at the Biri factory. Sometimes we try new prototypes on the World Cup circuit, just as a part of the testing, but everything that performs well will be available to the consumer market as soon as it has been proven perfect,” Blom says.

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Madshus racers are actively taking part in the testing processes, like here at Sognefjellet. Photo: Madshus.com

Madshus racers are actively taking part in the testing processes, like here at Sognefjellet. Photo: Madshus.com

Picking a thousand pairs of skis
The Madshus test crew selects skis for all the different national teams and elite skiers who order directly from the factory.

“We just finished picking skis for Russia, the Czech Republic, the Baltic countries and Japan and are shipping those to the distributors in the various countries. Earlier this spring, we selected skis for the elite Norwegian racers and several of the other national teams, so I estimate that we have picked about a thousand pairs so far. Once we have made the selection, we send the skis down to Roger Dahl in the grinding facility at the factory. He is the one who makes sure the skis get the correct grind according to what the teams have ordered,” Blom says, adding that only rarely do they get skis returned from the teams.

“We pick out skis based on the information the teams send us, and based on what we know about the skiers. We often meet them throughout the winter at various races and events, so over time, we get a good idea about which skis and models might be a good fit for the individual racers.”

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Photo: Stefano Zatta

Yet another set of test skis waiting. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Extensive experience
Blom explains that selecting the perfect skis is part science and part experience.

“There are a lot of theories out there on how to pick the right skis, but it’s not so easy to see which ski is the best just by looking at the stats for a certain ski model. Ultimately, it comes down to getting test skis on the snow, trying them in all kinds of conditions, making meticulous notes and keeping track of different skis, bases and grinds over time.”

Accordingly, Blom and his men ski a lot. They ski in sunshine and snow and rain, in cold and warm conditions, on dry snow and wet snow, at high altitudes and at sea level and everything in between.

“I ski at least a few times every week from August until the end of June. So when I go on summer vacation in July, I try not to ski,” he says with a laugh.

Svein Ivar Moen (left), Haakan Nordbäck and Peter Blom comparing their findings during a test camp at Sjusjøen this spring. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Svein Ivar Moen (left), Haakan Nordbäck and Peter Blom comparing their findings during a test camp at Sjusjøen this spring. Photo: Stefano Zatta

Back on the Podium

Heidi Weng at the 7.5km uphill skate race Lysebotn Opp on Thursday, where she was second. Photo: Blink2016
Heidi Weng at the 7.5km uphill skate race Lysebotn Opp on Thursday, where she was second. Photo: Blink2016

Heidi Weng at the 7.5km uphill skate race Lysebotn Opp on Thursday, where she was second. Photo: Blink2016

Madshus racers collected five podium finishes at the 2016 Blink Summer Ski Festival in Sandnes (NOR).

On Thursday July 28, Heidi Weng (NOR) pulled into second place in the brutal 7.5-kilometer uphill skate roller ski race Lysebotn Opp. In the men’s race, Madshus racer Simen Andreas Sveen (NOR) was third. Both men and women raced the same distance.

In the men’s 15km skate mass start on Friday, July 29, Pål Golberg (NOR) was third, only a tenth of a second behind second place and less than a second from first place.

Finally, in the women’s biathlon sprint finals on Saturday July 30, Anaïs Bescond (FRA) was second and Marthe Olsbu (NOR) was third.

Complete results all events 

However, the 2016 Blink Summer Ski Festival opened on Wednesday July 27 with the inaugural Blink Classic roller ski marathon in Sandnes where Madshus marathon racer Stian Hoelgaard (NOR) was just one second from the podium. The 62km classic roller ski race was the first event in a brand new international roller ski series. The next event in the 3-race series is Alliansloppet in Sweden August 19-21.

The 2016 edition of the annual summer roller ski festival in Sandnes event attracted over 1,200 skiers and biathletes from more than 20 nations to compete in a variety of roller ski events over the course of four days. Read more about the 2016 Blink Summer Ski Festival.

Summer Skiing: Ski Tunnels

Vuokatti (FIN) is home to the oldest ski tunnel in the world. Photo: Vuokatti.fi
Vuokatti (FIN) is home to the oldest ski tunnel in the world. Photo: Vuokatti.fi

Vuokatti (FIN) is home to the oldest ski tunnel in the world. Photo: Vuokatti.fi

Not everyone has access to glaciers, but there are other options for snow skiing in the summer.

There is nothing wrong with the ski tunnel in Torsby (SWE) or in Oberhof (GER), or anywhere else for that matter. In fact, the Torsby ski tunnel is one of Madshus standard test locations, a hangout for national teams, pro teams on the Ski Classics circuit, clubs and masters alike.

But there are other options. Vuokatti is well known to elite skiers, as the small town in east central Finland is host to the Finnish Ski Team training center and the FIS Scandinavian Cup, the race series that has been a stepping stone for racers aiming for the national teams and the World Cup. But while many skiers travel to Vuokatti in the winter, far fewer have experienced the town’s opportunities for dryland training.

As one of the Finnish national team training centers, Vuokatti offers state of the art opportunities for roller skiing, running and other dryland training methods, and a ski tunnel with 1.2-kilometers of groomed tracks and a fully equipped biathlon range. All of this is available in Torsby as well, but Vuokatti also offers indoor snowboarding with rails, jumps and other park features. The snowboarding section of the tunnel, which is 80 meters long and 20 meters wide, is also open to tubing and sledding. The Vuokatti ski tunnel was the first snow tunnel in the world, opening in 1998. The snowboarding department was added on in 2000.

Now that’s all great, but Vuokatti has a final trick up its sleeve: The Angry Birds Theme Park – an activity center with endless entertainment, a huge park with options for all ages and tastes. So if you’re planning a training camp and want convince the whole family to come along, this could be your secret weapon in gaining approval for the project.

Vuokatti (FIN) is known for reliable skiing conditions in the winter, great dryland training, a ski tunnel, and is home to the Finnish national teams. But Vuokatti also features the Angry Birds Theme Park. Photo: Vuokatti.fi

Vuokatti (FIN) is known for reliable skiing conditions in the winter, great dryland training, a ski tunnel, and is home to the Finnish national teams. But Vuokatti also features the Angry Birds Theme Park. Photo: Vuokatti.fi

Vuokatti, Finland.

Vuokatti, Finland.

ABOUT VUOKATTI
Where: The Sotkamo Region, east in Finland
Travel: Fly to Helsinki, then connect with domestic flight to Kajaani (roughly 1 hour) or take train/bus from Helsinki.

 

 

Race Ready Already

Ole Einar Bjørndalen at the Blink Summer Ski Festival. Photo: Blink
Ole Einar Bjørndalen at the Blink Summer Ski Festival. Photo: Blink

Ole Einar Bjørndalen at the Blink Summer Ski Festival. Photo: Blink

The annual BLINK summer ski festival is expecting World Cup racers from 17 nations.

It’s summer, but skiers have lots to look forward to long before the snow falls: The traditional BLINK summer ski festival in Sandnes (NOR) at the end of July attracts elite skiers and biathletes from all the top teams.

Madshus racers are among the top contenders in all disciplines, from marathon to cross-country and biathlon, sprint and uphill races.

The 2016 BLINK festival runs from July 27 to 30, with World Cup level racers from almost 20 nations: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Japan, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Austria, Italy, France, USA, Canada, Belgium, Bulgaria, Great Britain and Switzerland.

As of June 15, there 950 racers entered for the opening uphill race Lysebotn OPP and 1220 racers entered for the city center cross-country and biathlon competitions, including 15-20 national teams: 100 senior men cross-country, 50 senior women cross-country, 70 senior men biathlon, 50 senior women biathlon.

Among the top Madshus racers on the start list: Ingvild Flugstad Østberg (xc), Heidi Weng (xc), Pål Golberg (xc), Simen Andreas Sveen (xc), Ole Einar Bjørndalen (biathlon), Marte Olsbu (biathlon), all from Norway. Also, French biathlete Anaïs Bescond, German national team cross-country racers Hanna Kolb, Sandra Ringwald, Monique Siegel and Tim Tscharnke, as well as Swedish racers Markus Ottosson and Fredrik Bytröm.

Also, 240 racers are entered for the brand new Blink Classics long-distance roller ski race, and several of the professional marathon teams are present: Stian Hoelgaard (Team Leaseplan GO), Johan Kjølstad and John Kristian Dahl (Team United Bakeries), as well as Øystein Pettersen (Madshus Marathon team).

Heidi Weng in the Lysebotn Opp roller ski race last summer. Photo: Blink

Heidi Weng in the Lysebotn Opp roller ski race last summer. Photo: Blink

 

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