Thursday, March 31, 2011

Skiers to Watch in 2011-2012

Trying to dig a little deeper than the Harvey-Kalla group, I've come up with a short list of some young(ish) skiers who I think are worth watching. Additions are welcome...

Who: Finn Hågen Krogh (21 years old)
Where: Norway
Why: Capping a good season of Scandinavian Cup racing (and building on some good World Juniors results), he won the last stage of the WC Finale at Falun, finishing second in the Finale overall to Mr. Norway, Petter Northug. Like the 'Thug, Krogh has some brass balls, claiming that he can be as good as Northug.

Who: Kevin Sandau (22 years old)
Where: Canada
Why: With a mess of good Nor-Am Cup results, and some great results in Canadian (and American!) national championship races, Sandau looks to be a great distance racer in the making. With the Canadian team on a decided upward curve over the last several years (Kershaw and Harvey both finished in the top 10 of the WC overall this season), I've inclined to think that Sandau is going to emerge as a great racer.

Petr Sedov (20 years old)
Where: Russia
Why: Garnering a bunch of top-10s on the World Cup circuit, Belov also finished 13th on the WC overall, ahead of better known racers like di Centa, Harvey, Vittoz, and Johnsrud Sundby. Having dominated the World Junior Championships in 2009 and 2010, he seems poised to be a top-five distance racer for a long time.

Who: Tim Tscharnke (21 years old)
Where: Germany
Why: Mostly unknown on the World Cup, Tscharnke does already have a silver in the team sprint from Vancouver, and suggests having the same mix of distance guts and closing speed that Teichmann and Angerer had a few years ago.

Who: Jessie Diggins (19 years old)
Where: USA
Why: Still maturing and far from her fastest, she still had excellent North American results (U.S. national champ in the sprint, third in the 30k classic mass start, plus wins in various other events) and some good international results: seventh in the 5k classic and a 12th in the pursuit at Junior Worlds (both dramatic improvements over her results at 2010 WJC). She's the best young American skier, and looks to be lining up for a long-term slot on the USSA team. Plus: she's a Minnesotan!

Who: Ida Ingemarsdotter (25 years old)
Where: Sweden
Why: A bit older than the other racers here, Ingemarsdotter had a near-breakout season: two medals at Worlds (silver in the relay [in which she skied the second-fastest scramble leg] and gold in the team sprint) plus a slew of top 10s in the WC, including a marvelous fourth in the Stockholm sprint. If she can keep her upward momentum going, she'll be a solid all-around racer for quite a few years.

Who: Therese Johaug (22 years old)
Where: Norway
Why: Go-haug is a killer, that's why. Her runaway gold in the 30k at Olso was teh best race of the World Championships and her first-even senior-level win, but she followed it up with a win in the Lahti pursuit the next week. She has a bunch of other WC podium finishes, including first-place finishes in the Tour de Ski Final Climb. If she can early a few points in the spring - a discipline she's promised to work on - she will be a top-five overall skier forever. If she can early lots of points in the sprint, she might be dominant. Plus and so, her gaudy gold Swix parka was auctioned off at Worlds for 186,000 Norwegian kroner or USD 36,72.51 - all of which she donated to cancer research.

Who: Krista Lahteenmaki (20 years old)
Where: Finland
Why: In her first full season on the World Cup, she earned four individual top-tens and two medals at Worlds (in the relay and team sprint). As good in freestyle as she is in classic, she's also got a ferocious urge to attack. She's the heir apparent to Aino-Kaisa Saarinen, who's twelve years her senior.


Anonymous said...

Awesome post - loving it!
I'm feeling Lenny Valjas on the mens side, and Barbara Jezersek on the womens.
Gotta support the Slovenains now that Petra 'fucking nuts' Majdic is gone...

Anonymous said...

Sedov and Belov from the Russians, definitely. T. Northug...maybe. I know i should probably be writing this in your previous post, but I've just learned that Angerer and Filbrich are retiring. Filbrich has a wife and kid, and he had those priorities. Angerer was just lacking in motivation and will become a pro golfer(?) in the near future, as that is one of his big hobbies, outside of skiing.

Christopher Tassava said...

Filbrich's retirement is for real, but I think Angerer's is an April Fools joke...

Anonymous said...

Haha, wow, you are right! I went back there to the site to check it out again, and it wasn't there! Now there was a post-'post' Should have read the whole thing before making my comment. Another good April Fool's story is this one:
I almost got tricked by that one as well!