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Nordic Skiing/Biathlon Thread

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Unrelated, but does anybody know the best sources for following cross country/biathlon/nordic combined news for somebody who lives outside of a country in which any of these are popular? I'd love to do some proper reading outside of simply just watching the races and taking the nonsense Winterton and co. have to say at face value.
 
Also it has to be said just how awful the cross country calendar is this season yet again, I swear the FIS are actively doing their utmost to accelerate the demise and decline of the sport through terrible managerial decisions.
 
Conditions were good to excellent in many venues last year, of course the worst conditions happened to be during the World Championships. Right now in Ruka it’s cold, with a good amount of snow and the perhaps more on the way in the next couple of days. Davos got early snow this year, while Beito and Gällivare didn’t have that much. I don’t know what’s happening over there in Norway but it seems like they are making some thought provoking decisions over the past few years, from racing less, to changing distances and formats, to trying desperately hard to change overtaking rules and finish line chutes…
 
I know individual is an important part of the history but I find it tedious to watch for the first race of the year.

It can be boring, specially if there's too much information available - the latter kills the suspense and suspense is what individual racing is all about. When I started watching XC skiing as a kid in the early 90's individual racing was what the sport was all about with the exception of relays and pursuit race over two days (first leg of which was also an individual start race). For me the cutting of individual starts and also longer distance races has been done to such extent that it effectively is a completely different sport now. They're still racing on skis over snowy surface, but thats about that.

Its like growing up watching epic mountain raids in GT's and tough unpredictable battles over the cobbles of Roubaix and Flanders, but by the time you reach your thirties, understand that all the aforementioned has been replaced with Hammer series.
 
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It can be boring, specially if there's too much information available - the latter kills the suspense and suspense is what individual racing is all about. When I started watching XC skiing as a kid in the early 90's individual racing was what the sport was all about with the exception of relays and pursuit race over two days (first leg of which was also an individual start race). For me the cutting of individual starts and also longer distance races has been done to such extent that it effectively is a completely different sport now. They're still racing on skis over snowy surface, but thats about that.
I'd just like/prefer an occasional mast start individual. With 2 penalty laps per miss. I think it would be a much greater spectacle.
 
I'd just like/prefer an occasional mast start individual. With 2 penalty laps per miss. I think it would be a much greater spectacle.

I didn't even consider you were talking about biathlon and not XC-skiing in your originial post. :D

Personally I would just like to see a couple more traditional individual races per season as this is a very distinct format that adds real value and variety for the sport. Other than that the current biathlon format works quite well as it is.
 
Yea, this season you have:

Sprint: 10 (everywhere except Antholz, two in Östersund)
Pursuit: 8 (everywhere there's a sprint except the first in Östersund, and Otepää)
Mass Start: 5 (Le Grand Bornand, Antholz, Beijing, Otepää, Holmenkollen)
Individual: 3 (Östersund, Antholz, Beijing)
Relay: 6 (Östersund second weekend, Hochfilzen, Ruhpolding, Antholz, Beijing, Kontiolahti)
Mixed Relay: 3 (Oberhof, Beijing, Otepää)
Single Mixed: 2 (Oberhof, Otepää)

There are certain issues I have with the calendar - I quite liked when they led off with the relays at Östersund (they used to have a Mixed Relay) and the Individuals were the first races of the individual World Cups; swap the Mixed Relay and regular relays at Oberhof and Ruhpolding please, although Oberhof is probably one of the best courses for setting up the single mixed with an actually challenging ski loop... but ultimately I think there's not too much wrong with it.

The Mass Starts are tilted toward the end of the season when the status quo is established, so there is less of the self-fulfilling prophecy about its inclusion of the top names on the World Cup, and there's only one - on the final weekend of December's trimester - before the New Year. The classic relay is probably the most crowd-pleasing of all events, so that has a large number of events, but smaller nations that don't have the strength in depth have more of a chance in the Mixed Relays so they are included. The Single Mixed is not on the Olympic schedule which is an added bonus as it means teams are more likely to put forward full strength Mixed Relay teams rather than splitting their talent across the two.

I'd like to see an extra Individual or two - they are perhaps the hardest to immediately grasp as a novice fan, and they are the hardest to film (for example, at Pokljuka the cameras spent a long time focusing on people like Hanna Öberg, Yuliia Dzhima and Ida Lien in the women's Individual because they went mistake free for the first few shoots before falling out of contention, and only picked up that eventual winner Davidová was clear when she'd already shot 15 of her targets, and worse, because eventual medalist Tandrevold missed at the first prone, she sat down the leaderboard and therefore with lots of people shooting 0+0+0 then erring at the last, she didn't appear as a threat until she emerged from shooting 4 having cleared the final 15 so we missed almost her entire race) - but for the established fan they are often the most rewarding, and give the highest potential for surprises as well, having the largest penalty for a miss but also the longest ski loops to make up time loss. It's also unique in that the shooting is alternating positions rather than just prone and then standing, so it introduces different management to the event.

I get that it may be an acquired taste, however - similarly lots of car racing fans love the experience of digging through the laptime charts in an endurance race, seeing which is the quickest driver per car and finding the stories developing across multi-class racing (Mike Dixon) - but to others, they'd rather not have to do a deep dive, and would prefer to see the immediate battle taking place on track and a straight fight for position at the front between two drivers giving it everything and not worrying about fuel conservation or nursing the car or dealing with multi-class traffic and those things endurance racers deal with (Patrick Winterton). That's probably why the Individual is best placed on weekdays, with the more TV-ready head-to-head events on at the weekend. A few years ago at Ruhpolding they experimented with an Individual + Pursuit, but I think to make that work they either need the pursuit to be on the slightly longer laps used on the Mass Start (to redress the balance back toward skiers), or to halve the time gaps from the Individual, to reflect the fact that it is twice the length of the sprint.

Anyway.

Hochfilzen, Oberhof, Ruhpolding and Kontiolahti all have some iteration of Sprint, Pursuit and Relay. I think one of these could be switched for Individual, Sprint and Relay. Most likely Kontiolahti would be the candidate for this - they have the sprint and pursuit on the weekend and the relays in the week, so it would be of little consequence to move the relays to the weekend in place of the pursuit to fulfil the quota of head to head racing in prime TV time, and put the Individual in the relays' spot on the weekday. Other events seem to be putting the individual start sprint race on the weekdays, then putting pursuit and relay on the weekend, which makes sense.
 
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Also it has to be said just how awful the cross country calendar is this season yet again, I swear the FIS are actively doing their utmost to accelerate the demise and decline of the sport through terrible managerial decisions.
FIS is totally clueless and tries too hard to appeal to the German market.
Just go with Indiviual and a pursuit the next day as the basic format, one time you have the first race as a classic and the 2nd freestyle, the next time the other way around.
I really don't feel those short mass start races.
 
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Wow, when I read that the race in Lillehammer was turned into a individual start I was jumping on the ceiling thinking I finally get to see a 30km race again. Only to read that they have also changed it to 15km. Oh lord:mad:

The number of relays in the biathlon is simply disgusting. It is absolutely pointless and meaningless. Relays should be highlights and reserved for the ig events. Ok 1-2 a season as a prep but non more.
Still i have to give them credit for keeping the 20km individual start alive. 3 races a season is not much but it is still three more than we have traditional individual starts (30/50k) in cross country skiing. So kudos to that.
 
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Unrelated, but does anybody know the best sources for following cross country/biathlon/nordic combined news for somebody who lives outside of a country in which any of these are popular? I'd love to do some proper reading outside of simply just watching the races and taking the nonsense Winterton and co. have to say at face value.
Good question, honestly I dont know of such an English speaking website. It probably does not exist.
 
Some interesting results today. Everything was closely together in both fields. Klaebo getting besten is Always a pleasure. Some big named struggled today. But lets wait until tomorrow to Draw conclusion.
Oh and I have to Tell You this. Schlickenrider is complaining that the races have too many altitude meters. He says this IS the wrong way to Go and says that FIS should focus in "Speed" instead. Oh These Germany never fail to make You laugh, or cry.
 
Some interesting results today. Everything was closely together in both fields. Klaebo getting besten is Always a pleasure. Some big named struggled today. But lets wait until tomorrow to Draw conclusion.
Oh and I have to Tell You this. Schlickenrider is complaining that the races have too many altitude meters. He says this IS the wrong way to Go and says that FIS should focus in "Speed" instead. Oh These Germany never fail to make You laugh, or cry.
The guy is the wost, totally clueless and always with some ideas to "improve" the sport. At least the Norwegians are traditionalists, I give them that.
 
Maybe Terentev will be the Kriukov type of sprinter that the russians were looking for but even so Klaebo might holding his peak a bit due to the Olympics. Bolshunov getting eliminated in the quarter-finals in a classic sprint race is disappointing but the next two days will tellus more about his and Klaebo's shape.

I have also checked the calendar for the rest of the season and these two first races in Ruka will be the only ones in classic until the Tour of Ski and we will have two straight weekends with the same races skating sprint + individual followed by the pathetic Dresden weekend. Then FIS wonders why the sport's popularity is on a downward spiral with this mockery...
 
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The Finns and the Scandinavian traditionalists probably still consider skating to be nothing but a concession to the central european skiing nation...
The Finns and Skandiniavien traditionalists have done little to nothing to preserve traditional elements in the last 15 years. I cant gibt them Credit.
Sweden even wants the 100m sprint as a new disciplnie in the World Cup and the big Events, lol.
 
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