For our money, Blink Skifestival is one the most exciting & anticipated ski-related events in the world.
What makes us rank Blink on par and perhaps, higher than traditional “snow ski” events e.g. Tour de Ski?
Let’s see if you could convince you with the following arguments:
a) It is the only event in the world featuring both the strongest skiers and bi-athletes starting in the same race. Last year Henrik L’Abée-Lund beat both Martin Sundby and Sergei Ustiugov in the Lysebotn climb, for instance.
As a result, there will be close to 40 ( your read it right – forty!) medal winners from the Olympics in Korea in February.
Actually, it’s easier to list those who will not be there, than who will be – sadly, Number One of the last season, Johannes Høsflot Klæbo, won’t participate – and, in fact, did not do so last year either. Blink does not fit his training schedule, allegedly.
But you know, even without Klaebo there will be quite a competition between Kruger, Sundby, Ustiugov, Bolshunov, Pellegrino, Holund etc. etc. – name your favorite star. Is it Petter Northug? He is coming!
This year’s Lysebotn climb – arguably, the most exciting event of the festival – will feature much anticipated duel between the 2016 winner, Therese Johaug and Charlotte Kalla, who left competition in the dust in 2017.
b) Every participant will be issued absolutely identical, brand new IDT roller-skis ( this year IDT Solutions AS from Lena is a sole material sponsor of the event). Hence, the athletes will compete exclusively in the strength of their muscles and cardio-vascular systems – not skills & budgets of their service teams as is the case in traditional snow skiing.
Interestingly, the one to disagree with that above statement is none other than Arne Idland, Chief of Sport Blink Skifestival, who told the Daily Skier this: “I do not think it is fair to compare summer events like Blink with World Cup events held on snow. To keep the industry alive ( Fischer,Salomon, Swix, Madshus, Rossi and so on) it is important to have other rules for the World Cup. The industry pays an important role in the World Cup athletes salary.
We have many sports where equipment is an important part of the game e.g. Formula 1, cycling, ski-jumping, all boat sports, rifle shooting. If it is fair or not is up to other people to judge” ( read the whole interview with Mr. Idland later on the Daily Skier)
Don’t get us wrong, Arne – we don’t disagree with what you are saying – but we do think it is fun to see who wins all being put in equal conditions!
c) Nobody can argue with the last argument though: it’s the middle of the summer and we all have been missing our favorite athletes in action way too long – and won’t see them competing again till November.
For those lucky enough to live in Norway NRK will customary provide pro-level broadcasting of all of the Blink events.
The rest still might consider flying themselves to Sandnes for August 1-4 ski gala.
All photos used in this story are courtesy of Blink Skifestivalen