New U.S Tech/Equipment Manager Tamer Mische-Richter Is ‘Just Starting To Scrape The Surface’ In Para Nordic
by Alex Abrams
Tamer Mische-Richter had a busy September of travel planned as part of his new role as a technician and equipment manager for U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing.
A former college skier, Mische-Richter was scheduled to head to Austria to look at new ski equipment and help add to the U.S. team’s fleet of sit skis. After that, he planned to travel to Scandinavia to work with adaptive athletes at a training camp to ensure that their equipment is working properly when they’re on snow.
“The athletes have been great in regards to the accepting of this person (in me) who’s now telling them how their gear may work in the future. It’s like, whoa, OK, this is all fresh,” Mische-Richter, 26, said. “But it’s super intriguing, there’s a ton to learn and it feels like I’m just starting to scrape the surface of it.”
As a technician and equipment manager for U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing, Mische-Richter will play a large role behind the scenes in helping athletes have success during the upcoming season.
He’ll travel with the team to every world cup competition, waxing the athletes’ skis and making sure they’re functioning properly before a race. He’ll also make adjustments to sit skis and fix them on the fly, so sit skiers can compete without having any issues with their equipment.
Mische-Richter started in this newly created position in late July, and since the end of August, he has worked with athletes on their equipment in Bozeman, Montana, where U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing is based.
Mische-Richter doesn’t have a physical impairment, so he has had to learn which equipment modifications might work best for a standing skier missing a limb or a sit skier with a spinal cord injury.
“I’ve got a big kick of curiosity and just trying things, so it’s fascinating,” Mische-Richter said. “I love to think and talk gear with manufacturers and just kind of come up with ideas. It’s been great.”
He’ll get to use his background as a cross-country skier in his new job as well.
Growing up in Bloomington, Minnesota, in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area, Mische-Richter said he started skiing as soon as he was able to walk. He comes from a family that was more into playing baseball and going skiing than playing hockey.
“That was just our afternoon or weekend thing, to go ski,” Mische-Richter said. “And then I have two older brothers. I was always chasing them around and being a tagalong and following them to their high school (ski) races.”
Mische-Richter skied in high school and was a three-time junior national team qualifier. After taking a couple of years off after graduating from high school, he joined the College of St. Scholastica Nordic skiing team in Duluth, Minnesota.
He qualified for the NCAA Championships during his senior season in 2020, the same year he graduated with a degree in sustainability studies and the environment.
“In my role as the technician and equipment manager, there are aspects of (my degree) that definitely arise,” Mische-Richter said. “Specifically, we’re looking to our fluoro-free waxing world, and we’ve got a bunch of that stuff stockpiled. We need to dispose of it, so what is the best way of disposing? So I’ve got all of that stuff going through my mind beyond just making fast skis.”
Mische-Richter’s job with U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing came about thanks to his connection with Maria Stuber, his former Nordic skiing coach at the College of St. Scholastica.
Mische-Richter had the opportunity to accompany Stuber and wax skis for athletes at the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships in Houghton, Michigan, last January.
While there, Mische-Richter worked with a squad from U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing that included Nick Michaud, a coach with the team. Stuber later told Mische-Richter one night over dinner that she thought he’d be good at working with U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing.
Mische-Richter loves fixing things, making things work and being around ski equipment, which is what he gets to do in his new position with U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing.
He said he was convinced this was the perfect job for him after working again with Para Nordic skiers at a world cup event in Soldier Hollow, Utah, last season.
“It just clicked. It made sense,” Mische-Richter said. “Having skied for all my life and then taking a little bit of break and coming back this year, it was truly skiing reinvented for me. There were so many aspects that you just don’t think about day in and day out in the able-bodied world.”
Alex Abrams has written about Olympic and Paralympic sports for more than 15 years, including as a reporter for major newspapers in Florida, Arkansas and Oklahoma. He is a freelance contributor to USParaNordicSkiing.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.