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Olympic Tech Notes and Tidbits

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hopefully, I can get some 'front line' tidbits from Rick Weissenborn of Briko-Maplus and Tools4Boards to share. It's doubtful however, since he's currently running 3 wax cabins and has been involved with the Canadian 'Own The Podium' program. In the past, it's been interesting to hear about various national team testing and the rare WC results and what was used.

From Toko's eBlasts, you can receive daily insights of the conditions of various events. Here's Toko's Race Wax Tips. I'll try to post them as they are received. If anyone else catches or receives any insights they hear, receive or know, please share.

Apparently there are parameters from techs (from Toko):

Quote:

We are subject like all other equipment companies to the regulations of the IOC and not until after the Olympics can such success stories be related with pictures and text.

Toko eBlast, February 12:
132.jpg
Quote:

Steffen Hoos, aka "Hoosie", Toko's International Race Service Manager

Hello!
Today is the day of the opening of the Games. From tomorrow, the biggest sporting event in the world begins. All athletes, trainers and coaches have worked four years for this event. The closer the day-X moves, the more clearly you can feel for the tightness of all the protagonists.
Today the weather was changeable. On the sunny morning and afternoon, it rained at temperatures of +2 ° C.
Tomorrow will be the first competition of the biathletes and Men's much awaited departure. It is unclear whether they will be held at the hervorgesagten forecast, with poor visibility and Windböhen. Let's hope for the best.
Unfortunately, the weather plays an unusually critical role. Locals report that for 70 years was not so hot at this time of year.
At the Toko team all is going very well. Heinz Kolly our Alpine specialist gets up every tomorrow 5 clock 30, to supply on time all the teams with the necessary information. Just as in the Nordic Venue, each team gets an accurate forecast, which we receive from Bern metot every day for all the venues via email. Then it goes to the mountain range to visit to provide accurate weather such as snow and Lufttemeratur and humidity in the different sections to be measured. According to these results, he ended the current Waxtipp creates and distributes it. By the end of the day he feeds each service man with the needed items from our house.
The Nordic race service staff to Jens Rischmüller and Björn Pfestorf to share the work in the biathlon, cross country and Nordic combined. Produkttetests be carried out depending on the cross-country trails and biathlon trails of the start times. As in the Alpine to get all the teams the information they need to support them in wax, weather and start group choice.
My job here is quite clear: organization, Pessearbeit and support for the testing work, and advise the teams in order to weather issues, products and choose Startup group.
Like every day, I'm going back tomorrow to sign with background information and news about the Olympic Games.
From Whistler and Callaghan
Steffen Hoos

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Part of the Toko Race Service Crew

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Olympic Traffic

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Ski Jumping Venue

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Nordic Service Cabin

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Toko eBlast, February 14:

Quote:
Steffen Hoos, aka "Hoosie", Toko's International Race Service Manager

Today was a crazy day here.  The weather once again played the leading role.

Ladies Downhill training was supposed to have taken place this morning. Once again, it had to be canceled because of poor conditions.

With the Biathlon Sprint competition of the men, everything seemed to point to a race with sunshine despite evidence of rain and snow squalls in the area on the radar. As Toko Nordic servicemen Jens and Björn conducted glide tests in the morning, it was dry and the air temperature was 1 ° C.  The products that went well on Saturday were going the best.  After the first 10 racers had started however, light rain began which then turned into a strong sleet and wet snow squall.  The fact that the strongest racers started in the second starting group and later meant that there was going to be a lot of surprises on the results sheet.  The disadvantage today was far more pronounced even than with the women's race the day before.  Almost exclusively starters from the first group made up the top 10 on the results sheet.  This is an outdoor sport where anything can happen.  However, this happened at precisely the time where it affected the results the most. Had today been a mass start race, like the Nordic Combined skiers had, it would have yielded a more predictable top 10.

In general, finer structures on the ski bases are going best compared to what would work in Europe with such moisture in the air and in the snow.  Additionally, here in Callaghan, an additive has been added to the snow to harden the track which worked well.  Skiing on untreated sections of the track will often yield sinking up to 20 cm deep in the slush.
 
The upcoming classic races for the cross country skiers will be exciting.  Here one has to test, test, and test again to understand the prevailing conditions as well as possible and to be able to predict what wax will work when the weather changes next as it almost certainly will.  Even without falling snow, the possibility of skiing on Zero Skis (No Wax) is high.  Such are the conditions here in the Callaghan Valley.
 
So we can be curious to see what will happen next.
 
Until tomorrow from Whistler
Steffen


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Nordic Combined skiers going to the start
Edited by Alpinord - 2/16/10 at 8:09am
post #2 of 23
Thread Starter 
Toko eBlast, February 15:

Quote:
Steffen Hoos, aka "Hoosie", Toko's International Race Service Manager

The downhill course was presented in a top-prepared state and offered a level playing field for all skiers. It was important for all service people who prepare the skis to provide enough edge grip for the snow conditions, but at the same time not too aggressive. The service people of the racers had already started a week ago to condition the ski bases with HF waxes in order to achieve the most deep penetration. This season so far has called mostly for hard waxes, as the weather tended to be cold. Here because of the warm weather we switched to softer waxes which have been thoroughly tested first. Fortunately, Udo Raunjak from our R&D department has provided us with a great product.  In top-finish, we have been the leading nation for years, as proven by the sales figures in Alpine racing.
 
Today were the women's 10k and Men's 15k Skating races.  Both the ladies and the men came from different nations on the podium resulting in 6 different countries represented! This shows the balance in cross-country field. In the morning the course was very soft despite the freezing temperatures overnight (-4 ° C). The snow felt like dry Styrofoam didn't stick to itself (you could run your hand through it easily). The problem was that the groomer worked the snow for 11 hours (up to 4 clock am). The wet snow from Sunday wasn't allowed to set up and bind to itself.  Instead the snow dried out, lost its structure, and didn't really stick to itself.  At least after the women's race, the course workers scattered the additive on the track resulting in a firmer track for the men.  It was not firm, but better than it was for the women.
 
For the Toko house it was a very successful day. We are subject like all other equipment companies to the regulations of the IOC and not until after the Olympics can such success stories be related with pictures and text.
 
Until tomorrow then ....
Steffen



Toko Alpine Serviceman Heinz Kolly Preparing a wax report



Toko Nordic Serviceman Jens Richmueller showing up for work



Toko Nordic Serviceman Bjoern Pfestorf preparing test skis
Edited by Alpinord - 2/16/10 at 1:48pm
post #3 of 23
Very cool.  Neat to see the behind the scenes look. 
post #4 of 23
Terry, thanks for starting this.  Given the NBC coverage, I'm feeling a bit detached from the games.  You would think it should be easy to watch events taking place in your own time zone, but these games might just as well be in China for all the (lack of) live coverage we're getting.
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Yeah, the coverage is so unbelievably contrived and lame. It's kind of cool 'seeing under the hood' a little in this fashion. Hopefully others will contribute.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
16 February Toko Olympic Report

Quote:
Steffen Hoos, aka "Hoosie", Toko's International Race Service Manager

The changeable weather stayed constant today. Once the weather gods saw off the Men's Downhill yesterday, it snowed half the night until about 10 clock this morning. Flakes the size of coins!

The Mens Combined was postponed until tomorrow. The weather forecasters say that starting tomorrow there will be a period of sunshine. So tomorrow is looking good for Alpine ski racing fans.
Today the Alpine track was completely soaked from top to bottom. It is important that the slopes harden during the night so that it can be a regular race and not a travesty.

The control at the security checkpoints to the venues are necessary, but I am happy to say that things are much quicker now. This is particularly important for us to be able to supply the team with products especially those that live outside of the village center.  Today we were up at 5:30 am and needed 45 minutes to drive to the Nordic Venue.  To get to the Alpine Venue, we only need 10 minutes because we are staying directly at the Whistler Creek site.
 
Despite the many Olympic visitors from around the world, there is fortunately no real traffic problem. All of the race organizers and helpers whose cars are not officially accredited are transported by a well-functioning shuttle bus system to the competition courses. We are allowed to drive up to just before the village due to our credentials and need to support the teams.
 
The test sections in the biathlon venue had an unscheduled and long closing this morning which made our work difficult.  Normally we test and provide the teams with a wax tip 2 hours before the start.  This morning though the course workers were treating the biathlon course as well as the cross country course with the "snow cement" as it is called in German.  This dries out the snow and makes it hard. The wet new fallen snow from last night and this morning was really slow.  After time it glazed up and became moist despite the snow treatment.  Generally speaking, the surface was much harder than in the past days and the snow changed from partially transformed snow to wet new snow. For the technicians, this meant new skis and new grinds to test.  The wax selection process turned out to be easy as the same waxes were still running very well.  You gotta love it!

From Whistler until tomorrow

Steffen




Downhill Start Area



The View from Above



Women's Biathlon Pursuit Start
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
From Rick Weissenborn's iPhone:

from Austrian wax cabin after 12.5k pursuit silver medal

Quote:
Hi Terry,

Things are going exceptionally well for us here in Vancouver. How's the new Briko-Maplus line comparing to other wax?  What I can say without naming teams, placings or specific products used is the Briko-Maplus HP3 and FP4 products are ruling the Olympic Nordic events!

Best Regards,

Rick
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
18 February Toko Olympic Report

Steffen Hoos, aka "Hoosie", Toko's International Race Service Manager

Quote:

Today everything went smoothly both in terms of the conditions for the racers as well as the weather.  Those who followed the Olympics on TV, saw that we were treated to a radiantly beautiful winter day.
 
The combination of the Alpine women's competition was held under ideal conditions. Fortunately, the Rennläuferinnen were spared from bad falls this time. It is noteworthy to mention that Anja Persson, who had a bad fall yesterday on the descent, fought and won the bronze medal today. Just as with the cross-country skier Petra Majdic, who won a bronze medal just after having broken four ribs.  Anja managed a similar feat after a horrific fall yesterday. Hats off to those with such a competitive spirit. Unfortunately for Petra the Olympics are over!

The individual biathlon races of men and women were dominated by the Norwegians. Safe shooting and fast running were their trademark today as it has been so often in recent years.

Between the ladies race held in the morning and the men's race in the early afternoon, technicians were forced change the ski and wax choice. The ladies' race was held on raw coarse grained snow which was a little moist only on the surface . With increasing solar elevation, the track was became somewhat wet except, of course, in the sections which are located in the forest. Between races, it was called for the technical teams to test different grinds and waxes. The art was to find a good balance between the wet sunny areas and the dry sections in the forest. The tendancy was here, as previously reported by me, to be primarily finer grinds than what we would have ran in comparable conditions in Europe.
 
For the next 5 days of Toko weather report from Bern predicts more nice weather.

Let us look forward therefore to the 15 km Pursuit race in the women's cross country and the super-G Men's Alpine competition.

From Whistler nordic Park
Steffen



Smiling Olympic Bus Driver



Rifle Weigh In



The Norwegians Invaded and Conquered the Biathlon Podium Today
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
19 February Toko Olympic Report

Steffen Hoos, aka "Hoosie", Toko's International Race Service Manager

Quote:
Greetings from Whistler
 
In the 15 km Pursuit Women's Cross-country competition, Marit Björgen of Norway was able to repeat her Olympic victory in the sprint. She had received super material "under her feet" from her serviceman Perry Olsson.
 
There is an interesting story. Perry is responsible not only Marit but also for the skis of superstar Petter Northug. After Marit had won bronze in the first race the Norwegian media expected a victory from Petter in the afternoon.  Petter was only 41st. The Norwegian media only gave one explanation: the ill-prepared skis were definitely the reason why! The newspapers have torn Perry apart and given him the blame. A superstar in Norway is often perceived as infallible. I think this is unfair to servicemen and condemn this type of treatment.  Marit then, as reported, won two gold medals in the subsequent races. Northug also won bronze in the classic sprint.  All I can say is "Perry keep up the great work!"
 
Outside of the competition courses, the athletes have the option to ski on very well groomed trails through wonderfully beautiful scenery for a great many kilometers. You feel like you are all alone with yourself and the nature.  Canada is truly a dream, especially so when the weather is like it was today.  It's amazing how much snow is still lying in the woods at Callaghan Valley considering that in the last four weeks it was very warm and rained a lot. The snow is very compact.
 
The Alpine competitions were again Olympic worthy and went off as planned. Men's Super G was held in very hard and icy snow conditions and the racers were tested. With two more medals the U.S. built on their medal account.  Bode Miller had decided in September to continue his career and is for me one of the outstanding athletes in the Men's Alpine ski circus having already won two medals.

Until tomorrow
Steffen
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post

Hopefully, I can get some 'front line' tidbits from Rick Weissenborn of Briko-Maplus and Tools4Boards to share. It's doubtful however, since he's currently running 3 wax cabins and has been involved with the Canadian 'Own The Podium' program. In the past, it's been interesting to hear about various national team testing and the rare WC results and what was used.
 



Cool... Rick knows his stuff.  I went to see Rick a couple of weeks ago and picked up some of the liquid Maplus alpine wax that he reps.  He was raving about the breakthrough in liquid wax technology that Maplus has come up with, and how it penetrates to about twice the depth of ironed-in waxes and is very durable.  I've been testing it, both in a rubbed on fashion as well as rubbing on followed by ironing in with fiberlene between the iron and base (because I didn't have any teflon laying around), and have been very impressed with the product.  I've found it does a great job of controlling base burn on machine made snow and is wonderfully easy to use.  It's a fantastic product for when you're travelling, and in five minutes you can have your skis ready to go for the next day with a coating that stands up far better than any of the other liquid or paste options out there.

EDIT 2/22/10:  I have to say, I'm more impressed than ever with the Briko-Maplus liquid waxes.  Went out for a day of skiing at Nakiska yesterday (all machine-made, very abrasive snow) and performed an experiment.  I waxed my skis (race stock Atomics) with liquid wax followed by ironing.  For my girlfriends recreational Volkl's I applied Briko-Maplus liquid wax on one ski (no ironing) followed by a quick nylon brushing, and on the other I hot waxed, scraped and brushed with an appropriate hydrocarbon wax.  At the end of the day there was zero sign of base burn on my skis, in fact they looked almost as good as they did at the start of the day.  On my girlfriend's ski where I used the B-M liquid wax (no ironing), there was very slight evidence of base burn, but they still looked better than 99% of most people's bases.  On the ski that I hot waxed, the base burn was extensive along the entire ski, and extremely bad within 1-1.5 inches of the edge.  They looked beat.  No doubt the difference between the sintered race bases on my skis versus hers allowed mine to absorb more wax and hold it better, but even without ironing the liquid wax into her bases, the liquid wax held up extremely well.  This stuff seems to be the ultimate wax for day-to-day use and for travel.

Edited by exracer - 2/22/10 at 12:48pm
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
20 February Toko Olympic Report
Steffen Hoos, aka "Hoosie", Toko's International Race Service Manager
Quote:
One of the most exciting and anticipated cross country races in the Games just ended. The 30 km Men's Pursuit race which involves 15 km in the classical technique followed by 15 km in the skating technique to see who is the most complete cross country skier racer. This is a mass start race with a running clock during the transition.  With similar weather conditions to yesterday, the Swede Johan Olsson came out of the transition to skating with about a 10 second lead.  He then kept the gas down in the hopes of staying away.  He did stay away, but only up to 500 meters from the finish line. Only the winner Marcus Hellner and Tobias Angerer could still catch him. Some of the favorites could not go with the fast pace and fell off the lead. Similarly, the Norwegian Northug one of the strong favorites had bad luck and broke his pole 1 km from the finish. Unfortunately he could not close the gap and lost a lot of time.
 
The technical team had to work hard again as both the classic and skating skis needed to be optimally prepared. The problem is that one must always look hours ahead, because before the pursuit race begins, the skating skis needed to be prepared. This requires a lot of experience and cleverness. Due to the strong sunlight, the track changed a lot. What worked perfectly a half hour before, two hours later would not be very good, especially in classic. In our testing this morning, for example, very different products worked early on compared to during the race. Therefore, we as waxers always needed to be "ahead of time."
 
The Alpine Super-G race of the ladies was again marked by numerous falls on the very hard and compact snow. Luckily there were no major injuries. The technically challenging track did not allow for mistakes. Favorites like Maria Riesch, Anja Paerson, or Julia Mancuso were far back because of mistakes in the middle section of the course. We were able to recommend the same products as what was used for the Men's Super-G yesterday as the conditions were the same.
 
The days at the Olympics are very long, but they disappear in a flash. It is a privilege to be allowed to work here. We are very close to the action because of this and experience things that are truly rare.  For example, we witnessed the victory of Simon Amman in ski jumping and immediately after, we went the 200 meters for the start of the Nordic Men's 30km Pursuit race.
 
Until tomorrow then, in brilliant sunshine again ....
Steffen



Canadian Band at the Ski Jumps



Security Blimp



German Team Post Race Wax Room Celebration
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
21 February Toko Olympic Report


Steffen Hoos, aka "Hoosie", Toko's International Race Service Manager
Quote:
What a day for America! Bode Miller won the Men's Alpine Combined. What a great story the Olympics write. After Bode was no longer in the National team last year, he was allowed to return only on condition of coming into the team if he is completely at the service of the team and really part of the team. This he has done and has been rewarded now even with a complete set of medals. The race took place in hard and compact snow similar to the last races.
 
At Whistler Nordic Park, there was also the question of the Biathlon Mass Start races. This morning, except for the temperatures being 2 degrees colder than the last few days, there had been little change in the spectacular weather. In the morning, the men used slightly different products than the ladies who started 2 hours later. Of course between the races, the waxes (and structures) were tested again.  In these predictable and firm conditions, the ski choice was easy.
 
Finally, the highly esteemed Russians got their first medals in biathlon. Ustyugov confidently won the men's and Zaitseva won silver in the women. Germany's Magdalena Neuner was able win in this race; her second gold medal at the games. Congratulations.

It looks like the weather will remain similar except for a disruption on Wednesday.  Monday and Tuesday should be predictable like the last few days have been.
 
Cross-country skiers had the day off today.


The Toko team will now go and celebrate a little in Whistler. After getting up early every day and having very long days, we have well deserved it :-) A lot of teams with which we have good cooperation will also be present. In the World Cup scene, we know each other for many years. There are many technicians and coaches here with whom I used to compete.We're all one big family that is dedicated to the sport. Everyone is working their hardest in their areas of responsibility so as to make a big event like the Olympics successful and interesting.
 
Until tomorrow, then again
Steffen

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German Biathlon Women in Finish

152.jpg

Biathlon Women in the Start

153.jpg

Morning Shot of Team Cabins

I am sorry the photos are not better.  Sometime we are extremely busy of course and not able to take photos.  Other times, we get great photos, but can't use them until the Olympics are over due to IOC regulations.
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by exracer View Post

Cool... Rick knows his stuff.  I went to see Rick a couple of weeks ago and picked up some of the liquid Maplus alpine wax that he reps.  He was raving about the breakthrough in liquid wax technology that Maplus has come up with, and how it penetrates to about twice the depth of ironed-in waxes and is very durable.  I've been testing it, both in a rubbed on fashion as well as rubbing on followed by ironing in with fiberlene between the iron and base (because I didn't have any teflon laying around), and have been very impressed with the product.  I've found it does a great job of controlling base burn on machine made snow and is wonderfully easy to use.  It's a fantastic product for when you're travelling, and in five minutes you can have your skis ready to go for the next day with a coating that stands up far better than any of the other liquid or paste options out there.

EDIT 2/22/10:  I have to say, I'm more impressed than ever with the Briko-Maplus liquid waxes.  Went out for a day of skiing at Nakiska yesterday (all machine-made, very abrasive snow) and performed an experiment.  I waxed my skis (race stock Atomics) with liquid wax followed by ironing.  For my girlfriends recreational Volkl's I applied Briko-Maplus liquid wax on one ski (no ironing) followed by a quick nylon brushing, and on the other I hot waxed, scraped and brushed with an appropriate hydrocarbon wax.  At the end of the day there was zero sign of base burn on my skis, in fact they looked almost as good as they did at the start of the day.  On my girlfriend's ski where I used the B-M liquid wax (no ironing), there was very slight evidence of base burn, but they still looked better than 99% of most people's bases.  On the ski that I hot waxed, the base burn was extensive along the entire ski, and extremely bad within 1-1.5 inches of the edge.  They looked beat.  No doubt the difference between the sintered race bases on my skis versus hers allowed mine to absorb more wax and hold it better, but even without ironing the liquid wax into her bases, the liquid wax held up extremely well.  This stuff seems to be the ultimate wax for day-to-day use and for travel.

Yeah, Rick is a fun, good, knowledgable and creative guy and the liquids (and solids) are the real deal. FTR, he used to be a downhiller on the CA National Team.

When I was up there and met with him and the Italian Maplus product manager, I was confident about the products. According to the manager, he was of the opinion the liquid race base soft and a hot box was the ultimate first saturation step for bases. Glad you were able to see the reality.
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
22 February Toko Olympic Report

Steffen Hoos, aka "Hoosie", Toko's International Race Service Manager
Quote:
The last week of the Games have begun.  With wonderful weather again there were three events decided in the Whistler Nordic Park today. The jumpers competed in the team jump (on the big jump).
 
In the cross-country stadium next door was the team sprint in the free technique (skating) in the men's and ladies. There have been some interesting results which are in contrast to the previous season so far. For example, the German ladies with Claudia Nystad and Evi Sachenbacher won a surprise gold medal. Neither has achieved a podium placement in individual races this year. In the men's the Germans also surprised with silver.
 
Today was the coldest morning in recent days of -7 ° C. Most of the teams knew from the weather report that around noon the temperature would hit around 8 ° C  and the track would become damp and then wet. The clever ones though thoroughly tested yesterday exactly at race time and thus had the proper race wax all dialed in well before the race started so they could focus on structure.  As we know, these details play a great roll in making a ski fast. The anticipation of these test items a day or more in advance when the weather is stable provides the necessary experience to predict what is going to run at race time. Some teams had visibly faster skis.
 
As it always is when the weather is stable (and in this case warm), the teams require almost only products from us that are for warm conditions.  Soon we will run out of these items.  This is better than going back to Switzerland with full boxes though.
 
The women's Giant Slalom training took place in preparation for the actual event which takes place tomorrow. The weather tomorrow will be very sunny and cold. We can be curious if there are more surprises again.
 
Until tomorrow
Steffen



US Skier Torin Koos on the bike between racing



Team technicians servicing skis during the Team Sprint event



One doesn't get this close to a king very often.  Here is the King of Sweden visiting the events.



Course forerunners getting their briefing before doing their work
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
23 February Toko Olympic Report

Steffen Hoos, aka "Hoosie", Toko's International Race Service Manager
Quote:

The weather is back to more how it was at the beginning of the games: unstable and cloudy with rain and sleet. Meteotest from Bern had forecasted the light afternoon snowfall. Right at 1pm it started just as forecasted. The Bern weather forecasts have been spot on for us at Toko and the teams are given us a lot of praise for our assistance.
 
The Men's Giant Slalom in slightly softer snow conditions than in the past few days. Nevertheless, the track was Perfect. During the second run, a light sleet started. However, the conditions were fair for all racers. In contrast to the speed disciplines, for the giant slalom and slalom we went with a slightly harder HF layer because the skis need to experience an acceleration after each gate and the pressure on the snow is very high. The Topfinish was adapted to the warm conditions. The speed discipline specialists have left already to prepare for the upcoming World Cup events.
 
The Ladies Biathlon had their final event today which was dominated by the Russian team.  Double Olympic Champion Magdalena Neuner made a noteworthy and unselfish decision today.  She gave up her start position on the relay to make room to allow another athlete the chance of a medal.  This was a very controversial discussion in the eyes of the German reporters. Of course you want to start the strongest athletes. I find it very generous and unselfish of Magdalena. This has become very rare nowadays, especially in competitive sports.
 
The weather report says that tomorrow morning, we will be greeted by 10cm of new snow here in Whistler. We are curious how the teams get it under control.
 
Until tomorrow from Whistler
Steffen.

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Atomic Servicemen Ernst Habersatter und Edi Unterberger work for Kjetil Jansrud and Axel-Lund Svindal
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
24 February Toko Olympic Report

Steffen Hoos, aka "Hoosie", Toko's International Race Service Manager

Quote:

Today was a crazy weather day as expected. The snowfall occurred as predicted. The Women's Giant Slalom was on the progam. Luckily, it didn't snow so much that it had to be cancelled totally. The conditions on the slope deteriorated before the second run unfortunately and fog moved in which delayed the second run until tomorrow. As with the men yesterday the top layer products used were those for warm and wet conditions.

In the Callaghan Valley the Men's Cross Country relay was held. There was a special excitement today as the conditions were 0F and falling snow which can make things difficult.  Of course, everyone had Sweden, Norway and Germany on their list of favorites, but there were two teams that surprised:Czech Republic and France.  The Czechs and Swedes skied together with Sweden for a long time and were in the lead.  But 600 meters before the finish, the extraordinary Norwegian superstar Petr Northug flew by and grabbed silver for his team.

For classic waxing, the question was to either go with klister skis and a sure kick or no-wax skis (hairies actually) that offered a less secure kick, but a far faster ski on the downhills.  For some the waxed ski worked well but overall the hairies were better. Lukas Bauer for example dared to go with the hairies and had missiles below his feet and brought his team back up to the top group

Both the Alpine and the Nordic venue are calming down slowly. Many of the smaller countries that do not compete in all of the events have already departed. At the beginning of the Games, we supplied approximately 80 teams or suppliers with wax tips and weather reports. Now there are half as many.

The athletes and technicians are already 4 weeks on the road (or more). It is difficult to maintain a high focus for such a long time.  When a large team is together for such a long time in a confined space, it creates a tension that can't be allowed to escalate.  Here, good team leadership is required. Shopping or sightseeing trips to interesting places that offer something different for the head can be a helpful and well needed break.

In the Toko Team, everything is still running satisfactorily, and the cabin fever has not yet happened :-)
Until tomorrow Steffen
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
25 February Toko Olympic Report

Steffen Hoos, aka "Hoosie", Toko's International Race Service Manager

Quote:
Today I dedicate my blog to two sports that so far we have reported on very little. Snowboard and Nordic combined.

Today was the last competition in the Nordic combined. The American team had very high ambitions to win the team competition yesterday conducted. In their eyes winning the silver medal was a disappointment. This shows what the team has for high ambitions. They were here on a clear mission for gold. Today, the dream came true.

Bill Demong won the first gold medal in the history of America for a Nordic athletes. His teammate Johnny Spillane won his third silver. I think the performance of this team was outstanding, especially when you consider the high effort this sport demands between ski jumping (quickness) and cross-country skiing (endurance). Moreover, this sport is normally on the fringe of the media, since it is difficult to commercialize. I have known these guys for many years and no matter what country they come from, they really deliver on something amazing performances and deserve more credit than what they get.

The Olympic snowboard and ski cross competitions are being conducted at Cypress Mountain. As already reported, the snow is running out somewhat due to the heat from the city of Vancouver coming up the valley. The snowboard teams train up here in Whistler as the conditions at Cypress are anything but good. Toko didn't have any extra serviceman in the village at Cypress. Nevertheless, the teams were supplied by Heinz Kolly, our Alpine serviceman, with the daily weather report by email as well as advice. Product has been transported by a delivery service where necessary. The Americans dominated the halfpipe and for the snowboard cross the Canadians won gold and silver. Tomorrow will be the competitions in the parallel giant slalom.  The first ski cross competitions at the Olympics were won by Michael Schmid of Switzerland  and Canadian Ashleigh McIvor.

Before our flight back to Switzerland, we are planning another night in Vancouver to taste of the Olympic spirit.  Maybe we will still be able to get hold of one or other souvenir that was sold out in Whistler such as the famous red gloves.

From Whistler Creek Side
Steffen
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
26 February Toko Olympic Report

Steffen Hoos, aka "Hoosie", Toko's International Race Service Manager

Quote:

Tomorrow we will leave Whistler for Vancouver. Therefore, this will be the last blog of the 2010 Olympic Games.

In summary, it remains to be said that the organizers have provided us with a really decent games. They were well organized with motivated and friendly volunteers who always made one feel more than welcome. The Olympic Games are something special for every athlete and participation alone is an experience which remains unforgettable. Regarding the results, I can only say that Olympic has its own laws and we have seen a few surprises.

But that is exactly what it represents. Who would have thought in advance, for example, that Slovakia would take home a full set of medals in the biathlon?  Disappointment goes hand in hand just as success does at the Olympics. The German Biathlon Men have never in history gone home without a medal. The Alpine Swiss racer Didier Cuche started as a clear medal candidate in almost all disciplines to Vancouver. He won none.

As with every Olympics, most athletes do not drive home immediately after the last race, but stay three or four days to watch other sports. However, we now realize how isolated the wax container cities at the Alpine and Nordic venues have been.

Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow will be the long Cross Country ski races. There's a funny story about the double bronze medalist Czech Lukas Bauer. I saw him yesterday and congratulated him on his successes. He said the two medals were for his children and now he must win one on Sunday for himself. These athletes are simply unique.

On behalf of the whole Toko Race Service team with Heinz Kolly (alpine, snowboard), Jens Rischmüller and Björn Pfestorf (Nordic skiing, biathlon) and myself I would like to say goodbye and that I hope I have given you an interesting look behind the scenes of skiing.

From Whistler Steffen Hoos
post #19 of 23
Very cool behind the scenes.
post #20 of 23
Thanks for all the updates.  Very cool. 
post #21 of 23
TOTALLY AWESOME PICS AND THREAD, thanks Terry
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post

19 February Toko Olympic Report

Steffen Hoos, aka "Hoosie", Toko's International Race Service Manager


There is an interesting story. Perry is responsible not only Marit but also for the skis of superstar Petter Northug. After Marit had won bronze in the first race the Norwegian media expected a victory from Petter in the afternoon.  Petter was only 41st. The Norwegian media only gave one explanation: the ill-prepared skis were definitely the reason why! The newspapers have torn Perry apart and given him the blame. A superstar in Norway is often perceived as infallible. I think this is unfair to servicemen and condemn this type of treatment.  Marit then, as reported, won two gold medals in the subsequent races. Northug also won bronze in the classic sprint.  All I can say is "Perry keep up the great work!"
 


I'd like to balance this a bit, if I may... please bear with me.

Firstly, I'd like to say that we're talking about a country where virtually every ethnic Norwegian or adoptee goes cross country skiing. "Everyone" has an opinion about wax. "Everyone" knows what Blue Extra, klister and "nullføre" are. And Norwegians have a deep rooted belief in the superiority not only of the cross country athletes, but also of the waxing abilities of their servicemen. The servicemen are expected to basically win races for the athletes when conditions are challenging. Norway shall always have the best skis!

In the case of Petter Northug, he exclaimed to his trainer a short distance into the race that the skis felt like skiing on glue. Obviously not a good situation for one of the favourites to win the race. After the finish he was careful not to immediately blame the skis as the reason for the disaster - although his comments could hint in that direction if you attribute them a degree of sarcasm.

The Norwegian press then reported that extensive tests and investigations were carried out to find the root cause of the problem with the skis. It wasn't until the next day that an official announcement was made attributing Northug's ski problems to a last minute rewax of the skis in question. The fact that Perry Olsson was the guy responsible for those actions obviously didn't escape the press' notice, but most peoples' reactions were either tongue-in-cheek accusations of sabotage (Perry being Swedish) or else shrugs and admissions that sh*t happens some times. But it that doesn't escape the fact that Norway *shall* have the best skis - getting it wrong is not an option. And for a few hours there Perry Olsson was the tabloid press' scapegoat.

As far as Northug's innfallibility goes, I would say that half of Norway expects him to win gold (something he has proved himself capable of innumerable times) and the other half are willing him to fail big time (Bode Miller anyone?). Its not the athlete Petter Northug who is considered infallible, but the cross country nation/team called Norway!
post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks Squawker. It was very interesting the first week where in general the Norwegians were not in the forefront and it was very obvious (and noted by the announcers) that the Swedes were gliding very well. Northug is certainly a pompous kingly ass, but was damn impressive in the 50km and at least one other poling sprint finish (the silver, correct?). IIRC immediately the  blame went to the technicians when Nortug looked like he was hauling a trailer. Everyone has to have an off day every once in a while. Who knows what really happened.

It was great watching a lot of these races and reading these reports(as well as some good news with the US men's combined team and what was on their skis ).
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