Yukon North Of Ordinary

Sports archive for February 19, 2014

Sochi weather a new challenge for Yukon wax tech

Unusually warm weather at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi has proved to be a challenge for longtime Canadian wax guru Alain Masson.

By Whitehorse Star on February 19, 2014 at 3:16 pm

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Photo by Whitehorse Star

BEHIND THE SCENES – Yukon ski coach Alain Masson is waxing skis for Team Canada in Sochi.

Unusually warm weather at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi has proved to be a challenge for longtime Canadian wax guru Alain Masson.

Masson, the head coach of Yukon’s competitive cross-country ski team, is in Russia as a wax technician with the Canadian cross-country ski team.

The former Olympian called his wax work this year complicated at best.

Temperatures have climbed past 10 Celsius in the Russian city, wreaking havoc on trail race conditions.

“The snow conditions that we have faced in the last two weeks have been the most challenging I have seen in my 30 year experience,” Masson told the Star in an email.

“All of the races start around 2 p.m. and this is the time where the air temperature changes drastically and the difference between the sunny areas and the shady areas of the race courses are so different.”

Masson’s role with the team is to be a classic ski test pilot.

Each day, the 52-year-old straps on a pair of test skis and hits the race trail. Along with another technician, Masson tests and ranks various types of classic wax combinations put together by the head wax technician.

“The test pilots are not told what the various waxes that are being tested (are) in order to stay objective,” he explained.

Masson has been working with Team Canada in this role at world championships and Olympic Games for the past 21 years.

He is also helping with regular ski preparation for all of the athletes’ skis, alongside providing race support, ranking and time information during competition.

The importance of good wax has never seemed so crucial to medal hopes. Norway’s wax team has taken heat after their star-studded relay teams failed to win medals.

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