Innovations in xcskiing worth considering? Learn from Blink!

In 2021 Blink Skifestival cemented its reputation for being innovator and trendsetter.

Since 2019, the last “traditional”, pre-pandemic Blink, the organizers reworked the program quite a bit and here are the novelties we found to be worth reviewing and actively recommending:

– Individual prologue + distance race with time handicap. We reviewed it here, Just to reiterate: that’s the best format we’ve seen so far when it comes to pitching sprinters vs distance runners & keeping the suspense going throughout the сompetition ( at least in women’s race).

Distance runner vs sprinter. Who’s better in two different races on the same day?

– Mixed-gender long distance relay, another unique format. Since we could afford to be subjective, we’ll spell it out: great idea – for Norway. Only there the national television could broadcast a race for whopping 8 hours and only because they at NRK manage to produce quite a unique ethnographic /tourism promo/sport mix that can’t be emulated in any other country. TV production of that kind costs pretty penny but without helicopter in the skies etc. etc. it would be difficult to create a proper television show a race of that kind requires. So, we are impressed but skeptical it could be emulated. Liked to be proven wrong – perhaps there is a deep-pocketed television station with a chopper on standby and other production bells & whistles …

Mixed gender starting grid. What could be more 2021?

– However, in the course of the long-distance relay, a little but potentially significant innovation debuted: “touchless handover” . Sure, a traditional mess at a regular relay exchange is much fun to watch – unless you are at the receiving end of it, mad about that broken pole or ski. Here Blink folks used something borrowed from swimming – and every skier we spoke to on the ground was totally happy to hand over that way forever & everywhere.

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Check the orange line. Covid distancing protocol-friendly too, ha!

Could things be made even more exciting? Depends on your POW. Many a person at Blink openly talked about a mixed gender Lysebotn run or, more specifically Therese vs men. This year Ms.Johaug would have been 10th in the men’s race packed with world-class talent. We could only wish đŸ€ž

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