Doublepoling Rebel Who Took On FIS

Magnus Vesterheim is not quite a household name in the skiing world– yet. A 22-year old from Lillehammer, however, is an author a viral sensation, that was (and is) being discussed well after the season is over – and that has potentially wide repercussions for the future of cross country skiing competitions.

But first things first. At the meeting a year ago FIS had decreed ( “decided” simply does not sound strong enough to describe the depth) that from now on , race officials, at their sole discretion, may designate clearly marked zones where no doublepoling is allowed during classical cross country skiing races i.e ” no DP zones”

“All nations agreed that we need to find a way to preserve the classic striding technique within classic skiing” Fasterskier.com then quoted Chris Grover, head coach of the U.S. Ski Team and chairman of FIS’s Subcommittee for World & Continental Cups.

All clear? Well, not quite. FIS officials and functionaries did, perhaps, forget that a current generation of ski racers is way, way stronger physically than most of their predecessors and, therefore, can do things on the trail nobody thought was possible before.

Enter Magnus Vesterheim who at the Norwegian Cup conquers ” no DP zone” uphill thus:

To clarify: Magnus is doing this on his true & trusted Rossignols prepared in the best traditions of doublepoling i.e. no kick wax whatsoever – everything is set for the best glide.

Legal? 100%! Is it a diagonal stride? Well, you judge. Will it become as popular as Gunde Svan’s skating back 1984 ( and Bill Koch’s a few years before that)? Not very likely – at least not at the same scale, but there’s a potential advantage ( to be seen and confirmed) – and a definite element of “screw your rules” in the whole thing.

To get to the bottom of all this, we spoke to the man himself, Magnus Vesterheim of  Team Parkettpartner

– First things first: how do you really do it, your “diagonal on no-kick wax skis”!??
– I only use my arms and activate my abdominal muscles and back. A little like when you run with poles.

– How much do you train – and what style primarily?
– I train 1100 hours a year of which 600-700 hours are doublepoling. I came 62d on Vasaloppet this year. Of course it’s a dream for me to win Vasaloppet or Marcialonga, and of course that will be with doublepoling

– What skis did you use in that Norwegian Cup race – ” normal” classic or DP ones with a stiffer camber
– In that competition I went with regular classic skis from Rossignol.

– You didn’t exactly win that race – although your result was impressive. Can you – or anybody else – really win a FIS race going uphill like that? In other words – does it really make sense in elite-level competitions – or was it done to ridicule new FIS restrictions i.e. no-DP zones?
– I think it’s gonna be hard to win with skis without wax when there are many zones. But sure if the zones are short and steep, I think it might be possible. I will certainly try the next winter as well. First of all it was to be an example and show that it was possible to go without wax in that race.

– Your now famous hashtag #fisehåpløs – is that “FIS helpless” or “FIS useless”?
– Hehe, it means that FIS is useless. I don’t mean the whole FIS is useless, but that the rule about doublepoling is useless. In that 15 km race there was 12 no-DP zones!

– How do you feel about the other much-talked about new rule, “83% poles”?-
I don’t like that rule either. But that one is not as bad as the no-DP zones

But what happens if FIS bans his “diagonal style variety” too? Well, seems Magnus is already working on his next novel move. Absolutely no DP there, we swear!

TOP PHOTO: courtesy of www.instagram.com/magnusvesterheim

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