Unorthodox Look At Why XCSkiing Is King In Norway

The Norwegians took such a clean sweep at the golden medals at the Seefeld-2019, that it’s almost embarrassing.

Let’s leave aside the issue of how good the Norwegian dominance is for the future of internation skiiing ( it isn’t – and will be discussed in a separate story soon enough)

Let’s try to take a look at why a nation of 5.3 million came to dominate one of the most grueling yet the most technical sports – and expensive ones too.

A word of pre-warning – you won’t find here: photo & texts telling you how every Norseman ( and woman) puts skis on straight out of her/his cradle.

Not because it is untrue ( and it actually isn’t true – big west coast cities like Bergen and Stavanger simply don’t have Trondheim or Oslo snow conditions).

The point we are trying to make here is that all these people, young and old, that are filling the streets of the Norwegian capital with their skis are not cause but consequence. A consequence of a very crafty, sustained, decades- long, expensive yet extremely successful promotion & marketing campaign on a national scale.

That’s how a hunk, Norwegian style, looks. Thank you, Erland Kvisle, for being not only a world-class skier, but a model too )))

What Norwegian spin doctors ( and we mean it most respectfully) have figured out is how to melt together two completely different things:

One one hand, there is Janteloven – a famed Scandinavian social code that emphasizes collective accomplishments and kinda disdains individual achievements.

On the other, that global XXI century fashion dictates totally the opposite: look at my bling, I’m so cool! ( and if you don’t have one – got to figure out how to get it, bro!)

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So by keeping the stars relatively down to earth ( Klaebo in Lamborghini? never happens! would kill the brand & destroy the connection) yet subtly emphasizing their success, their stardom, several important notions are planted & nurtured:

– Anybody could become a champion if she/he & their families put enough effort into it.

– Norway might be relatively small but but it’s damn good, special in that toughest of all sports.

– doing 50k per day each weekend ( yep, that’s 100k for two) earns you not just massive dose of endorphin, dopamine and serotonin – but gives +100 to your cool-level. Now factor in that to be able to do those 50k you must eat-sleep-exercise right – oh, and to purchase the right equipment. Everybody knows that Norway is a world apart when it comes to sales of top-level skis, poles & boots. People are ready, willing – and able – to pay for those endorphin-producing planks.

Let’s take a look at how the carefully crafted, honed and maintained system work, how’s thing intertwined to create the wholesome Ski-Is-King picture.

Smiling Therese greets travelers on arrival to Oslo airport. Just remind you who is Norwegian and, specifically, Oslo’ joy & pride is
on a way to Holmenkollen one has to pass through downtown Oslo – where Petter Northug Jr invites you for his book signing at a swanky bookstore
..Just to give you an idea what kind of neighborhood it is…
Holmenkollen itself is …how should we put it.. Surrey of Oslo? Scarsdale of Oslo? An understated luxury with incredible views – and prices to match
oh, BTW, Martin Sundby is “from the hood” – lives minutes away from the Holmenkollen stadium
Therese also lives in Holmenkollen – bought a pad for 18,8 million NOK or about 2 million euros.
Did we mention King Harald V also has a lodge in the area?
So, you understand that going to watch skiing at Holmenkollen is bit like doing Hollywood star-gazing at Beverly Hills?
except that stars are all moving in a pack and doing laps for that matter
Skiers also drive cool cars, courtesy of sponsors. In a country like Norway, with its massive taxes, a car like this would cost over 1mln. NOK = 100.000 euros.
Does it mean they are going to put themselves on skis next weekend? Not guaranteed – but if the skiing is THAT cool, THAT fashionable – chances would improve, right
especially when ( some of the world top skis) are Norway-designed AND Norway-made. Expensive? Sure, but who ever managed to put a price on a cool-factor?
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