Profile and interview by Paolo Romano/fondoitalia.it
We met the Icelandic skiier Snorri Einarsson, the only high-level representative in a nation with no background tradition but,with him, is now attempting to enter the world scene. His beginnings in Norway, his history and his thoughts on the cross-country , his ambitions, his future in the discipline he loves since childhood.
Despite its territory is covered by snow for at least five months a year and there are 13 glaciers on its surface, including the largest in Europe the famous Vatnäjokull, Iceland has never produced any skier of good level in its history of a Nordic country. This, according to local technicians, can be traced back to the fact that its population has only three hundred thousand inhabitants and that cross-country skiing in particular is practiced by a narrow segment of population. For young Icelanders the choice to practice a sport falls primarily on handball and soccer, which represent the disciplines that are able to unite the entire Icelandic nation during the games of the two national teams. In the last two years in particular, the men of the "Geysir sound" have monopolized public opinion with the two historical qualifications to the European Champs and the next World Cup in Russia 2018.
In cross-country skiing, despite the few practitioners and affiliated to the Federation, since May 2016 Icelanders can finally count on a skier who is doing well in the World Cup circuit. We talk about Snorri Eythor Einarsson 31 years, born in Alta . His two names, Snorri Eythor and his birthplace, represent the mixed origins of the native North Norge boy. In fact, Einarsson has Icelandic father and Norwegian mother. But apart from a brief period in which he attended middle school in the capital Reykjavik, Snorri has always lived and breathed the hyper-competitive environment of Norwegian cross-country skiing since he was a child. Back in Tromsø as a teenager, Snorri then developed a good junior career under the Norge flag taking advantage of the lessons given by the advanced Norwegian ski culture, much higher than Icelandic.
After graduating from high school, Einarsson decided to move to the US circuit, attending the famous Utah University. In the North American circuit the former Norwegian skier gained considerable value by winning several NCAA titles. After graduating, he returned to Europe where he began a slow but inexorable growth in results in the Norwegian internal circuit and collected several podiums in the distance races of the Scandinavian Cup. In those years we start to see his main characteristics of cross-country: ambivalent in both techniques, hard worker and suitable for formats from 15km to go up.
In 2010 he received a first call to play the Olympics under the Icelandic flag but he convinced of his own strength decidedto remain to represent the nation of Harald V although he has to face the ruthless internal competition that in that year will deprive him of his Olympic dream. So Snorri comments on the first refusal to wear the uniform of the paternal nation: "When I was fit, I felt good enough for the Norwegian team. So there was no reason to change national team. I felt that the passage to Iceland was not ambitious enough to secure an easy place for the Olympics. If I had gone to Iceland, then my motivation would have diminished.
"The following year he was able to do his first Tour de Ski, finishing exhausted on Cermis in thirtieth position. The Viking press became aware of him twelve months later, during National champs in Voss , in the Skiathlon he took a prestigious second place finishing a short distance from Martin Jonsrud Sundby. After the disappointment of the second non-selection for the Sochi Olympics, in the 2015-16 season a grinder like him decides to dedicate himself to the long distance circuit with the Santander team. Here he takes a good 16th place in Marcialonga and the 26th place in the following Vasaloppet.
Then finally last summer his dream of being in Pyeongchang has the best and after having hurried the long bureaucratic procedure got the nationality of the land of geysir, fire and ice.
His international debut with the new nationality occurs with the World Championships in Lahti 2017 where his best result is the thirty-ninth place in skiathlon. This year after a long and complete preparation started initially with the Icelandic companions, then continued along the Finnmark fjords and ended on the Tignes glacier, his pace has risen highly starting from the good fourth place in the FIS skating competition in Muonio with only twenty seconds from the new Russian name Chervotkin. As proof of his technical ambivalence, Einarsson captures his personal best in Ruka with the 22nd place in the 15km in the World Cup season debut. Last weekend confirms the good form with the 29th place of Davos.
*For the complete profile and interview click HERE.