Russians Staying Home

The European Union have decided to keep the borders closed for the citizens of the countries where COVID-19 infection numbers were recently / are high for the time being. That includes the United States – and Russia.

Which means the Russian skiers have to cancel their pencil-booked training camps in Europe.

In the last few decades Team Russia traditionally held most of their camps either in the Alps or in Scandinavia. Even a traditional yearly roll-call where all the national teams, including juniors, gather was held in Tehvandi-Otepää ,Estonia.

Team Russia is divided into four independent training groups whereas duration/intensity/ location of a camp is largely determined by coaching philosophy of a specific coach: Yuri Borodavko for Alex Bolshunov and Natalia Nepryaeva, Markus Cramer for Sergei Ustiugov and Gleb Retivykh etc.etc.

Now they have to look inwards – which could be a blessing in disguise.

Some 20+ years ago where the practice began, the Russians had money for camps – but no facilities to match what Norway or Austria could offer.

That changed.

Malinovka in Archangelsk and Peresvet outside Moscow are two training centres on par or better than anything Europe has to offer – those were basically built to emulate the best, from fancy rollerski tracks to even fancier spas.

Toksovo outside St.Petersburg features recently opened indoor ski tunnel.

What the Russian skiers cannot count on as yet are fancy training facilities in the mountains a-la Seiser Alm, where both Johaug and Bolshunov spent a considerable time at last summer. But in huge country with varied landscape and climate zone building those is just a matter of time.

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