2019 Masters World Cup: Beitostølen, Norway

Pronounced: Buy – toe – stolen

AXCS* Trip Dates: March 4 – 15, 2019… a couple days longer to add the Norwegian Birkebeiner (MWC Competition Dates: March 8-14, 2019)

* AXCS, XC Ski World

Best Travel Plan: International flights to Oslo-Gardermoen (OSL). Then local buses, AXCS charter bus, or rental cars three and a half driving hours direct to Beitostølen at the gateway to the western Norwegian mountains.

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IMPORTANT TRIP LINK:

Team USA MWC2019 Bus Transport Page:
http://www.xcskiworld.com/beitostolen-2019-bus-transport

Team USA MWC2019 Lodging Page:
http://www.xcskiworld.com/beitostolen-2019-lodging

Team USA Birken Extension Page:
http://www.xcskiworld.com/mwc2019-birken-extension

Official organizer website:
http://www.MWC2019.com

Norwegian Birkebeiner website:
http://www.birkebeiner.no/en/


For specific Travel Help not provided by AXCS (airfare, travel insurance or arrangements outside the MWC and Birken extension dates), AXCS recommends Diana Lynn Rau of The Travel Society: 970.887.3095 or 970.655.8036 or Dianalrau@cs.com

Ski Travel: Baggage Tips

EDITOR:
XCSkiWorld has developed this resource of airline policies with regards to the specific needs of XC skiers traveling with ski gear. International readers are asked to note that the information presented is specific to North American based airlines and may or may not translate to international carriers. All readers with recent experiences or information on this subject to contact our offices so that we can continue to keep the XC community up-to-date with info on the subject.


VERY GENERAL TIPS

Remember that airline security rules are firm when it comes to flammable wax supplies — most notably wax cleaners, spray klisters, and some spray fluoros. It is exceptionally wise to study the containers if in doubt and simply plan to buy supplies at your destination when you know something like a wax cleaner is going to cause problems.

Nearly everyone we’ve talked to in the airline industry advises contacting specific carriers before you travel to make sure of baggage limits and requirements. Unfortunately, since so many airlines officially state one thing and practice another “in the field”, the best advice is to actually contact the airline counter of your departure city and find out what their policy is on the ground. This might not mean you’ll get the same treatment when you return from your destination, but it’s a better bet than talking to a faceless customer service rep reading from a computer screen.

Seasoned XC travelers will tell you that the very best way to avoid hassles and fees is to pack only what you need on ski trips. An Olympian might “need” a whole carload of skis but even for major citizen races, most skiers will do fine with a max of 1-2 pairs of skate and/or 1-2 pairs classic. If you are on a holiday trip, just take one pair of each and plan on adjusting techniques to fit the conditions. Same goes for waxing gear (which often can weigh much more than skis). Stick with the essentials and borrow or rent gear on the ground when you can.

In terms of packing, a good tactic for keeping skis not only compact but also safe is to tape all your skis together before slipping them in your bag. To avoid getting tape residue on the skis, wrap first with a piece of cloth. 3-4 pairs of race skis nestled together are not that far away in width from downhill boards. The tape also has an added benefit of preventing slippage which often is the worst culprit in scratches during air travel. Make sure to have a travel coat of wax on your glide zones and do not forget your ski ties! A light coat, jeans or other tough piece of clothing stuffed in the ends of your bag will help prevent damage when the bag is put on one end or the other. Finish things off with clothing wrapped around the sides of the skis and poles to help cushion the bag throughout the trip. Be aware that if you get too carried away with the clothing wrap that it can raise the eyebrows of airline personnel if your bag looks enormous. Compaction straps can help reduce the sheer width which can avoid getting your bag flagged as “too big”.

For poles, a good lightweight PVC or cardboard pipe to protect the shafts is usually all you need. Try to get a tube that isn’t too big to help with the overall width problem. If you have an actual hardshell ski tube carrier, you skip the need for the poles to have added protection so that saves weight and room.

Good ski bags are worth their weight in gold and well worth the cost if you plan on traveling by air quite a bit. Many of the nicest bags come with wheels on one end which is a huge help especially when you have a long walk thru airports or train stations!

Even better than really good ski bags for some folks (and not all that more expensive) is to opt for one of the hardshell ski cases you can find at some XC retailers. The hardshells come with wheels for easy transport but what really makes them valuable is that many airlines will often only pay up on broken equipment claims if you use a hardshell. You often can’t get as much extra stuff like clothes in a hardshell without making packing a huge pain…but they do provide a measure of safety for your gear that almost no soft ski bag (no matter how well packed) can match. Note that it is always a good idea to toss in a small ski bag so that you have something to use for short to/from trips to skiing once at your destination.

Talking with a few airport personnel over the years, the biggest things you can do to make sure your bags are checked without hassle are to be nice to the gate agent and keep the weight of the bag well within limits. If the agent won’t pull a back muscle picking up your bag, they are less likely to enforce even the most stringent of official rules.

SPECIFIC POLICIES WITH VARIOUS AIRLINES

Once upon a time, xcskiworld.com maintained a list of all the major U.S. airlines ski-specific baggage policies. However, these days policies are changing literally every few months with added baggage fees and new restrictions. So your best advice is to visit the airlines you are traveling on and print out their policies when you buy your ticket. Actually, in some cases you may want to price in the cost of the bag fees BEFORE you decide on a ticket since some airlines can be so spendy with added fees you are better off buying a slightly more expensive ticket on another airline with better bag policies!

If you have particularly complicated travel with different airlines, it will pay to map out when and where you’ll face bag fees before you lock in any itinerary. Whereas the actual airline tickets might be a couple hundred dollars cheaper with one scenario, if you jack up your bag fees versus a more expensive ticket — you might be better off with the latter option. So always factor in the bags with any air travel these days.

Traditionally, skiers have been allowed one ski bag AND one boot bag to count as just one piece of checked luggage with most airlines. This was in place specifically for alpine skiers — but it was a huge benefit for XC skiers. We could put several pairs of XC boards in the allowed ski bag and then put both CL and FS boots in the allowed bonus boot bag plus some clothes. Now that policy seems to be on the chopping block with some airlines so take advantage of it when an airline still has the old rules in place. Also note that on some carriers skis are now getting a mandatory extra-extra fee similar to oversize luggage. Again, it will pay for you to shop around to see where you are hit with the highest fees. Weight as well as length are both considerations in the various policies.

Transporting Top Coat Gels On An Airline

Q: I have been having good success with SWIX HVC warm and cold liquid Cera as a final top coat in humid (above 70%) conditions. I’d love to bring the two containers I have, but a friend says the TSA may give me a hard time in transporting them in my ski tube. Have you been able to transport these kind of top coat gels on an airline?

 

A: If your wax containers have the little flame symbol on them, you are probably not supposed to fly with them. So, I should tell you not to…

That being said, if you are checking a bag of regular standard sized luggage and equipment that will go through the X ray machine, you will probably be able to fly with them if your bag is not searched by hand. If they are in an oversized piece of luggage that will possibly be hand screened, your chances of being able to fly with them are not very good.

The safest route would be to buy the one HVC liquid you are going to need at the expo, use it and then figure out shipping it home.

– Joe H. (CXC Skiing)

How to Watch all Olympic Cross-Country Skiing Races Live

Don’t want to miss a second of Olympic cross-country skiing? NBCOlympics.com has you covered.

Women’s 10km individual

When to watch: Thursday, Feb. 15, 1:30 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Men’s 15km individual

When to watch: Friday, Feb. 16, 1 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Women’s 4x5km relay

When to watch: Saturday, Feb. 17, 4:30 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Men’s 4x10km relay

When to watch: Sunday, Feb. 18, 1:15 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Men’s/women’s team sprint

Event: Semifinals
When to watch: Wednesday, Feb. 21, 3 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Men’s/women’s team sprint

Event: Finals
When to watch: Wednesday, Feb. 21, 5 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Men’s 50km mass start

When to watch: Saturday, Feb. 24, 12 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Women’s 30km mass start

When to watch: Sunday, Feb. 26, 1:15 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.


Source: http://www.nbcolympics.com/news/how-watch-all-olympic-cross-country-skiing-competitions-live

Birkebeiner Bridge will be part of Super Bowl Live on Nicollet Mall

The bridge will showcase demonstrations of cross-country skiing, skijoring and tubing.

The 200-foot American Birkebeiner International Bridge will come to downtown Minneapolis during the 10-day Super Bowl Live event on Nicollet Mall.

http://www.fox9.com/news/construction-of-birkie-bridge-starts-downtown-transformation-for-super-bowl

Photo Credit: Fox9.com

VIDEO: http://www.fox9.com/news/construction-of-birkie-bridge-starts-downtown-transformation-for-super-bowl

The bridge will be open to the public and built on Nicollet Mall over 9th Street South during the free event. The bridge will showcase demonstrations of cross-country skiing, skijoring and tubing.

The bridge is an “iconic centerpiece” of the American Birkebeiner (Birkie), the 35-mile cross-country ski race held each February in Hayward, Wis., according to the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee. The Wisconsin event, the nation’s largest cross-country ski race, cuts through the North Woods on the Birkie Trail.

Until January, the bridge has never been erected outside Hayward where it is assembled once a year for Birkie activities.

The 44th annual Birkie will take place Feb. 22-25. Super Bowl Live starts Jan. 26 and ends on Sunday, Feb. 4, hours before the football game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Some 13,500 skiers from 48 states and 22 countries skied over the bridge at the Birkie earlier this year, executive director Ben Popp said.

The bridge will also be part of the City of Lakes Loppet Festival. The Loppet Foundation will bring snowmakers to downtown, transforming two blocks of Nicollet Mall into a “winter playground,” according to the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.

The bridge will be covered in snow from 12 dump trucks.

Source: StarTribune.com

Meet some of the Minnesotans skiing at the Masters World Cup

By Mackenzie Lobby Havey Special to the Star Tribune
January 18, 2018 — 4:55pm / Source

A grand skiing competition for the world’s masters arrives in Minnesota; racing begins Saturday.

Most of the recent media coverage involving sporting events in the Twin Cities centers on the upcoming Super Bowl, but Nordic ski buffs are gearing up for their own mega event.

The Loppet Foundation will host the Masters World Cup at Theodore Wirth Park, attracting more than a thousand skiers from more than 20 nations. Athletes, who range in age from 30 to 90-plus, will come to compete in individual races of varying distances (three race per athlete), as well as relays. The World Cup begins Friday and runs through Jan. 26.

Held annually across the Northern Hemisphere, the event is most often hosted by a European nation. The last time it was held in the United States was in McCall, Idaho, in 2008. What makes this World Cup particularly special is that this is the event’s first time in a major metropolitan area.

Offering ideal grounds to stage a championship event, Theodore Wirth Park is widely recognized for its pristine trails all in the shadow of the conveniences of downtown Minneapolis and the surrounding areas. What’s more, The Loppet Foundation’s impressive snowmaking capabilities mean that even with lackluster snowfall, they can still pull off a great event.

The large concentration of cross-country skiers and boosters in the area played a major role in landing the event here in Minneapolis as well. Many of those local athletes will be taking advantage of the opportunity to take on international-level competition here at home. We rounded up four of them to learn more about their training and what they are most looking forward to about World Cup racing.

 

KATE ELLIS
62, Roseville

Year-round Nordic ski coach for The Loppet, other organizations, and individuals

Years skiing?

24. I started skiing at 38.

What races are you competing in at the World Cup?

15-kilometer classic, 10K freestyle, 30K classic

What does a typical training week look like for you?

Usually 10-12 hours a week. I do two weight sessions, two longer easy skis, one 5K race pace interval session, one 15K race pace interval session, a ski-specific strength workout, as well as seven hours of coaching on skis.

Where is your favorite place to ski in the Twin Cities?

Woodland Hills in Elk River for skating and Theodore Wirth for classic.

What are you most looking forward to about racing at the Masters World Cup?

The opportunity to compete in races where there will be only women in my age class. Racing is about putting it all on the line. When I race I try to ski the perfect race energy-wise, as well as tactically, so that when I cross the finish line I have emptied myself. When that happens, I am totally satisfied and content to sit and ‘just be.’

What other activities do you do in the offseason?

Marathon canoe-racing, biking, canoe triathlons, jewelry- making, and a monthlong adventure each summer, which have included paddling trips in the Arctic, hiking the Haute Route in Europe and paddling the Columbia River Gorge.

MARK JOHNSON
30, Minneapolis

Medical student (final year!)

Years skiing?

Since I was 2 — thanks to my parents — so I guess that is 28 years.

What races are you competing in at the World Cup?

10K freestyle, 35K classic, 45K freestyle

What does a typical training week look like for you?

I organize my schedule around learning medicine and providing patient care, so this means a somewhat opportunistic training schedule. I’m able to ski most days of the week this time of the year. My favorite workouts are those focused on strength and speed, which means drills to improve my ability to go up hills and speedily navigate technical parts of the ski trail.

Where is your favorite place to ski in the Twin Cities?

On a calm and clear evening, the trails of Theodore Wirth offer a silent and shimmering view the Minneapolis skyline — a highlight and unique feature not offered on most ski trails. It’s important to recognize the snowmaking efforts occurring across the metro. Those efforts make the ski season last as long as possible when there is little natural snow.

What are you most looking forward to about racing at the Masters World Cup?

Sharing the spirit of skiing with people from different cultures is invigorating, and the world is arriving in Minneapolis. I am looking forward to welcoming skiers to Minneapolis and showing off the supportive ski community that exists here in a metropolitan setting.

What other activities do you do in the offseason?

Coaching skiing with Loppet Nordic Racing, canoe-racing/trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, mountain/road biking, indoor rock climbing, and harvesting maple syrup with my family in northern Minnesota.

JIM AGRE
67, Excelsior

Professor, Department of Rehabilitation, University of Minnesota Medical School

Years skiing?

45. I started skiing in the winter of 1972-73, when I was a freshman medical student at the University of Minnesota.

What races are you competing in at the World Cup?

15K classic technique, 10K classic technique and 30 km classic technique. If I am so lucky, it would be great to ski a 5K leg of the 4 x 5K relay race, too. To do this, however, I would need to be named to my age group’s national team.

What does a typical training week look like for you?

Since returning home after completing the 2017 Norwegian [Birkebeiner], I put away my snow skis and got out my bicycle and roller skis. From the end of March until the end of November, I would typically roller-ski seven hours per week and cover 100K. I would also ride my bicycle four hours per week. Once per week I would perform a series of high intensity interval exercises. I also would spend about two hours per week on ski-specific strengthening exercises, as well as work on improving my balance and flexibility. When the snow flew at Elm Creek, Hyland Lake Park Reserve, and Theodore Wirth, I got out the skis. I’ve skied an average five hours and 70K per week. I have continued my strength, balance and flexibility exercises as well.

Where is your favorite place to ski in the Twin Cities?

Theodore Wirth is my favorite, especially the trail at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and the bog. I have been skiing there since I started skiing in 1972. Other personal favorites are Hyland and Baker parks.

What are you most looking forward to about racing at the Masters World Cup?

I am really looking forward to the camaraderie of skiing with skiers from around the world. I am anticipating a very wonderful event and look forward to making new friends from around the globe.

What other activities do you do in the offseason?

Living only 300 meters from Lake Minnetonka, I enjoy getting out on the lake with my wife in a kayak or canoe. I also have an almost 11-year-old St. Bernard, and my wife and I often take Beyla out for walks in the neighborhood or in the woods.

Come Ski North America

The American Birkebeiner & the Gatineau Loppet invite every Worldloppet skier to travel to North America and ski the two Worldloppet races.

Come Ski North America! This is the invitation from the American Birkebeiner & the Gatineau Loppet, our two Worldloppet races in North America. The Gatineau Loppet will take place on the weekend around the 17th of February and the Birkie one weekend later. So there is plenty of time to travel from Hayward to Gatineau.