SkiTour2020 Kicks Off Very Promisingly

The inaugural SkiTour 2020 kicked off in Östersund today. Here’s what we saw and what we came to think:

Östersund has taken over Falun as Sweden’s premier cross country ski place. Ski stadium, fully rebuilt for the recent Biathlon World Championships looks fancy and functions the way it’s meant to be in 21 century
There is a proper snow on the ground. Unlike in said Falun as well as in Oslo, Lahti etc. etc. Yeah, one could compete on man- made snow tracks – but snowy forests & frozen lakes look better.Perhaps, just a matter of habit
There were spectators. Wouldn’t lie: not as many as come to watch biathlon, but compared to xcski stages in the Alps where the bulk of spectators often consists of teams’ support personnel, it looked impressive
King came to watch. Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden is an avid skier who did Vasaloppet twice.

Overall felt like an “old school event” in that almost forgotten sense that top skiing is a big deal, not quite yet – but similar to Holmenkollen.

Not so good:
Unless you are a Norwegian, you wouldn’t like the first day’s results. Even if you’re a Norwegian, you should get concerned. It’s not a dominance – it’s an annihilation of competition, particularly brutal towards the host nation that normally does well at least on female side of the team.

Conclusion: cross country skiing barely has that travelling fan culture that ( already twice mentioned here) biathlon has. If any ski calendar event has a chance of developing a proper following – it would be SkiTour. It has all the necessary ingredients

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