Spent the day watching a 2010 Winter Olympic test event at the Winter Olympic Park. On tap was the men's and women's relay cross country relay sprints. The event was outstanding and well run. But I was most obsessed with the stuff. I love high performance sports for the equipment. Downhill ski racing was my sport but I was pleased to see the nordic folks rely on just as much gear, and as with any sport where speed is the ultimate objective there is an amazing efficiency in every aspect of the gear. If any component, contour or ounce of weight doesn't in some way make you faster, it's removed. I like that discipline.
On the flipside of that is what's according to Jan Chipase become a norm at Japanese ski resorts.
Air guns to remove snow from your boots before stepping into skis or a snowbaord. A bit much if you ask me and removes the pleasure of a stomp of the foot and reassuring clunk of engagement in a crisp quiet alpine morning.
Back to the nordic world - Vegard Ulvang, a Norwegian and skiing god was on hand presenting medals. It reminded me of the mornings when I was a teenager training on the glacier each October in Northern Italy's Val Senales, a glacier that also featured a section for cross country athletes, and each morning being crammed into a tram with sweaty cross country skiers, including Vegard, wearing scientificly advanced technical fabrics before anti-stink technologies were discovered. To be blunt it was disgusting and once made me vomit, but that may have been the altitude sickness.
But today, boy Vegard I must say you and the rest of the skiny ski folks smelt good. Much better than those mornings many years ago. I would have confronted you at the time but was afraid you'd throw one of your Olympic medals at me. So thank you fabric scientists. Noses everywhere thank you.