The Norwegian national skiing team would never glide so smoothly if it weren’t for these people.
Most of us have probably never seen a skiing competition closer than on TV, and from the comfort of the couch it looks almost effortless when they race over the snow. But the reason they can go so fast is much thanks to the unsung heroes of the skiing team – the ski waxers.
Beitostolen, Norway. We meet Knut Nystad, Chief ski waxer. His team is hard at work in their customised trailer – they are preparing for the world championships in February 2015. Everything needs to be tested: the grip, the slip, and which chemicals work best in combination.
His team starts preparations early. And the testing is extensive.
"They have a challenging work environment, with a lot of travel, long working days and high demands on performance," Knut comments.
He continues: "Norwegian skiers are expected to dominate competitions and bring home the gold medals. If this doesn't happen, like in Sochi, one of the first things that come under scrutiny are the skis."
Top results require specialised teams
Some of the waxers are directly responsible for the racers. Building and maintaining the collection of skis, as well as testing and waxing them before the competitions. The grip chief is responsible for finding the right products – basic waxes, new mixes, methods or toppings – to make sure the skis grip when they need to. But they also have to glide, and that’s the responsibility of the glide chief. It’s a big job, so the glide chief works with an assistant to find the best methods, gliders, powder and mixes.
The team is heavily dependent on good partners and materials to be able to deliver top results. Prepping and cleaning a couple of hundred skis multiple times in the course of a season means that you produce a lot of waste if you don't have the best possible solutions in place. With low-lint cleaning cloths, wet wipes and paper towels in dispensers mounted on the workstations, the work gets done very efficiently. Not to forget avoiding the mess of chemicals and keeping the work environment healthy, even in the most stressful periods.
So, coming all the way back to Nystad: His responsibility is all about organising the team to ensure that they have the best conditions for success.
No matter the result – you win or lose together.
The Norwegian Ski Federation's ski-waxing trailer is equipped with many Tork products including Tork wet wipes. Since the ski-waxing trailer doesn't have its own water supply, the waxers use the Tork Hand Cleaning Wet Wipes for washing and cleaning hands, making their day easier.