• Alex 50km Lahti Champion
  • Grenoble, France, Feb 6-18, 1968

    Nils Skulbru
    Dave Rees
    Rolf Pettersen
    Esko Karu

    New blood highlighted the Canadian cross country men’s team in the Xth Winter Games as two skiers from B.C. and an Ontarian competed in the three individual events and received assistance from a military biathlon skier to complete a four man team in the relay.

    Following his January 1968 successes in the Canadian Championships in Morin Heights, north of Montreal, Nils Skulbru of Vancouver carried his momentum through to best Canadian results in two of the three individual Olympic events. Skilbru posted 52nd in the 30 km won by sensation Franco Nones of Italy and then managed a 56th in the 15 km won by Norway’s Harald Gronningen who was later to assist the 1976 Canadian team as a coach. In the 50 km won by Norway’s Ole Ellefsaeter, Dave Rees of North Bay finished 46th among 47 after placing 61st in the 15 km and 58th in the 30 km. Rolf Pettersen of Prince George, who spent three months training in Inuvik before the Olympic trials, ran 63rd in the 15 km and 61st in the 30 km among fields of 72 and 63 respectively.

    Skulbru, who abandoned the 50 km, had teamed the day before with Pettersen, Rees and biathlon skier Esko Karu of Churchbridge, Sask., to finish 14 among 15 relay squads in the 4 x 10 km event taken handily by Norway. Sweden’s Toni Gustafsson won the women’s 5 km and 10 km gold while Norway upset the Swedes and the Soviets in the relay. No Canadians competed there.

    Grenoble marked the end of totally wooden cross country skis in the Olympics as the synthetic revolution was to make itself known by 1972.