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Tour de Ski Viewing Guide: December 31–January 8, Val Müstair, Oberstdorf, and Val di Fiemme

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Welcome back from the holidays to this Tour de Ski edition of the viewing guide. Hope you had lots of good skiing and time with loved ones.

The World Cup crew has had a break of just under two weeks since their last race. For those athletes contesting the full Tour de Ski, they’ll be jumping into seven different races, in three different countries, over nine days, starting tomorrow. Some athletes are going into stage one planning on contesting less than the full Tour; Iivo Niskanen, for example, who is returning to World Cup racing following both Covid and the birth of a child, plans to reassess after the first three races and decide at that time whether or not he will continue on into race number four and following.

You can find a full list of American starters for this year’s Tour here. The short version is that eight men and five women will be starting for the U.S. The only American to make a Tour de Ski podium across the first sixteen years of the Tour’s existence, Jessie Diggins (third overall in the 2017/2018 Tour, first overall in 2021), is among those five athletes. She is joined by, among others, Rosie Brennan, whose highest Tour de Ski finish of sixth places her second all-time among non-Diggins Americans (Liz Stephen was fifth in the 2014/2015 Tour).

The best roundup of starters from most other nations may be found in this Twitter feed. By this point, less than 24 hours before the first race, you can also just consult the official start lists for tomorrow’s skate sprint: men and women.

There are 100 men and 71 women on the start list for the opening stage of this year’s Tour de Ski.

Here is when and where the races will be held over the next week:

Val Müstair, Switzerland (local time at venue: GMT +1, six hours ahead of East Coast Time)

dateracetime (AK)time (EST)results
Saturday, Dec. 31skate sprint qual1:30 a.m.5:30 a.m.story
skate sprint heats4 a.m.8 a.m.story
Sunday, Jan. 1W 10km classic pursuit2 a.m.6 a.m.story
M 10km classic pursuit3:15 a.m.7:15 a.m.story

Oberstdorf, Germany (local time at venue: GMT +1, six hours ahead of East Coast Time)

dateracetime (AK)time (EST)results
Tuesday, Jan. 3M 10km classic1:45 a.m.5:45 a.m.story
W 10km classic4:45 a.m.8:45 a.m.story
Wednesday, Jan. 4M 20km skate pursuit1:15 a.m.5:15 a.m.story
W 20km skate pursuit4:30 a.m.8:30 a.m.story

Val di Fiemme, Italy (local time at venue: GMT +1, six hours ahead of East Coast Time)

dateracetime (AK)time (EST)results
Friday, Jan. 6classic sprint qual12 a.m.4 a.m.here
classic sprint heats2:30 a.m.6:30 a.m.here
Saturday, Jan. 7W 15km classic mass start1:45 a.m.5:45 a.m.here
M 15km classic mass start3:30 a.m.7:30 a.m.here
Sunday, Jan. 8W final climb1 a.m.5 a.m.here
M final climb2:45 a.m.6:45 a.m.here

Need help viewing the races from the U.S.? Here’s our full article on how to watch.

Stay tuned for what Nordic Insights’ coverage of this year’s Tour de Ski will look like. Our lead reporter, Gavin Kentch, will be on site in Houghton all week for U.S. Nationals (assuming he ever leaves the Chicago airport, where he currently is), and will be covering those races full time. We anticipate having additional reporters jump in so as to be able to cover the Tour as well alongside this domestic racing. Bear with us as we navigate our way through the single biggest ski week in the year, across a range of time zones.

Finally, I want to be sure to share these thoughts from American skier Finn O’Connell in advance of the Tour. O’Connell has start rights for this year’s Tour de Ski by dint of being the top-ranked skier through two race weekends and seven races in Period 1 of this season’s domestic SuperTour circuit. Earlier this month I asked O’Connell about his process goals for his World Cup debut, about what he learned through qualifying for the World Cup via a Tour de Ski–esque stint of seven races in twelve days, and about the financial costs of racing in Europe. Here are his answers, via email to Nordic Insights:

“I am indeed accepting my starts at Tour de Ski! I am very excited to get over there and finally get the chance to prove myself against the best in the world. I wouldn’t change how I am getting my first WC starts for any other way. At the end of last year, I was unsure whether or not I would be done racing. I have always wanted to be a pilot, and I was thinking about starting to pursue that route. However, making the US Ski Team made that decision easy for me. I then sorta assumed I would get Period 1 WC starts. But I found out early July this wasn’t the case. This made me more determined to train smarter and harder through the summer and fall. I still stand by the fact that it’s harder to make the WC then stay on the WC. The SuperTour circuit is so competitive these days that I knew it would be incredibly hard to get over there. But I did, and here we are.

“My process goals don’t change much going into the Tour than going into Period 1 of the SuperTours. It’s 8 vs 7 races in a very short time. My goal is to trust my training and fitness and see where that takes me. I need to prioritize rest, and eating lots of food, and success will come. I have yet to do a WC and have yet to race many of the American guys there in a long time, but my goal is to finish Val di Fiemme as the top American!  The second question ties into that answer. If I do the same thing as the last 7 races, I should be able to feel the same this time. And with the ease of being on the WC, like not having to worry about waxing skis, or cooking meals, it should be even better!

“Being COC [Continental Cup, in this case the American SuperTour] leader gets me funding from FIS directly, and also being a member of the [U.S. Ski Team] B Team covers all world cup expenses as well. So the funding is covered while I am there. I should say though that it is harder for us small teams, talking about the Bridger Ski Foundation, to raise enough money for a season of training and racing domestically. We have to cover racing expenses for most of the season, and we work very hard to have enough funding to just get us through the summer and fall training camps, as well as the early season racing. We just launched a campaign if people want to help support my team.”

— Gavin Kentch

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