A pair of Minnesota girls, neither of whom are named Lindsey Vonn, are shaking up the snow globe of the ski world and coming out on top of the podium.

By Andrew J. Pridgen

Jessie Diggins and Caitlin Gregg made history when they finished second and third in the 10-kilometer freestyle at Nordic skiing worlds in Falun, Sweden—a first podium finish for the US team, mens or womens. To put this in perspective, this is the sporting world equivalent of John Travolta being asked to host the Oscars, Guy Fieri shaving his goatee and admitting he makes everyone fat or Obama getting a complimentary third term because momentum.

And they did it in the most exciting of all Nordic events, the 10-kilometer freestyle. It’s roller derby on ice. It’s like the Hunger Games, winter version. It’s real-live superheroes in real-life superhero uniforms doing superhuman things while wearing neon and glitter and headbands, no capes necessary.

In other words, women’s Nordic skiing is THE sport you need to start following.

Need 9 more reasons why these girls run this mother? Here you go:

  1. If everyone in the US had access to Nordic ski trails, the following would be eradicated: Childhood obesity, post-childhood obesity, Papa John’s, Fox News, Truck Month, QVC, Costco lines, anti-vaxxers, Facebook Moms, Michael Bay films, the overabundance of tire stores, the running of worthless errands, random gun violence, video game headsets, Tinder, amateur porn, Disneyland measles, Fifty Shades of Grey, The Diabetes, crack babies, the guys from Entourage, any menu with the word “bites” on the appetizer side and Skrillex. Why? Because you’re too fucking fit and lucid and frankly, tired, to do stupid shit after a Nordic skiing session.
  2. Want to know what it feels like to Nordic ski? Imagine what would happen to your heart rate if McConaughey pulled into your driveway with the keys to a new Lincoln, a case of Shiner, a locked-and-loaded bong and a pair of bongos. Now imagine this feeling while running up a hill being chased by the sabertoothed cat he releases from the tailgate. That’s your body after its first 100 meters on Nordic skis.
  3. How can NASCAR-loving ‘Mericans get involved? Because it’s not just about the athlete, it’s about the skis, the wax, the base and the course conditions. There’s more Techy McTecherson stuff going on in Nordic skiing—all in the name of going fast—than in any caffeinated and sugared-up Mountain Dew-addled pit crew. The reason we haven’t won a Nordic ski world cup or Olympic medal, in, oh, ever isn’t because we don’t have the athletes or the lungs or the legs, it’s that we haven’t access to the data and the chops to execute on the race prep side. We were, you know, too busy inventing imitation crab and importing American Idol.
  4. We like fast, powerful, attractive women. But we don’t know how to show it. If we get turned on by a fake-naked girl biting into a fake Carl’s Jr. patty or Kim K. doing whatever she does between waxes, plucks, pricks and selfies, just think of how much we could be into a pair of Midwest farmers’ daughters who are faster on two planks than Danica is behind the wheel. You can have your Swimsuit Issue, I’ll take mine with a little more muscle and a little less flabby, sandy, airbrushed flesh.
  5. There’s no better way to illustrate and define the shrinking gender gap than Nordic sports. This week Park City’s Sarah Hendrickson, a ski jumper, out-distanced many of the boys at worlds. Diggins and Gregg routinely finish alongside their male counterparts on short courses. These aren’t just fast girls, they’re fast humans. The Nordic ski community places a premium on being lightning quick regardless of where your spandex bulges. The rest of us could learn a lot from this.
  6. You have to be a bad-ass to compete in Nordic. Do you do Spartan races where you have to rub mud on your face for a post-race Insta to show you got up for a reason? Do you thrust kettlebells over your head and throw your back out while Lifehouse blares in your CrossFit “box”? Do you crush three Monsters and watch MMA with your bros while all your T-shirts look like they were tattooed not silkscreened? Awesome. Guess what? You’re a fucking pussy. These girls race so hard when they lunge across the finish their heart rate, already 100 beats/minute quicker than a French Montana cut, plummets down to Buddha statue levels as they melt into the snow from overheating and exhaustion. They are the fastest, fittest, most highly in-tune with their bodies, technically sound and strongest per-pound athletes in the world.
  7. Also, Nordic skiers love to do the following after their races: Drinking their body weight in beer, getting into hot tubs wearing only their ski boots and a smile. Dancing on stacks of Marshall amps till the fall off into a Jell-o filled kiddie pool and waking up the next day and sweating it out on the course and in the sauna. If there was a reality show about the off-hours of a Nordic athlete, Joe Francis would have to re-name his franchise Girls Gone Mild because these Energizer Snow Bunnies put those weak-ass esteem-free bitches to shame.
  8. Girls’ body image issues go away: It sucks growing up a girl in the US. Why? Because sooner than they can say Disney Princess we sell them into the indentured servitude of impossible images. We show them all it takes is perfect flowing pony hair, a huge rack, a 14-inch waist, and a Prince Charming who only notices you after you pull up in the virgin-white carriage wearing clear plastic stripper stilettos. That’s some fucking bullshit right there. You know what makes girls cool? Running fast and wringing out their sports bras; chipping a tooth on a ski pole or an IPA bottle top; burping the alphabet—backwards— in the back of the team van; climbing to the top of big mountains and giving the rest of the country, and the low low expectations it serves up for women, the giant fucking here’s-to-your-shitty-retouched-magazine-with-the-tranny-looking-tramps-on-the-cover chewed-off-nail-polish middle finger.
  9. Realer role models. Jessie Diggins and Caitlin Gregg didn’t set out to change the game, they just wanted to burn up some snow. But they’ve shown us there’s a different way, a better way to look at the capacity of the female form. Through time, women have had to punish their bodies—look up who survived in the Donner Party or go check in at your nearest maternity ward—and yet, the generally fairer of genders doesn’t get the credit or the hype for the pain. Put any mean-mugging O-lineman on three-inch-wide skis and watch him tumble like a giant diseased oak, crying and spitting and heaving and having nothing left. You may not see the burn of the -20-degree temps during the 5 am workouts on their faces, but the toughness is there, it’s genetic. It’s forged over centuries. If that isn’t something to aspire, to emulate, then let’s forget this whole sports thing altogether.

Here’s the video from the awards ceremony. Congrats ladies for rising beyond expectation and keep getting faster:

Andrew J. Pridgen is the author ofBurgundy Upholstery Sky which you should purchase for yourself and a friend this holiday season.

 

 

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