…It’s the fact of life that there is far less money in cross country skiing than in, say, trail running or mountain biking.
Sheer strength is in numbers of active participants/fans. The numbers that translate into money for cutting-edge technological research. And money needed for that modern-day marketing without which nothing quite works.
Cross country skiing as a sport has two distinct paths: adopt to the modern world – or slowly fade away and die out.
The most logical path out of the dark hole is a synergy. As in “ joining forces in research, marketing, promotion etc.”
Here’s what we believe is the first true step in that direction – and a big one too.
Welcome to the unveiling-of-cooperation event between Madshus and Gorewear.
Madshus, frankly, does not need much presentation for any xcskier – but just to say that it’s the oldest ski-producing company in existence, since 1906 ( and beating Rossignol by a year). Madshus skis are distinct in materials used and processing, they are also distinct in a way they feel on snow. And, being made in the country known for it’s world’s highest salaries, they can’t be cheap and are, thus, fancy-by-definition.
GoreWear GmbH is a German-based fully owned subsidiary of W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. , a US-based multinational, specializing in products derived from fluoropolymers. Again, needs no presentations: who does not know Gore-Tex? A little less known is that the level of research at Gore is such that they successfully produce items as demanding as endoprosthesis
So, why is the news of cooperation between Madshus and Gorewear is such a big deal and should be greeted enthusiastically by all of us?
Well, one was already mentioned above – synergy in research & marketing. And stop thinking of marketing as “somebody here is trying to shake me down for money – but I’m too smart for that”. Marketing is actually something all of us should be happy about. Because marketing in niche sports like skiing quite directly translates into more & better facilities ( Does your town have an man-made ski trail? A dedicated rollerski track? Well, it should and it will once the critical amount of sufficiently avid skiers is reached, “marketed in”)
But there another aspect: relatively small as it is, cross country skiing segment is growing “organically”, if you like. Yes, slowly and unevenly – but it does. Many manufacturers report 2018 as the most successful year this century so far. For such a multi-billion dollar behemoth as Gore to start caring about xcskiing is like vouching for the sport’s strategic perspectives.
…Hitherto a new entrant to ski segment always wanted to start by putting out a race collection & sign as many World Cup -level athletes as possible. For some it eventually works out, others simply cut losses and fade away ( you all know the names that disappeared from cross country in the recent years)
Obviously, Gore has decided that that approach does not work. Their first xcski collection is demonstratively aimed at a recreational skier. A very strong, well trained “weekend warrior”– perhaps, the one who used to race, but now slowed down quite a bit, hung her/his racing suit – and for the fist time skis for pleasure.
And who’s better to represent that “very fit recreational skier” than Ole Einar Bjørndalen? We will not talk here about his fantastic sporting career – but will merely state at 45 Ole looks exactly like any 40+ man sees himself in his most ambitions dreams. …Yes…
Or, as a famed ( if loose-tongued) Andy Gray used to put it in pre-political correctness age “women want him, men want to be him”. And if that black & blue matching pants/jacket combo makes me look anything like OEB – wrap it for me, I’ll take two!
…We shall also spare you technical details for the new GoreWear/Madshus collection – as you have noticed, it’s not our focus here. Enough said that it looks and feels high quality and ( love it!) has many strategically placed pockets for things like car keys, ID and credit card that competing athletes don’t need, but that are essential for “recreationals”