Nakkertok head groomer, Dirk Van Wijk is in Pyeongchang to provide expert advice to prepare the Olympic cross-country ski venue. Dirk is sending back regular updates from Pyeongchang.  We hope everyone enjoys the first hand account of Olympic preparation.

Greetings from Pyeongchang!

Nordic events of the 2018 Winter Games will be held starting on February 9th, 2018 in Pyeongchang. The venue, Alpensia, is the site for Ski Jumping, Cross Country and Biathalon. The three stadiums nestled in beside each other. Nordic Combined, cross country competitions, will be held at the cross country venue.

Estimates are that the Koreans have made between 150,000 and 200,000 cubic of snow on the cross country venue alone. They have done a great job pushing out the massive piles of snow onto a 3.75 km Blue and a 3.75km Red Loop. The courses are laid out on a very hilly golf course. John Arlberg from Norway has created a similar concept as in Callaghan where the Blue course will used predominantly for Freestyle and the Red for Classic. The 2 courses with 2 small additions combined will used for an 8.3 km loop which will be skied 6 times for the 50 km Classic Men’s event on the final weekend.  There is one bridge where the Blue goes over the Red course and several areas where the two courses come together and run parallel. A few of these areas are not quite wide enough to accommodate 2 courses of 4 tracks each with the added pressure of snowmobile camera track on the one side.

Lars a Norwegian Cross Country Groomer from Holmenkollen and I are currently familiarizing ourselves with the courses, ensuring corners are correctly cambered, and general leveling and flattening of the skiing surfaces. We have laid out classic tracks in most of the crux areas and are coming up with an overall track setting plan for when the Jury arrives next week.

We received approximately 10cms of snow earlier this week followed by high winds and cold. High winds are quite normal here, and most of the fresh snow quickly gets blown off the courses and also fills in the classic tracks.

We have had sub -20 degree nights all week and yesterday none of the machines started. The Koreans don’t seem to be set up to plug them in and prefer to either leave them running or starting them every few hours through the night.

That is it for now, heading back up to the Venue, a quick 5 minute drive away for us.

Cheers Dirk