Alternate Web Life: Skiing “Expert”

You probably didn’t notice, but Saturday saw the start in Sweden of the cross-country skiing World Cup – the sport’s highest level of competition, and (I’m not ashamed to say) something of an obsession of mine.

Don’t get me wrong: I know nordic skiing is well beyond obscure in the context of international sport. Honestly, the obscurity is something of an attraction – but not as much an attraction as the serious competition among and achievement of the racers, who contest dozens of grueling races throughout Europe (and occasionally in North America) from November to March – including, this year, a world championship in the city that arguably invented modern cross-country skiing: Oslo. XC skiers are among the world’s fittest athletes, at least on some measures, and as a skier, I can feel some small amount of kinship with them as I, too, try to climb a steep hill.

Beyond that personal, emulative link to the racing, the World Cup is attractive to me because the internet now feeds my obsession in marvelous ways. I can consume thousands of words of racing analysis at the official World Cup website, on North America’s, or at the fantastically nerdy Statistical Skier. I can even follow the races in real time (if I feel like getting up before dawn to watch questionably legal feeds of European broadcasts) or via slightly delayed (and questionably legal) downloads.

Even more, the web allows me to generate “content” of my own as a co-blogger at the Nordic Commentary Project (where I tackle weighty issues such as race sponsors)* or as part of an almost-regular podcast at, the proprietors of which seem to think – apparently without irony, much less mockery – that I am an expert on the World Cup. “Ha, ha,” but as long as the checks keep arriving on time, I’ll keep doing the podcasts. Being a part of the nordic skiing world, even in these small, silly ways, is awfully fun. And boy do I amass the ultra-obscure facts! Wanna hear some?

* Don’t let the scary “malware alert!” page scare you: reading the blog won’t harm your computer. Though it might harm you by searing your brain with my obsession.

One thought on “Alternate Web Life: Skiing “Expert””

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *