Apologies for starting with the obvious: most of the top athletes compete & win at the Juniors/ U23 World Championships using exactly the same brands as their older comrades in the FIS World Cup.
In professional sport best prospects are signed early in hope of seeing them win the Olympics and the World Cups one day. That’s something only large companies with serious sponsorship budgets could afford.
Not every large company is willing to invest in many junior, however and not every gear manufacturer is willing to sponsor grown-up world-class athletes with their ,well, fairly grown-up appetites.
That essentially means the Juniors at Oberwiesenthal are, among other things, are anextremely unusual face-off:
The equipment produced by second-tier manufacturers (basically, those who can’t afford Klaebo or Bolshunov) is put against larger, fancier brands.