Here is Fis' new approach to closing the gap between rich and poor skiing nations.

At the Sprint World Cup in Tallinn next week, all athletes will have the same waxer.

"I have doubts about that", says Swedish sprint star Maja Dahlqvist.

At the Sprint World Cup in Tallinn next week, all racers will have the same waxer.
At the Sprint World Cup in Tallinn next week, all racers will have the same waxer.

The difference between poor and rich length nations is getting bigger and has become a problem for the International Ski and Snowboard Association Fis, which sees that the number of participants in the world cup is decreasing. Recently, there were also signals that some nations could not afford to send racers to the competitions in Holmenkollen.

There is the greatest difference within the grassland area.

Major nations as Sweden and Norway have large wax organizations and wax trucks, while countries like Slovenen have to settle for two to three wallers.

To even out the difference and save money, there has been discussion about common flushing for all hauliers.

The Sprint World Cup in Tallinn on Tuesday will be a first test, where representatives from a wax factory will choose all skiers.

Even out the difference

"It will be interesting. But this is a first test. Then the choice of skis becomes a difference", says Swedish national team manager Anders BystrΓΆm, who is a member of Fi's World Cup Committee.

Sweden would normally have ten waxers in place in Tallinn. Now it will be two or three who transport there skis and then hand them over to the common dikes. No ski tests will be made.

Dahlqvist critical

The test is not appreciated by all skiers. Maja Dahlqvist, who goes to win the total sprint cup, is critical.

"I think you can solve it in another way. Maybe Fis has to go in with more support for the smaller nations and even out the difference that way. It's a better way than making bad skis for everyone, or that you don't get your capacity because the skis are wrong."

Maja Dahlqvist.
Maja Dahlqvist.

Australian skier Ellen Soehol Lie likes the test.

"It's very good when you see what differences there are in resources between small and large nations. Then it's hard to compete. A country like Australia will never have a wax organization like the big countries. If you can do it more like everyone, it's good", she says.

Facts: Poor and Rich Cross-Country Nations

The economic crisis hits cross-country skiing particularly hard in several ways.

  • When Sweden and Norway strengthen their dominance, the smaller ski nations have problems with reduced interest from the media, sponsors and audience.

  • All ski teams have saved money this season. Hardest beats it against the poorer national teams with a smaller budget.

  • A good flushing organization often determines the result. The richest national teams have the largest wax trucks with associated relaxation areas. The poorest have to settle for a wall shed.

  • Sweden's waxing organization contains ten to twelve people. Slovenia has two to three people in its wax team.