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.