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Smigun, Ulvang, The USST and You on World Cup

Mon, Jul  9, 2007 - By Pete Vordenberg,

Check this out - you guided by Smigun in Estonia and Ulvang in Norway on the World Cup with the US Ski Team...

In America every weekend year round stadiums and arenas are filled to capacity with sport fans. These are strictly spectator events. The fans file in to the stadium watch the competition and file back out of the stadium. Those of us in the US who are fans of the sport of cross country ski racing are generally limited to watching the highest level of our sport contested on video or on the internet. Often we only get to read about it the next day.

Cross country ski racing on the World Cup however combines a true spectator event with a participation sport. A World Cup arena is the natural landscape, the weather is whatever nature gives us, the competition is close enough to touch, the atmosphere is somewhere between festive and an all out party and before and after the event you can actually participate in the sport you love.

The US Ski Team is very happy to give you the opportunity to take part in the spectacle of World Cup cross country ski racing. We have put together two all-encompassing trips to two of the most exciting races in the world, Otepaa, Estonia and Drammen / Holmenkollen in Oslo, Norway.


Torin Koos - 3rd in Estonia last year.

Caviar & Cross Country
Otepaeae, Estonia
February 6-11, 2008

Otepaa, Estonia is a small town by any measure. Only 2,200 people live there. But when the World Cup comes to town the place explodes. Otepaa was chosen as a destination for several reasons. The party is absolutely one of them. The town is packed, the clubs are packed, the people are extremely friendly, outgoing and love a good time. Another reason is the location. The venue is an old Soviet training center at the edge of town and the landscape is rolling farm and forest. While many of the ex-Soviet states struggle, Estonia’s economy – based largely on high technology industries – has taken off. The country is inexpensive, yet clean and picturesque. Tallinn, the capital and start of this trip, is a well preserved and beautiful medieval city.

Next is the competition itself. Last year we took 3rd and 4th in Estonia. This year we are gunning for better. You will be invited to see the inner workings of the US Team, meet the athletes and staff and gain new insight into the sport.

The skiing in Estonia is also excellent. Snow conditions are generally quite good – with cold, crisp weather. Come to watch the race, but bring your skis because you’ll have a lot of chances to ski including a fully supported tour of the famed Tartu Marathon course.

The guide of this trip is a very special bonus – International star and hometown Olympic medalist: Kristina Smigun!

Finally – the first reason is also the last – Estonia made the cut because this is the best party on the World Cup circuit, bar none.


Nordic Nights in Norway
Holmenkollen - Oslo, Norway
March 4-10, 2008

Drammen / Holmenkollen, Norway was a natural choice. Norway is the birthplace of cross country skiing and a country that lives and breathes the sport. Norway has a true ski culture and this culture is no where more obvious than around these two events.

Drammen, about 45minutes from downtown Oslo, hosts one of the most spectacular sprint events in the world. The course is lined with people at least 10 to 20 deep for a full km with stands packed with people. There are vendors selling souvenirs, drinks and food. There is live music, dancing and cultural shows.

The course itself circles an old church right in town.

Holmenkollen is one of the oldest races in the world. This marathon (30km women, 50km men) takes place on a grueling 16.5km loop through the woods above town. There are many, many hundred of km of ski trails so bring your skis and consider staying for the Birkiebeiner the following weekend.

Like Otepaa, Holmekollen is a true party, but in Norway the party takes place in the same venue as the race. There are Norwegians, Swedes and people from all over the world camped out all along the 16.5km loop. The party starts the night before the event and continues throughout the race and into the night – where it moves to downtown Oslo.

When you think of watching Holmenkollen picture Le Alpe Du Huez in the Tour De France – where the crowd makes a tunnel around the athletes as they churn past. You are not only close you are a part of the event, a part of what makes Holmenkollen as cool as it is.

You will be invited into the back room of the sport – where you can meet the team and staff and see what the inner working of the world cup are really like.

As cross country ski fans you will be very excited to hear that our guide in Norway will be Vegard Ulvang. That is like being shown around the pyramids by King Tut.


I hope you will join us. This is an opportunity to really take part in the sport you love at the highest level. Firstly you are on hand for the event and every aspect surrounding the event and finally you become a supporter of your team. The US Ski Team is your team. It is made up of the kids who skied in your local club a few years ago, it is made up of an American coaching staff, it represents the hard work of people from all over the USA. The results the US Ski Team are getting are the best results we’ve had in over 20 years – and when I say we I mean us. This is your team and this is your chance to come see us and support at the races – and in general.

For more information please visit:


Pete Vordenberg
Head Coach US cross country Ski Team


Be a part of the action...

Otepaa. USA 3rd and 4th.

Freeman in Otepaa.

Kikkan on the podium last season. Support your team, have a great time, expand your understanding of the sport, be a part of it.


(Vordenberg and images)

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