Mika Venäläinen, the lubrication manager of the Finnish national ski team, reminds us that the characteristics of the skis still affect the result much more than the lubrication.
Finland maintenance manager of the cross country team Mika Venäläinen knocks out the Norwegian influencer Guri Knotten’s the proposal that ski maintenance in top-level international competitions could be leveled out with lubrication restrictions, as it were.
“We could standardize much more on the equipment side. Maybe we should try common lubrication arrangements for everyone,” said Knotten on Monday in an interview with VG.
In September, Knotten will start work in Switzerland as director of Nordic skiing and biathlon. According to VG, he is also becoming a member of the FIS cross-country committee.
Knotten justifies his idea of equalization by the fact that ski maintenance currently consumes a lot of financial resources and makes the position of smaller ski countries especially difficult.
Read more: A Norwegian skiing influencer made a bold suggestion that would revolutionize the entire sport: “The best teams can be negative”
FIS cross-country director Pierre Mignerey said on Tuesday for VG, that FIS has established a working group to consider this problem, that many smaller countries are tight with their budgets.
“We have discussed the FIS lubrication group, an equal system. But there will always be differences. Athletes have different skis.”
“Amateurs thoughts”, Mika Venäläinen acknowledges the talks about the anointing shared by all.
The Russian reminds us of the fact that lubrication itself has very little effect on the functionality and competitiveness of skis these days.
“There are still so many variables in skiing, and the ski decides 80 percent of the result. Of course, the traditional one has a big meaning if the grip lubrication succeeds or fails, but free skiing lubrication has a marginally small importance,” Venäläinen says to HS, specifically referring to the contribution of ski maintenance to the competition result.
The athlete’s condition and other characteristics are then a different matter.
When it comes to ski equipment, athletes are never on the same page, because there are no two pairs of skis with completely identical characteristics. Of course, attempts have been made to produce such, but according to Venäläinen, there are always at least small differences.
“By accident, you may end up with quite similar pairs of skis, but if there is a good series, it might go to a good athlete in its entirety.”
“Good countries and good athletes still have an advantage compared to those athletes of a slightly lower level,” says Venäläinen, referring to the fact that usually the best skis from ski factories end up with the best skiers.
According to the Russian, balancing the lubrication does not solve the problem.
“Even in Formula 1, not everyone drives with the same engine.”
Russian says he understands that the equalization proposals are aimed at financial savings.
“Then there would be no service trucks, and the carbon footprint could be smaller, but balancing the good and the bad with lubrication is a marginally small thing. The ski itself is 80 percent decisive, and with lubrication you can make a small file in one direction or the other.”
According to the Russian, the balance of power would be more balanced if the skis came from the race organizer, and they were raffled off to the athletes.
“FIS would have a ski library where skis could be borrowed,” Venäläinen quips.
Own in “standardizing” the lubrication of its figures, there would be control. How is it ensured that everyone uses creams according to the rules?
In the last couple of years, FIS has had massive difficulties in developing a reliable enough method to distinguish whether there is a fluoride-free or fluoride-containing cream on the bottom of the ski.
Because of this, the entry into force of the fluoride cream ban has had to be postponed.
Read more: The fluoride cream ban is moving again, and the reason is the same as before
It could be even more challenging to measure whether there is cream of a certain brand and allowed by the rules on the bottom of the ski.
“Yes, it would almost require that the athlete comes to the race with a small ski bag and FIS takes care of the skis. I don’t see a team maintenance team going there. If there is no supervision, it goes really badly,” Venäläinen says.
The Russian thinks that financial savings could be made more easily, for example, by limiting the number of skis per athlete. Now resources are spent on storing and transporting a huge amount of skis.
“FIS marked the athlete with X number of skis per season. With something like that, more rationalization could be achieved,” says Venäläinen, under whose leadership the Finnish ski maintenance team was commendably successful at the Beijing Olympics.
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