Countries with competitive ski teams have something like Formula One pit crews for their skiers. Teams of technicians apply different types of waxes, powders and chemicals to the bottom of skis to compensate for ever-changing snow conditions, all seeking the perfect balance between grip and glide. The Norwegian team even hauls a 2,000-pound grinder around so they can etch different patterns into the undersides of the skis.
At Pyeongchang each country's wax teams are operating out of on-site cabins provided for them. But when competitions are within driving distance of the home country, each country's ski team fields their own wax truck. Sweden first came up with the idea in 2008 with this beast:
Inside is a workshop kitted out with an air ventilation system:
The sides of the truck expand to create a roomy and well-lit workshop:
When rival Team Norway saw what Sweden had done, they developed their own truck to one-up them. It expands sideways, backwards and upwards, creating a second level. The workshop is downstairs, and upstairs is a freaking observation deck and a lounge for the athletes:
Here's a tour of the downstairs. Sadly they don't show us the lounge:
In 2013 Team Canada wanted in on the action, so they purchased Sweden's original truck and gave it a new paint job:
Here's a tour inside the now-Canadian truck:
Sweden upgraded to a newer model that I couldn't find exterior shots of, but here's a tour of the interior of their wax truck 2.0:
The U.S. Ski Team finally got a wax truck last year. And for once, we Americans actually went small.
"The Team US one went to cost around 600,000 U.S. dollars," writes the Daily Skier website (based in Germany, to explain the odd English), "and, while quantum leap for the US team, it is a relatively modest affair compared to the others in use. Some models are reputed to be much, much more expensive."
I think we can all agree that Norway wins this one.