Inside the factory: Check out who’s making your skis
Since last summer, former World Champion and Olympian Lars Berger has been working full-time in the Madshus factory in Biri, Norway.
Berger’s main job is adjusting the flex and tuning the properties on both skate, classic and double-pole skis, a task that requires true craftmanship and ski smart, as well as keen attention to detail and a passion for perfection.
Once he got the hang of the technical equipment and the ways to tune the skis, the 41-year-old is putting his experience and knowledge from two decades at the World Cup level in both biathlon and cross-country to good use.
“I know from my own career how the best skis behave in different conditions and terrain, so by using my experience and apply some logic, I can help produce skis that fill exactly the needs that people have. That’s really exciting to me,” says Berger, who is working both on skis targeted to specific elite athletes as well as skis that will be shipped to retailers and shops.
“The adjustments and the tuning we do on the flex are based on quite simple principles, but several of the elite racers have very specific requests for their skis, and by tuning the flex we can make those happen. But regardless of who’s on the receiving end, I really love producing the skis that people want”,” he explains.
Before retiring from the World Cup level, Berger picked up no less than four World Championship gold medals: three in cross-country skiing and one in biathlon, and a silver medal in biathlon from the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver (CAN). He also has seven World Cup victories and six national championship titles on his resume.
The past few years, Berger has been coaching the Norwegian para national teams in both biathlon and cross-country skiing, as well as being the assistant manager at a local grocery store near his home in Øyer, just north of Lillehammer. Berger is still coaching part-time, while working full-time at the Madshus factory.
“I no longer have any overall team responsibilities, but I have one biathle te on the para national team who I really want to keep coaching for as long as he wants to race,” Berger says.
QUICK FACTS: Lars Berger
Birthdate: 1.mai, 1979
IBU World Championships
1 Gold (relay 2009)
4 Silver (10km sprint 2009, relay 2007, 15km mass start 2004, relay 2004)
IBU World Cup
7 World Cup victories (2003, two in 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2013) all in the sprint competition
4 Gold (20km 2003, 10km sprint and pursuit 2004, 10km sprint 2013)
1 Silver (relay 2010)
FIS World Championships
3 Gold (15km F, relay 2007, relay 2005)
2 Gold (30km 2003, relay 2008)