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New USA Wax Truck Puts Speed Into Skis

By Tom Kelly
December, 7 2017

DAVOS, Switzerland (Dec. 8, 2017) - When the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team rolled into Davos, Switzerland for the FIS Cross Country World Cup this weekend, it was rolling in style. Thanks to a network of dedicated supporters in America, the team has rolled out its new wax truck providing stronger technical support to athletes and a healthier atmosphere for ski technicians.

The new truck was introduced in Finland and Norway for the opening World Cup events that saw U.S. skiers Sadie Bjornsen, Jessie Diggins, and Sophie Caldwell post top results, thanks in part to the new mobile waxing facility. This weekend the truck made the long trip from Lillehammer, Norway down to Davos for a weekend of racing including freestyle sprints Saturday and distance racing on Sunday. Diggins will be among favorites in both events, with equally strong chances coming in the women's Sprint F on Saturday and the 10k freestyle on Sunday.

The U.S. Ski Team will hold an open house and celebration for its fans and donors following Sunday's races to showcase the new truck.

The new wax truck will sit side-by-side with similar vehicles from other major cross country nations including Norway, Sweden, Canada and more. The truck will provide over 48 square meters of working space with eight main waxing stations. The main waxing room has ski storage for 600 pair of skis, saving team staff hundreds of hours they had spent moving gear from rental trucks to wax rooms every weekend. A pull out porch is available for kick waxing in colder temperatures with a roof to protect against falling snow.

A central vacuum system helps technicians keep the environment clean and safe, with three different heating systems to manage temperatures. A custom crew cab features five seats and a bed for long drives between Scandinavia and Central Europe. Tunes will play on a built-in sound system equipped with Bose speakers, one of the team's top partners. The truck was built in Sweden.

The exterior of the truck features action photography of some of the team's leading athletes, a tribute panel thanking donors and the logo of team uniform supplier L.L.Bean. 

"This is a game changer for us in providing the best support for our athletes and a better working atmosphere for our technicians," said Head Coach Chris Grover. "It also illustrates the passion of our fans back in America who raised over $600,000 to make this possible."

Working out of tiny wax cabins in the past, the U.S. Ski Team had become accustomed to small space with its technicians working miracles to prep winning skis. The new truck will provide a much more productive environment for ski preparation.

"The wax truck will make a huge difference for our team this year," said world champion Jessie Diggins. "Having all our wax technicians in the same room means that communication will be instant and easy when waxes are changing on race day. The outside of the truck is a clean, professional design that both inspires and motivates us, and is a really exciting thing for new athletes to the World Cup when they come over to race!" 

"I don’t know if it’s the magic of the truck but it’s definitely been an amazing start to the season with our skis compared to everyone else," said Bjornsen, who stands seventh in the World Cup going into the Davos weekend. "We’re operating best in the world and I have to thank the truck for that."

The truck was made possible thanks to a grassroots fundraising campaign conducted by U.S. Ski & Snowboard Foundation trustee Liz Arky of Washington, D.C. who heads the team's advisory committee.

"Our American cross country fans, and my fellow Trustees, are extremely proud of our athletes and wanted to do something significant to help them achieve their dreams," said Arky. 

"We have been looking forward to this for years and are so thankful to our supporters and donors for getting us on a level playing field with the rest of the world," added Kikkan Randall, who planted the seed for the truck several years ago and made a special appeal to the Trustees.

The truck was rolled out at the team's final on-snow tuneup camp in Rovaniemi in mid-November. It then traveled to World Cups in Ruka, Finland and Lillehammer, Norway before journeying down to Davos.