New Moon News

New Moon Staff Member Chris Hecker Techs Medal-Winning US Ski Team

Chris Hecker and the tech team at the 2022 Olympics in China

Bike season is back! And along with lycra shorts and Chamois Butt’r, Chris Hecker has rejoined the New Moon staff for the season. You may not have known this, but Chris, or Checker as we like to call him, spends his winter season as a US Ski team XC wax tech traveling the World Cup circuit in Europe.

Checker has been a part of the XC community for his entire life, practically growing up with skis on his feet. His racing career ended when he graduated from the college of St. Scholastica, and he went on to be a part of Rex Ski Wax’s research and development team. After three years with Rex, Checker was offered a position on the US Ski Team which takes him away from New Moon from November through March.

The US Ski Team has 7 full-time technicians who are typically responsible for one male and one female athlete each. Often, as the team grew, an eighth tech would be added to help balance the workload. When the team went to China for the Olympics, they brought 9 techs to help out with testing, athlete skis, and ski prep.

US Ski Team techs working on skis and having some fun
Obviously, waxing at the Olympics isn’t all fun and games 🙂

“My role was specifically to take care of three to four athletes and help with prep for glide products, Checker explains.  “The four athletes I helped tech for were Hannah Halvorsen, Novie Mccabe, Scott Patterson, and Ben Ogden.  I helped prepare and test their skis to make sure they had the best possible skis for the given day.”

Conditions weren’t the best at the venue on race days. We certainly mentioned that here at the shop as we were fixed to the XC coverage. Checker confirmed that the windblown was one of the biggest challenges for the techs, “The wind blew snow into the track throughout the day so that the classic races would in large part be skied out of the tracks.  It ended up being harder to wax than expected because it was hard to find something durable enough for kick but was also fast.  After the first skiathlon race we corrected our mistakes and ended up having some great results after that.

But an even bigger challenge to overcome was trying to stay Covid-free as a team.“Covid added another stressor to an already stressful situation.  Not only were we preparing for one of the biggest events of most of these athletes’ lives, we had to worry about not getting sick and missing the games altogether.  We tested over 70 times for covid this year including a daily antigen test in the 3 weeks leading up to the Olympics and every day while at the Olympics,” Checker says.

There were other obstacles for the team including the athletes’ nutritional needs. “For the techs we were outside of the athlete village and in a hotel near the race venue.  It was a very nice hotel with great food and incredible hospitality.  The cluster that we were located in will become a winter resort destination for the area which had several different hotels all of which got great reviews.  Unfortunately due to covid, we were not allowed to enter the athlete village or see what the living situation was like there.  Our athletes had a difficult time tracking down enough food that would sit well and by the end of the Olympics it became hard for many of them to eat enough to replenish their energy levels.”

Jessie Diggins crosses the finish line at the Olympics in China.
Jessie Diggins wins a historic SILVER in the 30km! She skied an incredible race and left everything on the track. Photo courtesy of US Ski & Snowboard team.

Of course, we all know about the Bronze and Silver medals our team brought home this year. But there were other bright spots to the 2022 games. “One of the best things that came out of the Olympics was our collaboration with other nordic disciplines.  We collaborated with US Biathlon, US Nordic Combined and US Snowboard Cross.  We shared information, products, and advice for the entirety of the Olympics…Without these relationships who knows where our skis or applications would have ended up.”

Celebrating Jessie's medal at the Olympics in 2022

New Moon is lucky to have such a talented tech on our staff sharing his knowledge with us and our customers. Welcome him back when you stop by the shop this Spring!