Special Registration Issues

Special issues with races that may get fully booked. Register early.

RACENAME – Registration status for 2015 (and reg.closed for previous years)
Vasaloppet – Open&full 16.3.14
(open&full 17.3.13, full 15.3.12, 30.5.11 and 24.8.10)

Marcialonga – Opens&full July 1st 2014.
(open&full 5.6.2013, 15.10.12, full 18.5.11 and 7.9.10)

Birkebeinerrennet – Opened 23.4.14
(open 18.4.13, full 19.4.13, opens for foreigners early: 21.9.12. General opening & full 25.10.12, full 1.11.11 and 5.11.10)

US Birkie – Opens 2.06.14
(Opened 3.6.13, full 10.10.13, Full 15.10.12, full 21.11.11 and 18.12.10)

Jizerska – Opens 1.5.14
(Full 8.11.13, opened 1.7.12. Full 19.12.12, full 1.12.11 and 22.12.10)

Tartu Skimarathon – Opened
(full 7.1.11)

(All date formats are dd.mm.yy and indicates main race if multiple races in one event)

For Marcialonga: Book very early (before March 15th?) and get your startnumber via your hotel in the valley. Italians have their own early booking periode. Scandinavians can also get startnumbers in travelpackages from their major travel firms, like Maxpulse

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UshuaiaLoppet in Argentina, Aug.10th 2014

Fresh pictures from the Worldloppet race in Argentina. This year was the first year the race was a Worldloppet race.

Picture from a reception of Worldloppet skiers at the race:

Worldloppet skiers

Worldloppet skiers

Start and finish area of the race:

Overlooking the start finish line

Overlooking the start and finish line

Race start

Race start

All pictures by Tom Sutherland

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Full refund of startfee

It is possible, it’s nothing new, offers have been given but not much has happened.

Both low levels of snow and bad weather have led to cancellation of popular ski marathons during the last few years. Some times cancellation occurs before race day but also many times ON race day, just before the race starts. So what should we do?
The International Association of Worldloppet Skiers (IAWLS) have been working on the case and after this years many cancellations it became more applicable to present the work.

Put in few words, it is possible for race organizers to buy insurance that will give all participants a full refund of the start fee if the race is cancelled; either on race day or before. With this insurance neither race organizer or participant loses financially if the sad cancellation should happen. The cost of this benefit is so small that a realistic example says the start fee goes from 1000 NOK to 1020 NOK. Only 20 NOK (2.50 euro) extra per participant and it’s in place.

IAWLS have been in contact with several international and domestic insurance agencies and their partners regarding this issue and gathered estimates. Depending on the probability of cancellation the premium will reflect this. It could be as low as 2% for the races that rarely gets cancelled and up to 6-8% for those with a high degree of uncertainty. 2% on 1000 NOK is only 20 NOK. We wouldn’t notice this small extra charge in our wallet. Insurances like this are called “bad weather insurances” or “cancellation insurances” and they are not a special rare thing; quite normal and common for those who handle them.

A special angle that comes into account is arrangements with TV-coverage and large sponsorship deals. Sponsors expect TV coverage so the deals become more combined and complex.

Several ski marathons and other large arrangements have been given an offer on deals like this but they have not accepted. If we consider the laws of the norwegian ski federation then the rule is that cancellations on race day means the organizer don’t have to refund any part of the start fee. If cancellation is done before race day then at least 50% must be refunded. We all hope so very much that the race is not cancelled that some choose to believe that the bad weather forecast is all wrong and that weather on race day will be fine. It is allowed to live in hope. On the other side there has been talk that some race organizers speculate on this and wait until race day before they cancel even though it was clear the day before that the race could not be run.

If we look closer at the norwegian ski federations law. Paragraph specifies “sudden appeared weather/climate conditions”. Now, if bad weather is forecasted a few days in advance and the weather ends up as forecasted then this law is no longer applicable and the race can’t hold back start fees. Nice weather the day before race does not change anything as long as bad weather on race day is forecasted and is correct. But this is a different debate. Here we will address the insurance part.



Do you need this insurance if you have a “backup short track”? Even with storm, wind and lots of precipitation you can’t arrange a short “Birkie” of 20km. Some race locations don’t even have a backup track. So NO race is 100% safe that the race will run so an insurance is always applicable. The fact that there exists a short backup track may give lower insurance premium. But never remove the need for it.
With all this information available there are many fine things possible. Will there be any changes coming? Let us hope so, in one way or another.

Kind regards Lars Valge
President IAWLS. International Association of Worldloppet Skiers.

REPLY from Birkebeinerrennet:

We presented this text to Birkebeinerrennet in May 2014 and this was the reply we got from race organisation manager, Jo Gunnar Ellevold. Translated by us:

“Hei Lars, thank you for the input regarding possebilities for “bad weather insurances”. We are now working on alternative tracks for Birkebeinerrennet, safetyplans and alternative solutions regarding unforeseen happenings. In addition, of cource, the Birkebeinerløpet and Landsveisbirken that will be on June 14th. I will look more into what is in the concept of bad weather insurance and what criteria the insurance companies put as basis for this. Then it will be a total-evaluation of insurance-possebilities in relation to what safety an alternative track will give us, regarding wind and snowfall. I will get back to you when this is all ready.”

Original text for this case is in Norwegian and given in full below this line:

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Four new Worldloppet-races

Four new races have become “Associate Members” to the Worldloppet Ski Federation. From now on, Marchablanca / Ushuaialoppet (ARG), Vasaloppet China (China), Fossavatn Ski Marathon (ISL) and Merino Muster (NZL) are included into the Worldloppet family and are eligitable to stamp Worldloppet passports.

- Ushuaialoppet (Marciablanca) in Argentina. www.ushuaialoppet.com

- Vasaloppet China in China. www.vasaloppetchina.com

- Merino Muster in New Zeeland. www.merinomuster.com

- Fossavatn in Iceland. www.fossavatn.com

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Engadin Skimarathon on the way to the Ideal Start

Text by Hannes Larsson. March 22nd 2014:

Engadin Skimarathon had announced a new start system to be adopted in 2015: 14 starting blocks with 5 minute intervals. We welcomed this improvement but suggested that the Ideal Start like at Marcialonga and Jizerská Padesátka would be much better. Something unexpected happened in the 2014 race: the start from the lake was impossible because of dubious ice thickness that did not allow heavy grooming machines to prepare the start area. The organizers created what they called a “box start” arranged on the lake shore. It was nothing else than a good first approach to the Ideal Start: the skiers waited in14 boxes with the skis in their hands and when the gate of the box opened they flowed in the start area, put on the skis and started skiing. At the Worldloppet skiers’ reception on Saturday I had the pleasure to talk with the OC president Ivo Damaso who expressed some concern about this new system that they had never experienced before and on which they had sought advice from Marcialonga. But these fears were not justified, everything worked nicely. The participants observed three great improvements compared to the previous years:

1)      Until now skiers had to come early to Maloja. First they walked to the start area where they left their skis, then walked back to the Maloja Palace, where they killed the time, visited the toilets, then left their warm clothing in the truck and walked or run to the start area where they sometimes had difficulties to find their skis. These wanderings back and forth of thousands of skiers were a stupidity. This year, no such wanderings. The flow of skiers with the skis in their hands from the start boxes to the start field went easily. The skiers were relaxed and everybody was able to adopt the most suitable pace right from the beginning.

2)      The flow of skiers was continuous and there was no crowding on the track. Until now the simultaneous start of thousands of skiers created a mini-battlefield effect, stress and often falls. All this had disappeared.

3)      I was curious to see the first climb when approaching the St Moritz jump-hill. Miracle: several parallel lines were moving upwards in a continuous movement, no bottleneck! Bottlenecks occurred in earlier years also at several points after Pontresina. This year no bottlenecks. I presume that the same was observed by faster and slower skiers (my time was around 3.5 hours). This resulted from the extension of the total duration of the starts compared to previous years.

Thus we can say that it was fortunate that the climatic conditions had forced the organizers to adopt this new start system. Organizers tend to be afraid of changing a system that they have routinely applied for years.

Improvements are easily applicable to this start arrangement. The main point is that the start times (i.e. the times when the gate of the different boxes opens) must be given for each box. This year it was given only globally for the big groups, e. g. the start time of all four boxes of the B-group was given as 9.05. The huge advantage of the Ideal Start is that every skier knows his/her start time and can optimize the moment in which he/she leaves the bag in the truck and comes to the start box in light clothing. At the entry of the boxes the corresponding bib numbers need to be shown, preferably on high poles visible from far away.

A new seeding table is needed for all start boxes. It should be based on times in previous Engadin Skimarathons, but results from other Worldloppet races need to be taken into account, based on the time ratio. The registration forms should contain a space for results obtained in other Worldloppet races.

Another minor point related to the comfort of the skiers is the following. In the start area I was glad to receive help from a young man who helped me fix the skis and took care of the plastic bag that I had put on my body to avoid getting cold. This year the snow was not sticky and it was easy to fix the boots on the skis. But there are years when the snow is sticky and can form an icy hard layer in the groove under the boot. It is difficult to scrape off the snow from the sole of the ski-boots and the ski pole is not a suitable tool for this. In such conditions it is useful to have helpers in the start area. There could be a new category of volunteers, maybe called start assistants or “scrapers”. In conditions of sticky snow it would be nice to have many of them. They should have a specially designed tool that allows the snow and ice to be removed quickly from the bottom of the boots. This sort of service is not indispensable, rather a “luxury service” offered to the participants.

I am confident that the organizers are convinced about the superiority of this start and that they will apply it from now on. With a few easy improvements they can call it proudly the Ideal Start.

Hannes Larsson.

UPDATE April 9th 2014:

Se news regarding startarrangement: Boxed start is to be used also in 2015: http://www.engadin-skimarathon.ch/engadin-skimarathon/aktuell/news/news/news/detail/News/boxenstart-wird-beibehalten.html

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Marg’s final report of 2014 – Euro Winter that wasn’t

bruce-and-margOn 30th December 2013 five Perisher XC skiers, Bruce Wharrie, Jim Finnie, Arnold D’bras, Stephen Poole and Marg Hayes flew out of Australia on an amazing adventure to ski 14 European Worldloppet cross country ski races (Arnold 10 races) in 10 different countries (Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Germany, France, Estonia, Finland, Poland, Switzerland, Russia/Norway).

Our adventure turned into a virtual ‘snow hunt’ as 2014 turned out to be an extremely poor snow season for many European countries. Our journey started in the Czech Republic. After 2 weeks acclimatising & walking to find snow the Jiserska 50 was unfortunately cancelled. However an unofficial event on race day saw some 1,000 would be racers gather at the race start ready to walk, jog, cycle, and ski parts of the race course. A few brave souls including myself completed the whole 50km race course. We joined in the frivolity and had a memorable time skiing and being welcomed by local Czech people who showed us a good time (ice hockey match with tour of stadium, Czech music night, and ascending Liberec’s landmark, the Jested Tower with 5 star lunch) all mainly due to the poor snow situation.

In Lienz, Austria we rejoiced to finally see snow on the ground and groomed trails, though not quite enough in the valley. Both the Dolomitenlauf events: classic (Saturday) and freestyle (Sunday) were 42km and held high in the mountains at Obertilliach on loads of packed powdery snow. It was tough completing double events this early in our trip but Jim, Arnold, Stephen and Marg did it. Bruce skied Saturday but his MS affected legs wouldn’t work on the icy conditions on Sunday with no classic tracks.

Italy’s 70km Marcialonga was incredible; skiing through small villages on a ribbon of man-made snow with the crowd cheering was fantastic. We all celebrated making the cut-offs and completing the Marcialonga well before the fireworks which mark the last skier arriving.

Apparently a week before and a week after Germany’s König Ludwig Lauf, the race course had cows grazing on green grass but the snow gods looked after us and there was just enough snow for 2x23km loops for both Saturday’s classic and Sunday’s freestyle 46km events. Another double race weekend but we all successfully skied two races in great conditions.

Leaving Oberammergua at 5am, changing trains 8 times, we travelled right across Switzerland to arrive at Les Rousses, France 11 hours later. France’s Jura had just enough snow for the lower elevations of the La Transjurriesenne course though a hillier last 10 kilometre route was used because of poor snow on the usual course. Arnold, Stephen and Marg completed the ultimate Ultratrans (50km classic on Saturday and 76km freestyle on Sunday, though Saturday’s race was actually 53km and Sunday’s 73km) with Jim and Bruce both skiing Saturday’s 50km and Jim classic-ing the 50km freetyle on Sunday.

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Birkebeiner cancelled because of the … wind!

Today, 17th March, two days after the cancellation, we can read on the Birkebeinerrennet site:

Welcome to the 77th Birkebeinerrennet March 15th 2014

Start at Thingstadjordet, Rena and finish at Birkebeineren ski stadium, Lillehammer. The trail is 54 km, classic technic. Participation is available for all from 16 years of age by 31.12.14
All participants must carry a backpack weighing at least 3.5 kg throughout the race. Number of participants is limited to17.000.

But not  a word about the cancellation ! No results, of course. Even for the Fredagsbirken who was’nt cancelled ! And was a lovely race…


During the Fredagsbirkebeiner 2014 (photo F. Heroult)


March 15, 2014, Saturday morning, at 6:30, the buses are coming from Lillehammer to Rena. The snow is perfect, with a rather worm weather but with a lot of wind, a front wind during the race: it will be a difficult Birkebeiner.

Saturday morning, at 6:30 : the first skiers are on the starting place, waiting to start. And they are informed that …

“The race is delayed for one hour because of the bad conditions: hard wind, with strong gust (more than 50 km/h)…..”

At 7:30, the race in cancelled and the buses come back to Lillehammer!

No more information. Except a simple sentence on the Birkebeiner site “ We regret to inform you that the BR is cancelled due to the bad weather. If you have questions, join …”.

A lot of skiers decide to doo the race (without bibs, of course) from Rena to Lillehammer AND from Lillehammer to Rena. A difficult and  nice journey… but no refreshment, no stamp, no diploma, nothing !

We can understand of course that Birkebeiner decide, at the last moment, to cancel the race. Even if the conditions where no so dramatic that in 2007!

But we don’t understand this scorn for the skiers! No excuse. No refund. No explain. No information for next year.

In Russia, Demino Marathon decided to invite free of payment the skiers next year or with a big reduction for the 3 next years. Nothing like that in Norway !

What a shame : Birkebeinerrennet is one of the more pleasant WL race.

Money is money?

But skiers are not droves….

Boris Petroff

More of this text in french:

Mais où sont donc passés les Vikings ?!?

Par Thor et par Odin, mais où sont passés les Vikings ?
La mythologie nordique vient d’en prendre un sacré coup sur la réputation de courage et de hardiesse des robustes Vikings: il suffit d’un vent, certes très fort et soufflant de face….. pour annuler la course !
Ceci malgré un beau ciel bleu et la venue de 17 000 concurrents…

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IAWLS pictures from Bieg Piastow 2014, Poland

Photo by Minoru:

IMG_3138 IMG_3134 IMG_3231 IMG_3222 IMG_3212 IMG_3174

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