In Ruka, at the southern end of Lapland near the Arctic Circle and only 40 kilometers from the Russian border, things are getting really serious for the first time this winter for all three Nordic ski disciplines. With 21 events, the “Ruka Nordic” is already a classic in the calendar.
Three weeks after the start of the World Cup with an ice track inrun and green mats in Wisla, the ski jumpers in particular are finally looking forward to a real start to the winter. “We can expect a white snowy landscape and that just really feels like ski jumping again,” said Stefan Kraft, who was already well ahead in Poland in third place. In Finland, however, he has never managed to do that in his career, which has been so successful to date, with 82 podium finishes. His roommate Michael Hayböck, who fought his way back into the first team with his overall victory in the Continental Cup, is looking forward to the mighty Rukatunturi hill. “The mood there is always great,” says Theninger. However, the big favorite is Wisla doubles winner Dawid Kubacki. Incidentally, in the last four years the overall World Cup winner in ski jumping has won three times in Ruka. Kobayashi 2018/2019 and 2021/2022, Halvor Egner Granerud 2020/2021.
Combined athlete Johannes Lamparter also finds it difficult to hide his anticipation of the start in Ruka. Two years ago his star rose in the World Cup there when, as a 19-year-old nobody, he led after the jump and was finally beaten by a measly 1.2 seconds by series winner and top star Jarl Magnus Riiber. “Of course it gives you confidence when you know that you’ve already achieved something there before,” says Lamparter, who also finished second there twice last season. On the other hand, he is not happy with the low temperatures of up to minus 20 degrees in the final preparation phase in Finland. “Admittedly, I prefer it a little warmer,” says the Tyrolean.
Two people from the ÖSV cross-country camp are represented with Olympic bronze medal winner Teresa Stadlober and Mika Vermeulen. A few weeks ago there was some unrest in the team after the German head coach Konstantin Zakhvatkin, who was only introduced in May, resigned from office for personal reasons. (free)
Program Ruka Nordic: today, 10/12.30 a.m.: cross-country skiing sprint classic women/men; 11am/3pm: Nordic combined sprint competition; 16.15: Ski Jumping Qualification; Saturday, 9 a.m.: ski jumping HS 142; 11 a.m.: Cross-country skiing 10 km classic women; 12.30 p.m./3.30 p.m.: Nordic Combined 10 km; 1.30 p.m.: cross-country skiing 10 km classic men; Sunday, 9 a.m.: ski jumping HS 142; 11am/3.15pm: Nordic combined 10km mass start; 12 p.m.: Cross-country skiing 20 km freestyle women; 1.30 p.m.: Cross-country skiing 20 km freestyle men.