New Travel, New Venues, New Fun For Ski Tour 2020
The second stage race of the season kicks off Saturday with Ski Tour 2020 along with a new twist on racing, travel and environmental stability for the FIS Cross Country World Cup tour.
Ski Tour 2020 will take place at both familiar, and unfamiliar Nordic venues in Sweden and Norway, featuring six stages over nine days at five different locations. Östersund, Sweden will host the first two stages - an individual start freestyle and a classic pursuit.
“I am really looking forward to having some individual start races and pursuits as those are my favorite,” said Davis U.S. Cross Country Team member Rosie Brennan. “Östersund is the only venue I have been to before and I really enjoyed the courses, so I am excited about the opening weekend.”
Stage three will take place at a well known FIS World Cup venue - for alpine events. But instead of alpine races, a freestyle sprint course will be set up in the bottom of the ski slope of Sweden’s national alpine ski area of Åre, on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
Stage four, the queen stage, will feature the legendary crossing of the international border between Storlien in Sweden (start) and Meråker in Norway (finish) on Thursday, Feb. 20. The 38k course will require athletes to carry their own nutrition as no feeding zones or coaching will be allowed on the majority of the course. Upon arrival in Meråker, the athletes continue by train to Trondheim, Norway, the final destination of the Tour.
"The 38km point-to-point skate race should be really fun and interesting because we’ve never had a World Cup race like this before," said Jessie Diggins. "I’m looking forward to the challenge."
The organizers behind the Ski Tour 2020 want to set an example for future organizers by making Ski Tour 2020 as sustainable as possible. In minimizing the use of fossil-fuel operated transportation, all participating athletes and staff will travel by train between the venues as no team cars will be allowed, with the exception of wax trucks.
“Having no control over our travel will be a new challenge, but the whole field is in it together so it should also provide some laughs and enjoyment,” Brennan said.
The final stages of the Ski Tour 2020 will take place in the Granåsen Ski Stadium where the FIS Cross-Country athletes will meet the FIS Nordic Combined athletes for a Nordic weekend. Stage five will be a classic sprint, followed by the final stage classic pursuit, 15k for the women and 30k for the men.
“The unknowns such as mandatory travel by train and new venues for me are all factors that have given me a lot of anticipation for this tour,” said David Norris, the top American on the World Cup distance standings, who noted that the U.S. Ski Team ski technicians have truly made the difference with his results this season. “I have had really good skis this season and thanks to our team I'm getting a fair chance each race to fight for the results that I know are possible from our nation. I hope I can maintain the form I currently have and put myself in the position to fight for some top 20's and finish the tour in the top 30.”
Joining Rosie, Jessie and David for Ski Tour 2020 are fellow Americans Alayna Sonnesyn, Hailey Swirbul, Rosie Frankowski, Katharine Ogden, Caitlin Patterson, Sadie Maubet Bjornsen, Julia Kern, Sophie Caldwell, Simi Hamilton, Kevin Bolger, Ben Lustgarten, and Logan Hanneman.
Every member of the U.S. Team wants to make it to Trondheim, and each athlete has different goals and expectations, including Kevin, who in addition to testing his fitness in the sprint stages, is pretty stoked that this tour’s final stage doesn’t climb straight up an alpine ski run.
“Of course I'm looking forward to the sprints, and luckily enough one of them is in Trondheim - a city in which I spend a lot of my time in the summers training, so the classic sprint there is at the top of my list. It is near the end of the Tour so I'm hoping I can get there with good energy and I’m able to put together a result I am happy with,” Kevin said. ”I’m stoked to get this thing rolling and I know the rest of the team over here is as well. I think it's safe to say the U.S. is going to pull off some killer results!”
Ski Tour 202 Schedule:
Friday, Feb. 14
Opening Ceremony, Stortorget, Östersund, SWE
Saturday, Feb. 15
Stage 1 Östersund, SWE
Freestyle individual start - 10k women; 15k men
Sunday, Feb. 16
Stage 2 Östersund, SWE
Classic pursuit - 10k women; 15k men
Monday, Feb. 17
Tuesday, Feb. 18
Stage 3 Åre, SWE
Wednesday, Feb. 19
Thursday, Feb. 20
Stage 4 Storlien, SWE (start) to Meråker, NOR (finish)
Freestyle 38k both men and women
Friday, Feb. 21
Saturday, Feb. 22
Stage 5 Trondheim, NOR
Sunday, Feb. 23
Stage 6 Trondheim, NOR
Classic pursuit, 15k women, 30k men
HOW TO WATCH
Saturday, Feb. 15
7:15 a.m. - Ski Tour 2020, Women’s 10k, Ostersund, SWE - OlympicChannel.com, NBC Sports Gold
10:10 a.m. - Ski Tour 2020, Men’s 15k, Ostersund, SWE - Olympic Channel, OlympicChannel.com, NBC Sports Gold
11:30 a.m. - Ski Tour 2020, Women’s 10k, Ostersund, SWE - Olympic Channel*
Sunday, Feb. 16
7:45 a.m. - Ski Tour 2020, Men’s 15k pursuit, Ostersund, SWE - OlympicChannel.com, NBC Sports Gold
9:45 a.m. - Ski Tour 2020, Women’s 10k pursuit, Ostersund, SWE - OlympicChannel.com, NBC Sports Gold
12:30 p.m. - Ski Tour 2020, Men’s 15k pursuit, Ostersund, SWE - Olympic Channel*
1:30 p.m. - Ski Tour 2020, Women’s 10k pursuit, Ostersund, SWE - Olympic Channel*
Thursday, Feb. 19
4:45 a.m. - Ski Tour 2020, Women’s 38k mass start, Storlien, SWE - Meraker, NOR - Olympic Channel, OlympicChannel.com, NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. - Ski Tour 2020, Men’s 38k mass start, Storlien, SWE - Meraker, NOR - 5:00 a.m. - Olympic Channel, OlympicChannel.com, NBC Sports Gold
Sunday, Feb 23
5:00 a.m. - Ski Tour 2020, Women’s 15k pursuit, Trondheim, NOR - OlympicChannel.com, NBC Sports Gold
7:05 a.m. - Ski Tour 2020, Men’s 30k pursuit, Trondheim, NOR - OlympicChannel.com, NBC Sports Gold
12:00 p.m.. - Ski Tour 2020, Women’s 15k pursuit, Trondheim, NOR - Olympic Channel*
1:00 p.m. - Ski Tour 2020, Men’s 30k pursuit, Trondheim, NOR - Olympic Channel*
Note: All televised events to stream across NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app, OlympicChannel.com, and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA app
Exclusive commercial-free coverage will be available for subscribers of the NBC Sports Gold Pass, available here: https://www.nbcsports.com/gold/snow.