On Friday, it is the world cup premiere in cross-country skiing. It is cold in Ruka and the minus degrees put the airways to the test. Some Finns do not want to take health risks and are considering quitting if it gets too cold.
There is a lot of skiing on offer during the weekend. On Friday the sprints are run, on Saturday 10 and 15 kilometers in classic style and on Sunday hunting starts in freestyle.
The latest forecast promises 17-18 degrees below zero on Saturday and Sunday. Some Finns have already decided to go to all the races, while others want to.
Krista Pärmäkoski is one of those who probably drives three days in a row.
– I am usually good when it is really cold, even if it feels in fingers and toes, says Pärmäkoski to Yle.
– It is the intention to go every day. Sometimes it can be borderline cases. But if the races are arranged, I will probably start. At least if the top riders get to the start.
Pärmäkoski is not a sprint specialist. Last year, she reached the final once, in Val di Fiemme. There, the sprint went, just like in Ruka, in classic style.
– The level in the sprint has risen and is extremely high. Reaching the final requires a super effort.
Niskanen: You always turn on here
Kerttu Niskanen reasoned much like Pärmäkoski and has as a starting point to go during all three days.
– I’m not a fan of freezing cold weather. You do not want to expose your lungs and risk getting sick.
– I have a lot of different underwear in the bag, we will see which combo I use, Niskanen says jokingly.
Going home is big for Niskanen.
– When it premieres in Ruka, it does not matter what is on the program, here you always turn on. 10 kilometers in classic style is a personal favorite that is run too rarely. It is always a full bet when it is on the program.
Ristomatti Hakola announces that he will travel all three days. Saturday’s 15 kilometers in classic style is something of a favorite distance.
– The long underwear is included. I have invested everything in classic style and there should be more such races in the World Cup, says Hakola.
Iivo Niskanen is not very thoughtful, while Joni Mäki announces that he has not yet made up his mind.
– The idea is to go every day, but it depends on the cold. Minus twenty is something of a personal pain threshold. I’m most looking forward to Friday’s sprint, says Mäki.
He has had problems recovering from training and therefore only started the season a week ago.
– It feels expectant. The morning session felt good.
If Mäki is something of a sprint specialist on the men’s side, the situation on the women’s side is similar for Jasmi Joensuu.
– The pre-season is the best ever. This season, the main focus is on freestyle sprinting. But all distances up to 10 kilometers I will go, says Joensuu.
– I look forward to the sprint, but for me it will only be two competitions. In Sunday’s hunt start, I do not intend to line up. There must not be too many competitions at the beginning of the season.