Interviews with Top US Nordic Athletes and Personalities brought to you by TokoUS
Udo Raunjak Interview
Udo Raunjak has been the head of Toko Research and Development for the past 15 years. In addition to developing innovative new waxes, Udo also oversees quality control, production, and purchasing of raw materials. He is a straight talker who I think knows more than anyone in the world about ski wax. We discuss the development process of new waxes, the liquid paraffin revolution and what makes the Toko liquid paraffins different from others on the market, new fluorine free racing products, how to best waterproof skins, and ECO friendly waxes. If you are interested in ski racing wax or are curious about ski wax development, this is a great podcast!
Ida Sargent Interview
Ida Sargent has represented the US 159 times in WC, WM and OWG. She has 59 individual top 30 finishes including 9 top 10s. Her best finish was 3rd place in the preolympic World Cup Classic sprint in Pyeongchang. Additionally, Ida finished 3rd twice in World Cup team sprints. Ida, a two-time Olympian, won the US National Championship Classic sprint in 2019. Ida is retired after the 2019 season and is 32 years old. Ida lives in Kirby, VT and teaches at Burke Mountain Academy. Ida is clearly one of the most successful ski racers we have ever had in this country. We discussed growing up near Craftsbury, having a super strong training group, the Kuusamo WC, and a few of her favorite race experiences, the amazing progress of the women's team while Ida was on it.
Chris Cook Interview
Chris Cook has represented the US 45 times in World Cup, World Championship, and Olympic competitions. His best individual international result was 12th place in the Sovereign Lakes World Cup Skate Sprint in 2005. Chris finished 21st in the 2006 Olympics in the Skate Sprint. The 2006 US National Champion, Chris retired after the 2011 season. He is now 40 and living in Rhinelander, WI with his wife and son. We discussed the legacy that his parents have left, the 2010 Birkie, some of his most memorable races, how sprinting has changed, and enduro motocross racing among other things. This was an interview that was animated, entertaining, stimulating, and informative.
Jan Guenther Interview
Jan Guenther’s runs and owns the largest Cross Country ski retail store in the US. Jan is an owner who is involved in all aspects of the business and along with a great staff is directly responsible for the great success of the organization. Jan Guenther has been and continues to be an elite runner, cyclist, triathlete, and cross country ski racer. Despite having had participated in 30 American Birkebeiners, Jan was still an amazing 27th overall in the 2020 Birkie winning her age group and this was after two long days of working in the expo. We spoke about what prompted her to drop everything and start a ski and bike shop, the keys to the success of Gear West, the biggest challenges in running Gear West, balancing her work, athletic endeavors, and family, dealing with injury and setback, and industry trends. This interview will give a different perspective of the Nordic ski industry than the other podcasts in the series.
Torin Koos Interview
Torin Koos has represented the US 76 times in World Cup, World Championship, and Olympic competitions. His best individual international result was a 3rd place in Otepaeae, Estonia Classic sprint in 2007. Torin also finished 4th in the Dusseldorf, Germany World Cup team sprint with Andy Newell in 2008. Torin has 34 top 30 individual results in WC and World Championships. He has won the US National Championships 7 times and the Canadian Championships once (not counting sprint relays). Torin retired from full time training and racing after the 2014 season. This 4 time Olympian now lives in Lausanne, Switzerland and is 40 years old. Since 2016, Torin has overseen the media and communications for the International University Sports Federation. We discussed being an exchange student in Norway, some highlight races of his career, experiences from the Tour of China, and what it is like living in Lausanne. This was a fascinating interview with an old friend who gives a great interview.
Patrick Weaver Interview
Pat Weaver has represented the US 16 times in World Cup, World Championship, and Olympic competitions. His best international result was 16th place in the 2002 Olympic 15k Classic. Pat, a 2 time Olympian and 2 time US National Champion, retired after the 2006 season. In 2010, Pat was named head Nordic coach at the University of Vermont. In 2012, he lead the Catamounts to their 6th NCAA championship. In 2011 he was named Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association coach of the year. In 2019 he was named both EISA and NENSA coach of the year. Pat lives in South Burlington, VT with his wife Coreen and two children Sylas and Kaisa. Pat has a unique perspective covering many years which yielded a stimulating and enlightening discussion. Some topics discussed are home field advantage (WC events in the US), coping with doping in the 90s, the 2002 Olympics, what he prioritizes as a coach, and communicating with the younger generation.