Perhaps randomly, perhaps intentionally, the two halves of World Champs “week” pretty well map directly onto tradition and innovation. The first four days of competition include the sprint, team sprint, and skiathlon, none of which was contested at a World Champs before 2001 and all of which still annoy some more conservative ski fans.
The final six days of competition, by contrast, feature races that would not have been out of place in the earliest iterations of FIS Cross Country World Ski Championships: interval-start race, 50-kilometer race, relays. There are a few caveats there; the first mass start race at a world championships didn’t even come about until 2003. And while the first world champs were held in 1924, relays weren’t added to the program until 1933.
Moreover, women didn’t get to race at this level until the 1952 Winter Olympics, nor contest a relay until 1954 World Championships in Falun. Where they raced 3 x 5km, and the men raced 4 x 10km. (Then for individual races that week, the women got a 10km classic, nothing more, while the men got 15km, 30km, and 50km races. All classic, of course, all interval-start.) Equal-distance racing has been a long time coming — and, judging only from the race formats coming up this week, still isn’t fully here yet.
All of which is to say that while the historical parallels are imperfect, the second week of racing in Planica has a lot more to offer traditionalists than the first. There is the interval-start skate race (15km for men, 10km for women); the relay (4 x 10km for men, 4 x 5km for women); and the long-distance mass start classic (50km for men, 30km for women).
Here’s when the races will be over the rest of this week:
43rd FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, Planica, Slovenia (local time at venue: GMT +1, six hours ahead of East Coast Time)
|date||race||time (AK)||time (EST)||results|
|Tuesday, Feb. 28||W 10km skate||2:30 a.m.||6:30 a.m.||article|
|Weds., March 1||M 15km skate||2:30 a.m.||6:30 a.m.||article|
|Thursday, March 2||W 4 x 5km relay||2:30 a.m.||6:30 a.m.||here|
|Friday, March 3||M 4 x 10km relay||2:30 a.m.||6:30 a.m.||here|
|Saturday, March 4||W 30km cl mass start||2 a.m.||6 a.m.||here|
|Sunday, March 5||M 50km cl mass start||2 a.m.||6 a.m.||here|
Need help viewing the races from the U.S.? Here’s our full article on how to watch.
On a personal note, I am unlikely to provide much coverage of the final three World Champs races on this site, for which I certainly apologize. I have spent nearly every winter weekend for the past four months prioritizing ski journalism over my own personal skiing and racing. I, like, created this job for myself, so that’s no one’s fault but my own and I’m really not trying to whine, but it is also true that waking up and writing on deadline for four or five hours straight is not the best way to get out for a ski during daylight hours, or to head out on a ski without feeling totally fried from deadline stress, let alone to be available and present for one’s family.
I’m racing on both Friday and Sunday of this weekend (Tour of Anchorage time!), and covering other people ski racing is really not compatible with my own optimal race performance, in any way whatsoever. Being an athlete requires one to be selfish, and I’m going to be selfish this weekend.
I hope to have more of an income stream for this site next season, and to hire others to help with the weekend World Cup reporting load. Until then, if you would like to write about the men’s relay, the 30km classic, or the 50km classic, at any level of formality, please be in touch: info (at) nordicinsights.news, or DM on Instagram. I can pay you something if you write a full article, though not that much, nor as much as I should. Please advise if interested.
— Gavin Kentch