…It’s almost impossible to believe that barely two months ago this part of the country felt as cold as the Finnish cold could ever be while hosting one of the most prestigious skiing competitions in the world: the Lahti Ski Games.
Today the Lahti region ( officically Päijänne Tavastia – and good luck pronouncing that correctly) is living through a scorching hot spring day and, judging by attire ( almost universal shorts for men, light dresses for women) the last thing on people’s mind is winter sports.
We are here, however, because of skiing ( and rollerskiing – more of which in a separate story)
Because today we visit what is branded as the “world’s most modern ski-producing factory”. Or, perhaps, the biggest of the smaller ski makers.
…The world ski production is dominated by large brands: Fischer, Atomic, Rossignol, Madshus, Salomon, sometimes collectively called as FARMS. Not a big secret that they make most of their money off downhill skiing ( or, in case of venerable Madshus, being owned by a large sporting goods conglomerate).
It’s FARMS’ products we get to see on TV and in the web photos: almost all top athletes use theirs skis via sponsorship programmes.
Smaller firms are fighting for the slice of the market, largely avoiding expensive sponsorship at the World Cup level
There is one notable exception we can think of: Nadine Fähndrich of Team Swiss. A 22 year old, widely considered to be one the most promising athletes of her generation, is doing her skiing on Peltonen skis.
Peltonen is anything but a new name – in the 1970s the Olympic Games and the world championships were won on the skis from ( then) Hartola, Finland