Helping Athletes Ski Faster

Feb 25, 2022

UMD instructor serving as a ski technician at the Paralympic Games

Jason Kask, instructor in the UMD Department of Applied Human Sciences, is in Beijing for the 2022 Paralympic Games. He's working as a service technician, waxing, managing and rigorously testing skis for the nordic ski team. 

Here’s what he had to say about his role. “The application and testing processes are very time-consuming, I am usually the first to arrive at the venue and the last to leave, spending 12-14 hours there with 1-2 days off during the three-week period. I test wax by 'feel,' skiing on each ski and comparing it to each other ski. Each of these comparisons usually takes 1-2km of skiing to complete so I will ski between 30 and 50km a day. It's an exhausting trip! During this time I will also inspect the course. I will give reports on grooming and snow conditions to the other coaches or directly to the athletes. With this information, I will assist the other coaches in making ski selections for the athletes. During the races, I will be on course to take a video of the athletes and provide poles if one happens to break during the event. I will be working primarily with one other tech but we will have many members of the coaching staff help us as needed throughout the competition.”

Kask has coached many of the U.S. Paralympians who will be participating in the games and is looking forward to watching them perform at this ultimate level of competition. He’s also excited to bring what he’s learned from this unique experience back to students in UMD’s Exercise & Rehabilitation Sciences program.