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.

2018 Masters World Cup


The Loppet Foundation is thrilled to host the 2018 Masters World Cup, taking place January 19 – 26, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The World Cup event is open to men and women skiers of all abilities who are 30 years of age and older (as of December 31, 2017).

More than 1,000 racers from over two dozen countries will come to compete in up to three individual events, choosing between skate or classic. There is also a relay competition midweek.

Since 1980, the Masters World Cup has been the annual championship of the best Masters skiers from around the word. In 2017 the event was held in Klosters (CHE) and in 2019, Beitostolen (NOR) is the official host. We look forward to seeing you this January in Minnesota!



2018 NNF Trip to Tyrol, Austria and World Cups

The National Nordic Foundation (NNF) and Lumi Experiences are excited to announce the 2018 NNF Trip to Tyrol, Austria.

The NNF and Lumi Experiences are partnering to offer a trip to the 2018 cross-country and Nordic combined World Cup competitions in Seefeld, Austria. On this 11-day trip, designed by Olympian Garrott Kuzzy, we will ski in the Alps, cheer on our favorite athletes at the World Cup competitions and relax in three- and four-star hotels. Travelers will also have the opportunity to participate in the Dolomitenlauf Worldloppet!

Olympian and past US Ski Team athlete Garrott Kuzzy has over five years of experience developing skiing, biking, and hiking tours throughout Europe. He currently lives in Innsbruck, Austria and has developed this trip in his new backyard. As a former US Ski Team athlete, Kuzzy is partnering with the NNF to benefit developing US athletes. Proceeds from the trip go to funding NNF programming.

Scheduled for January 19 – 29, 2018 the trip is limited to 16 guests and priced at $3,900 per person (not including airfare) if reserved before March 31. For more information and to sign up, go to:



2018 Masters World Cup: One Year To Go!

Coming January 19-26, 2018 the biggest age-group competition in skiing will visit Theodore Wirth Park in the heart of Minneapolis, Minnesota, as the 2018 Masters World Cup (MWC2018) returns to North America.

The MWC2018 will be the culmination of five years of planning by local organizers, The Loppet Foundation, and the American XC Skiers (AXCS) non-profit masters association.


Photo credit: Vuokatti MWC2016

Well over one thousand masters from nearly two dozen nations spanning the entire cross-country ski world are anticipated to take part in the MWC2018. With no qualification process required, adult skiers ranging from 30 to 90+ years of all abilities will enjoy up to three individual races (in their choice of technique) plus a national team relay in all age/gender categories. Opening and closing ceremonies, social events, and Olympic-style medal ceremonies for each race are also part of the annual MWC program.

All MWC2018 racing will take part at Theodore Wirth Park located just a few miles west of downtown Minneapolis. Major improvements will be made, including expanded snowmaking capability at the park; a redesigned stadium configuration; a new event and administration building; and new trail access for the MWC2018 connecting the park golf course trails to two lakes on park property. Construction of all the planned improvements have begun with completion anticipated by Summer/Fall 2017.

“The new infrastructure is going to be great for World Masters, but also for everyday skiing,” says Isaac Kasper, the Loppet Foundation’s Trails Superintendent.

Part international ski festival and part world championship, the Masters World Cup is a celebration of cross-country skiing as a sport for life spanning over decades of competitor ages. All race events start in 5-year age groups making the MWC perhaps the only time adult skiers can actually take part in a ski event with a representative group of their exact peers.

Rotating around the ski world, the annual event was last hosted in the United States by McCall, Idaho, in 2008, with the last North American host site being Sovereign Lakes/ Silver Star, British Columbia in 2011. It is anticipated that next North American hosting slot will be no earlier than 2022, making the MWC2018 an incredibly unique event for any North American master skier.

Longtime USA National Director and current World Masters Association President, J.D. Downing, believes the Masters World Cup should be seen as welcoming and inclusive as any major ski marathon.

“Every year we have USA skiers attend the MWC from a huge range of abilities and fitness levels. The beauty of the MWC format is that everyone has a wonderful time.”

According to Downing, the selection of Minneapolis and specifically Theodore Wirth Park to host the MWC2018 was the result of a strong desire by both American XC Skiers (AXCS) and the World Masters Association to leverage a big city environment to build interest in both the MWC as an event and cross-country skiing in general.

“This really is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for skiers from around the world to experience our sport in a true big city setting,” says Downing. “After skiing on really great trails at the park, participants will have their choice of literally hundreds of dining and entertainment options just minutes away. From NBA and NHL games, to world-class cultural events, to the Mall of America — this is going to be anything but the same-old ski experience. This is going to be the biggest XC ski party ever held!”

Loppet Race Director Mike Erickson thinks this will be really exciting for the whole Loppet community.

“We can’t wait to share our great trails with skiers from around the world.”

Understandably, the reliability of snow for the MWC2018 has been the single greatest point of focus in the event bid and development process over the past several years.

“The MWC2018 will be the first Worlds in history that has multiple plans in place for low or no snow situations, says Downing. “The Loppet Foundation has already tested lake ice grooming technology plus remote snowmaking systems so that in low or no snow they can incorporate the extensive Park lake ice into the courses plus surrounding terrain into the expanding golf course snowmaking loops. The fantastic natural snow courses at Theodore Wirth Park are obviously our preference, but everything will be in place for a great MWC2018 regardless of what Mother Nature provides us.”

Registration for the MWC2018 will begin in Fall 2017 via the official website with extensive information already available via and other AXCS membership media over the coming year.


Things to note ahead of the MWC2018:

— Although there is no qualification process required for the MWC2018, all USA racers will need a current 2017/18 membership in American XC Skiers (AXCS). Visit for details on joining AXCS.

— All MWC2018 races are wave starts by age/gender categories. USA racers that have taken part in the 2016 or 2017 Masters World Cup events will automatically have World Masters Association seeding points. USA skiers without points will have the option to petition the USA National Director in Fall 2017 for discretionary seed considerations.

— The MWC2018 relay (2 classic and 2 freestyle legs x 5km each leg) is a national team event with every nation limited to just one team per nation in each age/gender relay category. With a very large USA contingent expected, the AXCS National Director will have the responsibility of selecting all relay teams and alternates immediately following the first three days of MWC2018 racing.

— The 2017 AXCS National Masters will be held on many of the same courses as the MWC2018 and thus will represent an excellent opportunity for North American skiers to preview the venue for the “home” Worlds.

For more information:
J.D. Downing — AXCS National Director 541-317-0217

Amy Oberbroeckling — The Loppet Foundation Communications 612-900-6890

Cross-Country Skiing at Passo Dello Stelvio (Stelvio Pass)

Passo dello Stelvio is strongly associated with the annual multiple-stage bicycle race  – Giro d’Italia. The Grand Tour route regularly passes through this legendary 2,758-meter pass, which is one of the highest in Europe. It turns out that Stelvio is also a summer resort that is endowed with a marvelous small glacier and excellent conditions for cross-country skiing on three routes.


Stelvio Pass connects Bormio (Valtellin Valley) with Bolzano and Innsbruck at a total of 180 kilometers from Milan along the border with Switzerland. In addition, from Bormio, one can reach Livigno and Santa Caterina – both well-known alpine ski resorts. Despite the availability of relatively inexpensive accommodation at the pass (with rates starting from as low as 35 Euro), skiers mainly choose to take up residency near Bormio, namely in Valdidentro. This point is situated at a height of 1350 m above sea level, and has a 2.5-kilometer ski roller track, with a single room costing from as low as 15 Euros per night.

Stelvio Pass itself is open to drive-through traffic only from late May to early November, since it receives significantly heavy doses of snow during the winter. Here, one can also go skiing on a 6.5-kilometer ‘Folgore’ track` that is located at an altitude of 2700-2750 meters. However, this is possible only near the end of June, when the snow finally begins to melt here, and from October to December, when it begins to snow again. This treat of a lifetime costs a mere 7 Euro.


Skiers can later get on top of the glacier and ski there until November. They need to be lifted up on two hoisting devices up to the 5-kilometer Livrio (3170 meters) track, or up to the 7 kilometers Cristallo (3,250 meters) track. Here, the cost of skiing is significantly higher, and may vary between 20 to 31 Euro per day.

Stelvio weather can be capricious. Therefore, it is important to monitor the forecast, because chances are one might have to ski in wet snow, or the pass may be completely closed for travel. In addition, the ski service should be notified only if there are more than five people preparing to go out and ski, so that the trails can be prepared accordingly.

A little history of the pass.

The original road was built around 1820-25 by the Austrian Empire, in order to link the former Austrian province of Lombardia with the rest of Austria. The project manager was an Italian engineer by the name of Carlo Donegani (1775-1845).

Due to the harsh weather and environmental conditions under which the road was constructed, the project was accompanied by a large number of victims among the workers. The number of people employed in the construction of the road during the busiest periods easily reached 2500. It took 63 months to complete the project. A commemorative tablet was erected in front of the entrance to the first tunnel near the Bagni Vecchi, in memory of all those who died during the construction.

Since then, the road has undergone minor changes. It has 75 sharp turns, of which 48 are located on the northern side (in the direction of Prato Allo Stelvio). Most of the stones are numbered, challenging motorists’ skills.

Before the end of the First World War, the road actually served as the border between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Kingdom of Italy. Switzerland also had its outpost and the hotel (which was destroyed) at Dreisprachenspitze (literally, “the peak of the three languages”).

During the First World War, the fighting forces engaged in fierce battles with artillery fire in this area, often encroaching on Swiss territory. Afterwards, the three countries signed an agreement not to fire a single round of ammunition on the territory of Switzerland. This treaty was signed between Austria (in the north) and Italy (in the south). After 1919, with the expansion of Italy, the pass lost its strategic importance. Currently, the Stelvio Pass remains an important place for sport and tourism.

On the way to the top of the pass from Bormio are four houses that were built during the construction of the road in the nineteenth century. They were open all year round and provided food and firewood, acting as a kind of hotel for tourists, where they could find shelter on their way. Near one of the houses is a memorial dedicated to the fallen heroes of World War I.

Source: Перевал Стельвио открылся для лыжных тренировок

Related: If You Go: Passo dello Stelvio (Faster Skier)

The Sognefjellet Mountain Pass is Now Open for Ski Training

The part of Scandinavian Mountains located along the southwest cost, is receiving incredible volumes of snow during winter periods, and there is more than enough snow to ski on at the altitude of 1400-1500 meters till the middle of June or the beginning of August.


The Road #55 takes you from Lustrafjord to national parks of Jotunheimen and Jostedalsbreen. In thirty kilometers from the seaside it goes through the Sognefjellet Mountain Pass (1434 meters), – the tallest in the Northern Europe. Up to ten meters of snow appear here during winter periods, thus it can be open for car traffic only at the end of April. From the 20th of May, the Sognefjellet Skiing Center is open to everybody.


In order to create perfect conditions for skiing in the summer, the Sognefjellet skiing center starts to prepare and groom eight kilometers of ski trails back in February.

Below you can find temperature stats for the Mountain Pass during the last year. Negative temperatures are guaranteed up to the middle of June.


One can rent a mountain hotel room right next to the ski trail for 70-100€ per night with full board. Ski pass prices start at 10 Euro per entry.

You can also run, bike or roller ski on the 1400 meters of the Mountain Pass.


Sognefjellet Skiing Center:


Summer Skiing

Technique is a huge challenge for me. It is the area of my skiing that my coaches and I see the biggest opportunity to make gains. The best way to make gains in cross country skiing technique is to cross country ski. As such, I have done a lot of travel to snow during the northern hemisphere summer over the past three seasons. Here are the places I have skied and my thoughts about them.

– Noah Hoffman


Mt. Bachelor Nordic Ski Center, Bend, Oregon

Mt. Bachelor outside of Bend generally holds snow into the middle of June. There isn’t any lodging at the resort, but it’s only a 30 minute drive from the happening city of Bend. The trails are rolling and it generally freezes at night. It’s good to get on snow early, while it’s still fast and hard. Afternoon skiing is generally not recommended, but the dryland training in Bend, especially the mountain biking, is wonderful. The crust skiing can also be great from Mt. Bachelor, conditions depending. I’m excited to be skiing at Mt. Bachelor now.

Stelvio Pass, Italy

Last September I joined the Maine Winter Sports Center team for a camp on Stelvio Pass on the Swiss-Italian border. It is HIGH! We lived at the highest hotel, which means we could ski from the door, but it also meant we were living at about 10,300′. All of the skiing is up from there. The trails are between 10,500′ and 10,900′. I was able to handle the altitude without too much trouble, and I had a productive training camp. However, my coaches and I were very conservative with training. Also, I grew up living at 8,000′ and training at that elevation and higher.  I believe Stelvio is too high to do effective training for anybody not used to the altitude. Beyond that, the trails were great with only very gradual hills, ideal for skiing at that altitude. It takes two tram rides up from the top of the pass to get to the hotel. As with many European hotels, all three meals are served there and can be purchased in a package deal with the room. The views from the glacier are stunning.



Snow Farm, Wanaka, New Zealand

The Snow Farm in New Zealand is the best place that I’ve ever trained for skiing in July through September. Of course, it’s winter down there, so the skiing is on mid-winter snow. Glacier skiing is not a bad option, but it’s not the same as skiing on the same snow we race on all winter. New Zealand offers race quality snow, trails and grooming. When they have good snow they groom about 30 kilometers. The terrain is gentle, ideal for putting in long hours. The views are gorgeous. The best option for lodging is the lodge located on the trails. They have a meal plan that can include all three meals. It’s a 30 minute drive down a winding dirt road to the nearest town of Wanaka, so it is very isolated. Of course, the travel to New Zealand is long and expensive. I am hoping to be headed back to New Zealand in August.



Torsby Ski Tunnel, Sweden

Keep reading about other places …

– Eagle Glacier, Girdwood, Alaska

– Oberhof Ski Tunnel, Germany

– Dachstein Glacier, Ramsau, Austria

– Sognefjell Snow Field, Norway

– Torsby Ski Tunnel, Sweden

– Canmore, Alberta, Frozen Thunder