Thursday, October 30, 2014

Levi Reindeer Roulette

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

After Marcel Hirscher won in Soelden, he said that he was looking forward to the races in Levi so that he could visit and feed Ferdinand, the reindeer that he won last year. The question immediately will Marcel recognize Ferdinand? After all, it has been a year since Marcel won Ferdinand and reindeer can change a lot over that period of time. And how will he know that he really has the correct reindeer? Well, dear readers, you are in luck. One of our intrepid reporters scored an interview with one of Ferdinand's herders. He wanted to be called Matti for this interview. Let's find out what Matti has to say.

BB: How many reindeer do you have in your herd?
Matti: Right now we have 257.
BB: Marcel Hirscher's reindeer, Ferdinand, is in your herd. Is Mikaela Shiffrin's reindeer, Rudolph, also part of your herd?
Matti: Yes. It has been a real honor and privilege to take care of both Ferdinand and Rudolph.
BB: Have Marcel and Mikaela been logging in to your special website to see how their reindeer are doing?
Matti: Yes. They are both very interested in their reindeer, so they log in often. Not everyone gets to own a reindeer.
BB: That is true. The question that the ski world is asking is how do Mikaela and Marcel really know that  they are seeing Ferdinand and Rudolph and not a different reindeer when they log into the website?
Matti: What do you mean?
BB: I  have seen many photos of reindeer and they all look alike.
Matti: They do not all look alike! Every reindeer is different. You can tell your kids apart, can't you?
BB: Of course I can.
Matti: Well it is the same for me. My reindeer are my babies and I can easily tell them apart.
BB: So you don't have Ferdinand or Rudolph's names branded across their sides?
Matti: (horrified) No! Branding an animal is cruel. I would never do such a thing!
BB: You're right. What about tattooing their names on them instead?
Matti: That is even worse than branding. You could never get a reindeer to stay still long enough to get a tattoo, especially one with a long name like Ferdinand.
BB: Do they have their names stamped on them? That is much quicker than tattooing them. 
Matti: No. How would we stamp a reindeer?
BB: With a very large stamp of course. You ought to know because you're a reindeer herder.
Matti: I never heard of reindeer being stamped.
BB: Do you color Ferdinand and Rudolph differently so that they are easy for Marcel and Mikaela to find on the website? For example, is Ferdinand blue and Rudolph red?
Matti: No. It would be very difficult to dye a reindeer. Anyway, I don't need to dye them because I know which ones are Ferdinand and Rudolph.
BB: Do you shave their names in their fur so it's easy for Marcel and Mikaela to spot them on the website?
Matti: No!  We don't brand, tattoo, stamp, or dye our reindeer or shave their names in their fur. We leave our reindeer as nature created them.
BB: Do you put clothes on them, like a sweater or little booties, so that they are easy to identify? Or do you string colored lights on their antlers?
Matti: This is really getting ridiculous! No, all of our reindeer are naked and stay that way. They also don't have colored lights on their antlers. Where do you come up with this stuff?
BB: At the Blickbild, we ask the questions that the others don't dare to ask. (short pause) Let's say that Marcel and Mikaela win in Levi again. Will you give them different reindeer, or will you give them Ferdinand and Rudolph again because they probably won't notice the difference?
Matti: Of course they will get different reindeer. Just because you can't tell the difference between reindeer doesn't mean that Marcel or Mikaela will have the same problem.
BB: If someone else wins in Levi, will you give them Ferdinand and Rudolph?
Matti: No. They will get different reindeer.
BB: If Marcel or Mikaela don't win in a few weeks, you will now have four reindeer to keep track of. Won't that be difficult to keep track of which ski racer has which reindeer?
Matti: No. I can easily keep track of all of my reindeer.
BB: One more question. When Marcel and Mikaela visit their reindeer, can they be assured that they are seeing the real Ferdinand and Rudolph? 
Matti: Of course. If I had all of my reindeer lined up, I could easily pick out which ones are Ferdinand and Rudolph.
BB: You didn't secretly sell Ferdinand and Rudolph to the Norwegians for ojlmsfjaegger* and will therefore show Marcel and Mikaela different reindeer when they come to visit?
Matti: Why would I sell any of my reindeer to the Norwegians? There are more than enough reindeer in Norway to supply the country with ojlmsfjaegger for many centuries. Marcel and Mikaela will definitely be visiting and feeding the proper reindeer.
BB: Let's hope so. That would cause a major scandal if Ferdinand and Rudolph have been turned into ojlmsfjaegger, or whatever reindeer dishes you eat in Finland, especially if Marcel and Mikaela really can pick out their reindeer from the rest of the herd. Well, it looks like we are out of time. I want to thank you for this enlightening interview. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

* Oljmsfjaegger are cubes of pickled reindeer heart covered in a special smoked salmon and chocolate sauce that are eaten on birthdays in Norway. 

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: Our reporters are easy to pick out in the press pool. They are the most intrepid ones. 

The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine skiing, please like us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter as bostonblickbild. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Soelden 2014 Review

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

Our intrepid on-the-spot reporters were in Soelden to bring our readers the stories that the others don't dare to print. The others will talk about Mikaela Shiffrin and Anna Fenninger tying for first place, Marcel Hirscher's huge margin of victory, or Ted Ligety's big mistake that landed him in 10th place. We won't. Instead, our reporters dug deep and found stories that even the tabloids won't touch. Let's find out what they have to say. 

Is Sweden Still Cursed? Even though Dr. Mabongo's curse against Sweden was lifted during the summer break, Team Sweden performed like it was still under it. The top Swedish woman was Maria Pietilae-Holmner in 8th place, while the best male performer was 14th place Calle Lindh. Did Dr. Mabongo really lift his curse, or does the team still think it is in effect? We tried to contact Dr. Mabongo to find out if he really lifted his curse, but he was busy with the German men's team and had no time for us. One would think that the publication which made Dr. Mabongo famous would be worth a few minutes of his time. He had time to send Frida Hansdotter flowers before the women's race, and time to help Fritz Dopfer to a 2nd place finish in Soelden, but none for us. We'll show that little twerp......................anyway, we will just have to wait three weeks until the races in Levi to find out if Dr. Mabongo's curse is still in effect. 

Julia Mancuso's Hair. Dr. Mabongo is not the only one keeping our readers in suspense. Julia Mancuso is doing the same with her hair color. Over the summer she had blue hair, but she showed up in Soelden as a blonde. What hair color will she have for the North American races? It turns out that one of Julia's new sponsors is Miss Clairol Hair Dye. At every race weekend this season she will sport a different hair color, which will not be announced in advance. Members of ski racing fan sites are already placing bets on Julia's hair color for Aspen and Lake Louise. Julia's hair raises an interesting question for the FIS. Will a racer be deducted if her hair color clashes with her racing suit or boots? The powers that be at the FIS will be debating whether hair counts as part of a racer's ensemble, and can therefore incur artistry bonuses or deductions, at their next meeting. 

Best Artistic Impression. Ondrej Bank of the Czech Republic lost a ski in the early part of the second run. He did a great job staying balanced on one ski and earned bonus points for his grace. The Russian judge was especially impressed with Ondrej's performance and gave him a perfect 10. Unfortunately, that score was thrown out. But the average of his other scores was 9.6. Ondrej's service man, on the other hand, got a big zero and a scolding for neglecting to properly adjust the ski's bindings. Jared Goldberg of the USA earned originality points for his move where he landed on his back, bounced up, and was able to complete the first run. The down side was that he lost a lot of time and did not qualify for the second run. Jared earned a score of 9.35. Tim Jitloff (USA) looked like he missed a gate in the second run and was on the way to being disqualified. But he went around that gate in a way that looked like he straddled it. Video revealed that his technique was legal and he got bonus points for his creativity in looking deceptive. His artistry score was 8.9 despite a zero from the French judge (which was thrown out), who is still convinced that Tim cheated. 

How Do You Define Fast and Slow? It looks like the Austrian commentators on ORF either need new glasses, or they need to come back to Earth from their alternate universe. Co-winner Mikaela Shiffrin was the first racer and finished her run in 1:17:93. After she finished, the commentators thought that her time would not hold up because the normal time for the Soelden course is around 1:12. They thought that Mikaela looked great, had impressive form, and skied a perfect line, but was slower than a snail. Mikaela had the last laugh when she led the field after the first run. In the second run, the ORF commentators thought that Andrea Fischbacher, who had the fastest time in Run 2, was unbelievably fast. Her time? 1:19:59. So 1:17 is too slow, but 1:19 is faster than a speeding bullet? Our reporters and researchers want to move to Planet ORF the next time they miss a deadline. Their editors will think they finished before they even got the assignment. 

Lucky Numbers. Last year in Soelden the winning number for the men and women was 3. This year co-winners Mikaela Shiffrin and Anna Fenninger had start numbers 1 and 5 respectively. Both numbers average to 3. But it looks like this year that 5 is a lucky number because that was men's winner Marcel Hirscher's number. Continuing on the 5 theme, Justin Murisier of Switzerland had start number 55 and finished Sunday's race in an impressive 12th place. FIS officials will be monitoring the number draw box in Levi to ensure that the numbers 5 and 55 are not the only ones in it.

A Sight that Makes Sore Eyes. France started a trend in 2013 with its speed suit that looked like it had been designed by someone who was high on hallucinogenic drugs. Other countries have followed suit with the psychedelic look, notably Norway and Finland. Norway's new racing suit is purple with other colors in a crazy pattern. But the ensemble that was hardest on the eyes was Finland's. Last year's speed suit was bad enough with its blue and white stripes. This year Finland went to a black and white checkerboard pattern. But the warm up pants and jackets were even worse. They had the checkerboard pattern but the bottoms of the pants and sleeves had red, yellow, and black stripes in a German flag pattern. There was even some green mixed in on the cuffs and bottom of the pants. The designers at Halti were obviously doing their best to get bonus points for artistry and originality. Either that, or their strategy was to get Finnish racers to win by making the others tear their eyes out after looking at their clothing.

You Ask A Stupid Question. Our reporters are known for coming up with hard-hitting questions. But in Soelden Marcel Hirscher was asked the all-time dumbest question in ski racing history. The good thing is that one of our intrepid reporters did not ask it. A US reporter asked Marcel Hirscher if he felt that it was important to win in his home country. Marcel was his usual cool self and said, "Of course." Was  he supposed to have said, "No. I really wanted to lose but, darn it, I was going too fast and ended up winning the race?"  If one of our reporters asked a question like that, he would find himself in the unemployment line faster than Andrea Fischbacher skied the second run in Soelden. We will stick to questions that nobody else dares to ask.

And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive report. 

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: We don't change our hair color, but people think that we take 5 types of hallucinogenic drugs to come up with our stories. 

The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine skiing, please like us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter as bostonblickbild

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Five Things You Should Know About Drs. Mabongo and Djibuku

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

As Soelden approaches, the fans get excited about racing season. They spend countless hours trying to guess who will win there and who will get the globes in the coming season. The fans also wonder which witch doctors will be the most successful and earn the Dave Seville Witch Doctor of the Year Award. One of our intrepid reporters got to know two of the best witch doctors in the World Cup: this year's Dave Seville Award winner Dr. Mabongo and this year's runner-up Dr. Djibuku. Let's find out what they have to say.

BB: Dr. Mabongo, I will start with you. First of all, congratulations on your Dave Seville Award. 
Dr. Mabongo: Thank you. It is a big honor for me to win the award.
BB: You are still the German ski team's witch doctor, though you switched from the women's team to the men's. Can you tell our readers why you switched?
Dr. Mabongo: I was hired mainly to work with Maria Hoefl-Riesch. I feel like I was successful because she won medals in both Schladming and Sochi. In addition, she also fulfilled her goal of winning a downhill globe. But she retired and the German Ski Federation (DSV) didn't think that the other women needed help from a witch doctor. But the men's head trainer came to me and asked me to work with Felix Neureuther, Fritz Dopfer, and Stefan Luitz. I already had experience working with Fritz at the team competition in Schladming and we got on very well.
BB: Were Felix's back problems caused by another witch doctor putting a curse on him?
Dr. Mabongo: No. Sometimes athletes get injured all by themselves without any curses from opposing witch doctors. I look forward to working with Felix with he returns to competition as well as Fritz and Stefan.
BB: OK, let's get down to the five things that ski racing fans should know about you. Number One is you were fluent in German before you started working for the DSV. How could you be fluent in German living in the Congo?
Dr. Mabongo:  When I was a boy, Austrian missionaries came to a village that is about a 12-hour walk from mine. They brought a TV with them and some young boys to ride a stationary bike that powered the generator to run the TV. There was no electricity in the area. There was only one channel that the TV could receive--the Austrian channel ORF. I learned German from watching ski racing and interviews with skiers on ORF. The missionaries and boys died from tropical diseases, but the village's boys stepped up to run the generator for the TV. By the way, that TV still works.
BB: Number Two is that you love ice cream.
Dr. Mabongo: That's right. When I was in Cortina with Maria two seasons ago, she bought me an ice cream cone. I never had anything like it before. It was the most heavenly thing I ever ate!  Now I have ice cream everywhere I go, but the ice cream in Cortina is the best. Everyone says that the Italians make the best ice cream and they are right! My favorite flavor is chocolate.
BB: The third thing about you is that you want to have a lot of children.
Dr. Mabongo:  I have 14 brothers and sisters, so I come from a big family. In the Congo it is normal to have a lot of children and I would also like to have a large family--at least 8 children. I need a son so that I can pass down my knowledge of witch doctoring. Our knowledge of how to be a good witch doctor has been handed down from father to eldest son since the world was created by a swarm of giant mosquitoes. I would like to start having children so that there will be a next generation of witch doctors. There is a woman in my village who I will marry next year. We have been engaged to each other since we were born. She also wants to have many children.
BB:  The fourth interesting fact about you is that you live in Germany for most of the year but dislike beer.
Dr. Mabongo: I am ashamed to admit this one. Germans love their beer, but I could never stand the taste of it. When I'm out with the team I will order a beer, but I end up just taking a few sips of it to be polite. I would much rather drink baobab leaf tea. That is the best drink. Fortunately, the DSV special orders baobab leaves for me so I can make my tea.
BB: The last thing about you is you are an expert marksman.
Dr. Mabongo: Part of growing up in the Congo was learning to stalk prey and kill animals with either a spear or bow and arrow. Before we are allowed out in the bush to kill animals, we practice with targets. I was the best marksman in my village by far. I was good enough to go to a regional competition, where I won a first place trophy. But because I was the eldest son in the family, I trained to become a witch doctor instead of a hunter. I still practice with targets to stay in shape and I am still the best marksman in my village. I can even hit a bulls eye when I stand with my back to the target and have my eyes closed.
BB: I will definitely stay on your good side. Now to Dr. Djibuku, who is the French men's ski team's witch doctor, who mainly works with the technical team. In Schladming he also worked with the men's speed team and the women's team. (short pause) Dr. Djibuku,  you became famous when you brought Gauthier de Tessieres to Schladming on a flying carpet. (see this story) This is a good lead in to the first thing the fans should know about make your own flying carpets.
Dr. Djibuku: Yes. When I was 12, I went to a witch doctors' convention in Morocco with my father. One of the classes there was magic carpet making. I made my first carpet at that convention and I still have it. Believe or not, it still flies! Carpet making is very relaxing after a long day of mixing up potions and putting curses on opposing ski racers. In fact, I made the carpet that Gauthier used to fly to Schladming.  He has it displayed with the silver medal that he won there.
BB: The second interesting thing about you is your taste in music.  Tell our readers about it.
Dr. Djibuku: I love classical music, especially Bach's two and three part inventions for harpsichord. The harpsichord is an amazing instrument. When I retire, I plan to learn how to play the harpsichord. It is my dream to be able to play some of those two and three part inventions on a harpsichord.
BB: Thing number three that the fans should know is that you like police shows on TV.
Dr. Djibuku: Unlike Dr. Mabongo, I did not have access to a TV in my part of the Congo. Any foreign missionaries that came to our village were cooked and eaten within three days of their arrival. My first exposure to TV was in France. A lot of the people who work for the team like to watch police shows like "CSI" or "Law and Order," so I watched with them. I also watch other shows, but the police shows are my favorites.  My very favorite program is an old police show from the 1960s and '70s called, "Adam-12" that is on French TV.
BB: The next time Julia Mancuso's Go-Pro camera goes missing, we can call you. The fourth thing about you is that you are a very good gymnast.
Dr. Djibuku: We Pygmies are the perfect size for doing gymnastics. If I wasn't a witch doctor, I would have become a professional gymnast and either competed in the Olympics or worked in a circus. When I was 16, I competed in the junior division of the Witch Doctor Olympics and won three medals: bronze for the all-around competition, silver on the floor exercise, and bronze on the parallel bars. I can still do a lot of gymnastics skills and hope to compete in the masters division at the next Witch Doctor Olympics in 2016. Maybe I will win a gold medal.
BB: There is a witch doctor Olympics?
Dr. Djibuku: Yes. Witch doctors from all over the world get together every 4 years for a competition in all of the summer Olympic sports. You say that you are intrepid, yet you never heard of the Witch Doctor Olympics?
BB: The Blickbild has the most intrepid reporters in the business! I bet most other reporters never heard of the Witch Doctor Olympics either. Anyway, let's get to the last thing that our readers should know about you. Even though you are a major ski team's witch doctor, you have no desire to ski.
Dr. Djibuku: Correct. The idea of going down an icy slope on two thin boards scares me half to death. I am very good at being a witch doctor and will help the French men to do their best. But you will never catch me putting on a pair of skis. Some of the guys offered to teach me how to ski, but I turned them down. After all, the racers don't mix magic potions or make flying carpets. We each have our jobs to do and mine does not entail skiing.
BB: Will Alexis Pinturault continue to work with you, or will he use one of the Red Bull or Head witch doctors?
Dr. Djibuku: Alexis will work with me because I was instrumental in his success. He tried one of the witch doctors that Head gave him, but he wasn't satisfied and came back to me.
BB: One more question for both of you...After spending time in Europe and North America, have you ever wanted to become tall? You are both about 120 cm tall.
Dr. Mabongo and Dr. Djibuku (together): No way!!!!
Dr. Mabongo: I am the perfect size for a Pygmy. Why would I want to become tall?
Dr. Djibuku: Dr. Mabongo and I are sensibly sized. It's the others who are abnormally tall.
BB: Good point. Well, it looks like we are out of time. I want to thank you both for revealing some interesting things about yourselves to the fans. I hope that the skiers you work with have a successful season. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: There is only one thing our readers need to know about our reporters---they are the most intrepid in the business. 

The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine skiing, please like us on Facebook. We are also on Twitter as bostonblickbild.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New Career for Marcel Hirscher and Max Franz?

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive
Marcel Hirscher, the overall Crystal Globe winner for the past three seasons, posted photos of himself doing acrobatic tricks with his teammate Max Franz. With the opening races in Soelden fast approaching, everyone else is writing about Lindsey Vonn back on skis again. But we wanted to avoid that story like we would a field full of poison ivy. Instead, one of our intrepid reporters was at Press Day with the Austrian Ski Team on the Moelltaler glacier. Our reporter scored an interview with both Marcel Hirscher and Max Franz. Let's find out what they have to say.
BB: Marcel, first of all, we want to wish you a belated congratulations on your third overall Crystal Globe in a row. That is an amazing achievement.
Hirscher: Thank you.
BB: Do you think you will make it four in a row?
Hirscher: I would like to, but there are a lot of guys who will make it tough. Aksel, Ted, and Alexis are worthy challengers and won't make it easy for me.
BB: You recently posted photos of yourselves balancing on each other and doing other circus tricks.
Franz: Yes. We were having some fun. The Austrian team is a very close group and we have a lot of good times together.
BB: Is there anything that our readers should know?
Franz: Like what?
BB: Are you two really planning to quit the team and join a circus?
Hirscher: The only circus we are planning to join is the White Circus.
BB: For our newer readers, the White Circus is the nickname for the World Cup tour. (short pause) You said that you are not planning to join a circus now. What about in the future?
Hirscher: I don't have any plans to join a circus after I retire from racing.
Franz: Neither do I.
BB: OK, so you don't plan to join a circus now or after you retire. Were you practicing a new routine to entertain the fans at the Soelden race weekend?
Hirscher: No. We we're not going to get ourselves injured before the season begins.
Franz: I think you're reading too much into a couple of guys having fun for the cameras.
BB: I don't think so. Our readers need to know what their favorite ski racers are doing at all times of the day and night. If you two suddenly decided to retire and become circus acrobats without telling your fans, that would be a disaster of epic proportions!
Hirscher: If we decide to become circus performers, either now or after we retire, your reporters would be the first to know. For now, we will remain ski racers.
BB: We are not just reporters. The Blickbild has the most intrepid reporters in the business.
Franz: Joining the circus would not be a disaster at all. Do you know what was really a disaster? Try getting stripped of an Olympic gold medal for something that your country's judges did. (see this story)
BB: Well, you did put your hand down, which was a major deduction.
Franz: But it was still a medal-worthy performance. No other racer did such original and graceful work on one ski on an Ante Kostelic course. The artistry bonus should have outweighed the hand touching the snow. I should also have received points for performing my moves on Ante's course, which was incredibly difficult.
BB: It appears that you are still not over the CAS ruling.
Franz: You go from being a gold medal winner and bringing glory to your nation to a pariah because you got stripped of that medal! I don't think that's something anyone can get over. I will have to try and forget it about it when the season starts, and carry on, but that will be hard to do. (starts to cry)
Hirscher: Now look what you did! You're even worse than that woman who made Bode Miller cry in Sochi.
BB: I'm sorry. Let's change the subject. What are your goals for this season?
Hirscher: Another overall globe would be nice, as well as small globes in slalom and GS. A medal or two in Vail would be great too.
Franz: To have a good season and hopefully win a medal in Vail and be able to keep it.
BB: I hope that both of you achieve your goals this season. Well--
Hirscher: Do you want to know the real reason why Max and I were doing acrobatic tricks?
BB: Of course. I have a responsibility to our readers to bring them the real story behind those photos.
Hirscher: Part of the CAS ruling was that there will not be any Austrian judges on artistry panels at ski races next season. If we Austrians fall or have a balance break in a race, we think that the other judges will automatically be against us. We don't want another one of our racers to get stripped of a medal or race win because of judging bias.
BB: But the high and low scores are thrown out, which helps to even out any possible bias.
Hirscher: In theory this is true and that system works most of the time. But we want to be prepared for what is coming this season.
Franz: By practicing acrobatic moves before the season starts, we are well prepared. We will know how to fall or lose our balance with originality and grace. We will have the highest artistry scores and bonuses this season. Just like nobody can match Austria in the Nations Cup standings, we will crush everyone else with our artistry scores.
Hirscher: We also heard that the FIS is replacing the super-combined globe with an artistry globe. The racer with the most artistic impression points in a season will win that globe. Of course we want an Austrian to win the artistry globe.
BB: Can you tell our readers what kinds of moves you're working on?
Hirscher: I don't want to give away too many secrets. But one of the moves involves a flip in the air before falling and landing on our skis. I was practicing back flips by standing on Max's legs. We really wanted to have Max ski with me balanced on his legs and then I would do a back flip off and land perfectly into my skis. That would have been a new and original move which would have earned a huge originality bonus and a gold medal in Vail. But the FIS said only one person is allowed on the race piste at a time. The OeSV will work with the FIS to change the rules to allow more creativity during races.
BB: I'm sure that you will find a way to get maximum artistry and originality points in races this season. Your trainers and choreographers are the best and should be able to overcome the lack of Austrian artistry judges this season.
Franz: We hope so.
BB: And if the FIS does not allow your two person acrobatic moves, you can always join a circus. Well, it looks like we are out of time. Marcel and Max, I want to thank you for this interview and wish both of you a successful 2014/15 season. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.  
The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: The only circus that we are part of is the media circus. 
The Boston Blickbild is on Facebook. If you enjoy our unique perspective on World Cup Alpine skiing, please like us on Facebook.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Worst Training Camp of All Time

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

 Norwegian superstar Aksel Lund Svindal recently wrote a blog post about how this year's training camp in Ushuaia, Argentina was the worst he ever had. The others have already reported this story, so we would normally stay quiet and write about something else. But we have our unique perspective on this story. One of our intrepid reporters was dispatched to interview Aksel about the training camp, but he was not available. Luckily, our indomitable jourmalist scored an interview with Norwegian Ski Federation Alpine Chief Claus Johan Ryste. Let's find out what he has to say.

BB: Was this really the worst training camp in the history of Norwegian Alpine skiing?
Ryste: If you ask Aksel Lund Svindal, he will say yes. But there have been other years when the weather conditions were worse. For example, in 1990 there were blizzards almost every day. Yet the racers went out in those conditions and were tougher for it.
BB: Are you saying that Aksel and the rest of the Norwegian team are a bunch of wimps?
Ryste: Not at all! Anyone who can ski at the speeds that Aksel and his teammates do deserves everyone's respect. Our team is called the Attacking Vikings, not the Docile Sissies.
BB: But you are saying that this was not the first time that the weather affected training camp?
Ryste: That's right. Ski racing is an outdoor sport and bad weather is part of it. But weather that is too good can also affect training. There was the year that it was so hot, there was no snow. I think it was 1987. But we made the best of it and trained on grass skis.
BB: A very creative solution to that problem. Were there any other bad years that you can recall?
Ryste: Oh yes! 1983 was a year that the whole Norwegian team will never forget. I was part of the ski team that year. The power went out at the ski hill and we had to hike up to the top in ski boots with all of our equipment on our backs.
BB: Most ski resort power outages don't last very long. Why didn't you just wait it out?
Ryste: Because it lasted for three out of the four weeks that we were there. I would have to say that was the worst training camp ever. We were so tired before we even got to the start area for our first run of the day. Then we had to do it over and over again! But the good thing was we ended up being stronger than our opponents. The other teams were jealous of our big leg muscles.
BB: Were there other problems that Team Norway encountered in previous training camps?
Ryste: There was the legendary summer of 1972. I was too young to have experienced it firsthand. But the legend has been passed down for generations of ski racers. It was the perfect storm of three things that converged. First, the weather was unpredictable with alternating snowstorms and hot weather. Then the lift operators went on strike and shut off the power to the lifts. Last of all, the course workers also went on strike. The athletes had to prepare the training courses themselves the night before training and hope that the weather held. If the weather changed, they had to prepare the course again in the morning. Then they had to walk up the hill to the start area, being careful to stay on the very edge of the piste. They also had to bring both snow and grass skis to the training hill because of the wacky weather. After training the athletes had to prepare the course for the next day. It's a wonder that they got in any training at all. Our racers were more like Attacking Zombies that year due to being so tired.
BB: The weather and snow conditions played a big role in making this year's training camp so poor. Did an opposing team's witch doctor cause the bad weather because they knew that Team Norway would be there?
Ryste: For someone who writes so much about witch doctors, you seem to know very little about them. Witch doctors cannot influence the weather. They can concoct a potion to help a ski racer or they can put a curse on an opposing racer or team. But the weather is out of their control.
BB: I don't know about that. American Indians used to do rain dances.
Ryste: I don't know much about American Indians. The witch doctors that the different ski teams use come from Africa. Ours is from Tanzania. We hope that Dr. Mwafume can help the team.
BB: I'm sure he can. You said earlier that Aksel and his teammates are not a bunch of crybabies. So why would Aksel say that this year's training camp was the worst ever?
Ryste: There could only be one thing that would affect Norwegian training camp more than bad weather, strikes, or power outages.
BB: Are you going to tell our readers, or leave them in suspense for the rest of their lives?
Ryste: Here is the real story about training camp. We ran out of ojlmsfjaegger*.
BB: No!!!! That can't be! (short pause) Hey, wait a minute! I thought that Norwegians only ate ojlmsfjaegger on birthdays. Does everyone who is at the training camp have a birthday during that time?
Ryste:  Kjetil Jansrud brought a supply of ojlmsfjaegger that his grandmother made for the ski camp. She provides the Norwegian team with ojlmsfjaegger during the season and for summer and fall training. To answer your question about birthdays, we don't all have birthdays during training camp. But we all eat ojlmsfjaegger to have a little bit of Norway with us in South America. Anyway, every day is someone's birthday. Normally Kjetil's grandmother makes enough ojlmsfjaegger to supply the team. But she didn't count on Alexander Kilde's appetite. He has huge leg muscles and evidently needs to eat a lot.
BB: I can understand that. I have had Grandma Jansrud's ojlmsfjaegger and they were better than I expected them to be. What did you do when you realized that you didn't have enough to last the whole training camp?
Ryste: The first thing we did was send an urgent appeal to the Norwegian newspapers and through Facebook and Twitter to all mothers and grandmothers back home. We asked for donations of homemade ojlmsfjaegger to be air expressed to Argentina. The response was overwhelming, but we ran into a problem because the packages were seized by Argentinian customs agents.
BB: Why would customs agents in Argentina take your beloved birthday treat?
Ryste: How can anyone resist ojlmsfjaegger?
BB: Julia Mancuso evidently could, which led to her breakup with Aksel. (see this story)Anyway, what did you do after that?
Ryste: There was only one thing to do. There is a small shop in Ushuaia called Casa de Noruega, which means House of Norway in Spanish. The Norwegian team goes there when it needs foods and other items from home. Luckily, Casa de Noruega had some cans of ojlmsfjaegger. We bought them and served them to the team.
BB: You did what?!?!? That is a scandal! Even I know that tinned ojlmsfjaegger is no substitute for the fresh stuff.  What were you thinking?
Ryste: It was better than nothing. What would you have done?
BB: I certainly would not have served ojlmsfjaegger from a can!
Ryste: I'd like to see you tell the Attacking Vikings that they can't have their favorite birthday treat to help them feel at home in South America.
BB: Maybe next year you will do a better job of rationing them out to the skiers or take Alexander Kilde's appetite into account when figuring out how much Kjetil Jansrud's grandmother should make for everyone. 
Ryste: Uh...that's a good idea.
BB: Of course it is. We Blickbild reporters are not only intrepid, we also come up with sensible ideas. You really should hang your head in shame for serving tinned ojlmsfjaegger to the team. That is totally inexcusable! No wonder Aksel Lund Svindal said that this was the worst training camp ever. If I were a Norwegian ski racer, I would feel the same way. 
Ryste: You are right. I am so ashamed!
BB: As you should be. Well, it looks like we are out of time. Mr. Ryste, I want to thank you for this interview and for revealing the real reason why training camp was so bad. I'm sure it will be a learning experience for you. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

The Boston Blickbild. Our motto is: We would never serve tinned ojlmsfjaegger to anyone. It's fresh ojlmsfjaegger or nothing.

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* Note to our newer readers--ojlmsfjaegger are cubes of pickled reindeer heart covered in a special chocolate and smoked salmon sauce. They are eaten on birthdays.