Special Report From The Future: As The FIS Nordic World Championships of 2072 finished up yesterday, the 2017 world championships seemed very far away, the way the Earth now looks to Elon Musk’s Martian colony. But it’s important to look back on the last time the championships were held in Finland to truly see how far our sport has come.
55 years ago, when the world championships were still a small time event, viewed on the NBC Sports Extra app, things were very different. The biggest difference of course was that back then people still skied on snow, and the competition was awarded to Lahti because of its great stadium and the adequate snow coverage – my oh my, how things have changed.
As we all know global temperatures rose so rapidly that FIS quickly abandoned the outdated snow skiing for the beautiful beach skiing of today. There was hesitation at first, and traditionalists cried out against the move to modernity, but after a few years the transition was complete, and FIS never looked back.
Despite President-for-life Trump’s claims that America has the best beaches in the world, Lahti was awarded this year’s championships because of its prime waterfront real estate. The rising sea levels have put much of Finland underwater, but turned Lahti into a sandy skiing paradise, perfectly situated for the 2.5k loop the championships are held on.
In 2017 then men still skied a 50k event while the women skied only 30k, but after Eldar Rønning led a revolt as FIS athlete representative in 2032 – citing the science that had been there for 50 years – women began their longer program of the 50, 75, and 200K races. Three years later men cited sore backs, as well as tired butts when they moved to their current format of the 1, 3, and 7.5k races. In an attempt to promote gender equality, the sprint event for both men and women was then shortened to 100m.
And my goodness, what a 3k it was, the race was blown apart by the young Emil Gundersson who ended up winning by 1.8 seconds, the largest margin of victory ever recorded at a modern world championships. In 2017 it was Petter Northug that won the most gold medals, so it is only fitting that this year it was a skier from his home town of Framverran, that brought home 3 golds for the highest tally in these world championships. Gundersson was on the new model of Fischer BEACH-MAX skis which were worn by all medal winners this year. Oddly enough back in 2017 there were still multiple ski companies, but as FIS transitioned to beach skiing, Fischer turned to its cast-off water ski model for inspiration. After pairing their new product with Zach Caldwell’s revolutionary “Aruba” grind, they dominated the market so thoroughly that none of the other companies were able to recover.
The top female skier at the championships was undoubtedly McLovin’ Harvey, the great-granddaughter of Alex Harvey, a former skier, and the recently deceased Prince of Quebec. She cited her pharmaceutical tech as her greatest help in winning these championships, claiming “The stuff he gave me was incredible!”
In the 200k marathon Harvey took feeds from a special inhaler, what we call a “Powder Puffer”, that has for years allowed all skiers to compete at the highest levels of skiing, all the while engendering the usual complaints about competitive advantage.
As hard as it is to believe, pharmaceuticals were not much of a factor in the 2017 world championships, and skiers were still more focused on waxing than anything else. But after the litigation that began with the Sochi bust of 2016, FIS and shifted towards a carefully controlled doping program (based upon their rules governing mandatory pole length) that allowed athletes to fill their bodies with chemicals at a more reasonable rate, leading to the eventual replacement of wax techs with what are now called “Pharmas.”
Yes, the world is very different now, but not everything has changed. The championships this year were viewed by people around the world through their Netflix holo-accounts, who were no doubt delighted to hear Mike Dixon and Dave Goldstrom still announcing the races. Viessmann still sponsors the event, victors still receive unhelpfully large wheels of cheese, and the grooming was done yet again by an inexplicably youthful Thomas Wassberg, who has groomed every for world championships since 2033 for no other reason than: We like it like that. For all the benefits of our latest equipment and drugs, we still love our corduroy.
It would be ridiculous to imagine what the world championships might look like the next time they return to Finland; who could possibly forecast that far down the road? To be certain though, it is always in our nature to wonder. In some ways, the future is a kind of eternal utopia, full of visions we will never truly see realized.
In Lahti yesterday, when Norway brought home the 4x50k relay the women threw up their hands in victory, reaching forward, to tomorrow.
 Beach skiing was popularized by none other than Bill Koch, who still hasn’t lived his entire life in Vermont
 Harvey was killed in a motel shootout after a disagreement during an illegal game of Settlers of Catan