I’m back! I bet you didn’t think I would return did you? Well neither did I to be completely honest, but something about this sport makes it really hard to completely shut off. It’s been five years since I last put fingers to a keyboard to scribe a post and a lot has changed. The internet and social media has changed at warp speed. Five years ago, Instagram was just approaching social media critical mass while Snapchat was three months old and the co-founders were still studying to graduate from Stanford. Fast forward to the present and it seems everyone and their dog has an Instagram account (follow crosscountryskimemes and xcskierslife and you won’t regret it) while Snapchat recently filed for a $25B IPO. The fact that you can now type in an athletes name into Google and it will tell you what manufacturer they ski on is simply ridiculous (re: Alex Harvey ski/Aino Kaisa Saarinen ski).

In addition to social media bringing the ski world closer, we now have a legitimate way of playing XC fantasy thanks to Noah Hoffman and his awesome work over here. It’s such a great service that I’ll have a permanent direct link to the website on the menu bar above.

What’s changed in the ski world in the past five years? Well first let’s quickly go around the horn with pessimistic glasses on:
– Russians are still being caught doping,
– Norwegians are now beginning to be caught doping (you can call it bad luck ie. Johaug/you can call it playing the game ie. Johnsrud Sundby),
– Your poles can now only be 83% of your height. I agree with Aalsgard, this is stupid.
– Snow is become a precious commodity at World Cup regular stops like La Clusaz and Val di Femme, particularly the strip of trail leading to the Aple Cermis. At what point will the FIS thrown in the towel for places like these and submit to global warming?

Swapping those pessimistic glasses for the optimistic shades:
– The Norwegian women are still as dominant even without the Energizer Bunny and Momma Bjoergen taking last year off.
– The American women are really good now!
– The sport is exciting as ever as the evolution of athletes and their sheer strength has made sprints a gladiator like battle.
– This FIS cross country site is excellent now (compared to 2011), and the additional resources they have put into it has made it a one-stop shop for all things World Cup skiing (the athlete profiles on their app are pretty awesome too).

On top of bringing on the new version of NordicXplained, I have also created a couple tools that allows you to visualize race splits for both men and women. You can find them here and here. Let me know what you think of them. For those skiers that are also numbers nerds, hopefully you find some use to these.

I’m going to keep it short and sweet so that’s all I have for now. Stay tuned as the Toblach World Cup weekend fast approaches.