Friday, March 15, 2013


The Holmenkollen races are pretty wonderful. This year should be a Norwegian sweep, but I would love to see some North Americans - Harvey, Stephens, Diggins, maybe even Randall and Kershaw - in the top 10. And though the Oslo races always portend the end of the ski racing season, I'm very excited about next season. Good NorAm results, an exciting World Championships, and no doping (so far) means that the year of the Putinolympics should be great.

My picks for Holmenkollen (made, unfortunately, in advance of a final women's start list):

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Big Distances

The relays were amazingly fun to watch, more so than in many years thanks to the strong performances by the American women (so close: how many days till the Sochi relay?) and the insane hijinks on the anchor leg of the men's race. And while the relays are great spectacles, I love the long-distance finales. Back in 2005, I started paying attention to ski racing again after seeing the great 30k and 50k at Oberstdorf: Marit Bjørgen skied the rest of the field off her tails to win the women's race, and Frode Estil blew up a big pack in the last 5,000 meters to drag Odd-Bjørn Hjelmeset and Anders Aukland to the podium. Great races, through and through.

I hope the Val di Fiemme equivalents will be half as good. I think Johaug is just too strong right now for anyone to beat. Bjørgen might do it, of course, but I expect a replay of the Olso Worlds: Johaug relentlessly working the hills and getting away fairly late. Not even Kowalczyk will keep up.

On the men's side, the race will almost certainly come down to a sprint finish which you-know-who will win. Before that, though, I think some hard men like Olsson and Harvey will try to get away - only to be reeled in by Northug.