Oberwiesenthal is a secret jewel. Certainly at this very moment. Look at the snowless World Cup stage in Lahti, Finland and Vasaloppet in Sweden and compare to that pristine looking pine forest in the Ore mountains.
But it’s more than just snowy forest. Oberwiesenthal is a core of the East German skiing culture, the place where people practice and understand the intricacies of the world of narrow planks. Frankly, it’s a pity Oberwiesenthal is not home to a regular FIS World Cup stage, but Saxony already has one – in Dresden.
And then the ” actors” themselves. The skiing is becoming younger and younger. 23 year old Klaebo and Bolshunov are two unquestionable leaders of men’s skiing while Ebba Andersson, 22 and Linn Svahn, 20 are among the best in female.
Ebba is expected to appear in Oberwiesenthal ( the fact that most of medal contenders were not overjoyed about – their chances suddenly took a deep dive). Ditto for Julia Kern (USA), Moa Lundgren, Alexander Terentiev and other skiers who already had a taste of ” grown-up” podiums or came very close.
But at the end of the day it’s not about who shall win.
It’s about bigger things. The cross-country skiing desperately needs to present itself to the world for what it really is: outdoor endurance marvel that produces enviable bodies while promoting sane mind.
The evidence that it is truly the case was abundant in the Erzgebirge forest as athletes did their last training sessions before the show kickoff. This is a new generation: trendy, mobile, living apace with social media trends (how many 30 year old skiers have an account at VSCO, huh? On TikTok?). They will carry the banner. Juniors World is their first world stage.