Zipp News

Back 2.14.2017

When snow melts, Swedish xc ski star Calle Halfvarsson glides on Zipp

Nordic star finds cycling the perfect off-season training for his demanding sport. Now, he's focused on this month's cross country ski world championships.

For professional cross-country ski star Calle Halfvarsson, snow sports were simply a part of growing up in Sweden. When he was 4, his grandfather made a backyard trail for him to ski. He got the same early start riding his bike. “I started riding shortly after I learned how to walk,” Halfvarsson said.


These days, the 28-year-old Halfvarsson is one of the world’s top cross country skiers. He’s one of the stalwart performers on powerhouse Team Sweden on the World Cup circuit and a top medal prospect for the 2018 PyeongChang Games. He’s currently focused on the 2017 Nordic World Ski Championships in Lahti, Finland (Feb. 22-March 5). Elite cross-country skiers rank among the fittest athletes in the world. Halfvarsson is among top skiers who depend on cycling as a key aspect of their training. We caught up with Halfvarsson, a Zipp ambassador, to talk about his love of cycling and how it helps him on the World Cup ski circuit:

How do you use cycling in your training as a cross country skier? Do you mainly ride in the off season?
“I pretty much only ride my bike from April until we get snow. During winters, I use stationary bikes for warm ups and cool downs when I’m in the gym.” 

Photo © Hans Berggren

Do you mainly do long rides or short intervals?
“Mainly I do long rides, 3 to 6 hours. In a normal week, I get in two cycling sessions. Of course, I get in a lot of sprints during my rides. I like to get my fast muscle fibers going.”

Has cycling helped make you a better skier? It is a common form of off-season training for cross-country skiers.
“Cycling is great for XC skiers. Much of our summer training, such as roller skiing and running, is tough on elbows, back and knees. Cycling is easy on my body and a great complement that gets the job done.”

What do you enjoy about cycling?
“I love that cycling is soft and fast (meaning low impact but effective and fun). I can go long distances and see a lot of different things during one ride.”

You are a big sports fan. Are you also a cycling fan? Do you watch the Tour de France or other races?
“I definitely follow cycling. I enjoy watching the spring classics, the Giro, Tour de France and the Vuelta.”

In what ways is a cross-country ski race different or the same as a cycling race? There are often a pack of skiers, just like in cycling.
“The similarities are very few. The speed in XC skiing is a lot slower and there can be huge differences between competitors’ skis (skiers using the wrong wax for the conditions are at a disadvantage). But, for sure, being in the slipstream behind another is beneficial.”

What are your goals for the rest of this ski season?
“I´m not gonna lie– my goal for the whole season is to become World Champion this year!”

How popular is cross country skiing in Sweden?
“Cross country skiing is really popular in Sweden, and we skiers get a lot of media attention. In pure viewers on TV, skiing is No. 1 in Sweden.”

What do you like about your Zipp 404 wheels?
“I like the way they look. They just look awesome! When I do my sprints I like the way they respond when I accelerate. I also like how stable they are when I go down a fast descent. I feel safe at high speeds!”

More about Calle Halfvarsson

Falun, Sweden

World Cup Podiums
9 (individual)

World Cup Victories
3 (individual)

On Team Sweden
Anchor man for the Swedish team in the 4x10 km relay

On the bike
Rides Zipp 404 Carbon Clinchers

Favorite pre-race meal? “Sandwiches with ham and cheese boiled eggs.”

Favorite post-race meal (especially to celebrate a good performance!) “Honestly, depending on where I am in the world. I´ll eat anything, after a max performance I have a huge appetite.”

Coldest temperature you have ever raced your skis in?
“Nothing extreme -22° Celsius (-7.6° Fahrenheit). Coldest I've ever trained in is -36° Celsius (-32.8° Fahrenheit).

Which is more difficult, waxing skis or adjusting a derailleur?
“Waxing for a classic ski race in spring snow is really hard…”

Your favorite places to ride a bike?
“Mallorca is nice, so is the Alps, Dolomites and the Pyrenees. There´s too many nice places!”

Learn more at Follow @chalfvarsson on Instagram.