Mark owns Nordic Ultratune and, in his spare time, helps Olympic teams have fast skis.
The work at Whistler was rewarding on many levels. First and foremost, it was great to join the team from Slovenia again. I really enjoy working with the service team - Miha, Gianluca, and Stefan - and really appreciate the excellent work they do for every race. Equally enjoyable is the opportunity to see the athletes and coaches who have become good friends during the past few years.
The service work for the Olympics remained the same protocol that we've used at World Cup events for the past few years. These games may be the highest priority for all the racers and service crews, but the processes and precision and focus on excellence is the same.
There is variation from day to day, but I think the most memorable were the few things that were constant throughout these two weeks, that marked the start of every day:
First, Miha and I would find a Starbucks and get a cup to go and head for Whistler Olympic Park. Driving the Subaru through the various security checkpoints every day. As one of the few private vehicles that seemed to be doing the daily trip up the hill, we became familiar and conversational with the security officers in "the big tent" who would ask the routine questions, check accreditation, etc, while other officers scanned the bottom of the car with mirrors. Then parking in the exact same spot, just to the left of the final security officer (a "blue coat" volunteer) at the bottom of the walk-way up to the cross-country venue. The same every day.
Then, in the early morning, Stefan and I would begin with ski testing starting just before dawn, with headlamps. Some days we'd be the only ones on the test tracks, and other days there would be 3-4 other service teams sharing the same tracks (often sharing the same set of timing wands).
After that, things would change up a bit depending on which races we were preparing for. But I think I'll remember the start of each day the most vividly. It was the start of the day that had the routine that became so thoroughly ingrained.