Special Registration Issues

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

RACENAME – Registration status for 2017 (and status for previous years)
Vasaloppet – Open&full 20.3.16
(Open&full 16.3.14, open&full 17.3.13, full 15.3.12, 30.5.11 and 24.8.10)

Marcialonga – Open&full 28.6.2016
(Open&full 1.7.2014. Open&full 5.6.2013, 15.10.12, full 18.5.11 and 7.9.10)

Birkebeinerrennet – Opened 13.4.16
(open 23.4.14 & never sold out, 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 – Opened 2.5.2016 & full 3.11.2016.
(Opens 2.06.14 & Full 23.10.14. opened 3.6.13, full 10.10.13, Full 15.10.12, full 21.11.11 and 18.12.10)

Jizerska – Opened 6.6.2016. 20% available on 12.1.2017.
(Opens 1.5.14. Full ?. Full 8.11.13, opened 1.7.12. Full 19.12.12, full 1.12.11 and 22.12.10)

Tartu Skimarathon – Opened 1.3.2016
(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.

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Warning: AVIS car rental in Italy

avis-italy-warningBecause of multiple incidents recently and no sign of improvements we have to give out a warning to stay away from AVIS car rental in Italy.

The reason is in short: the potential for not safe cars and scamming.

In more details.

Cars from this provider can be delivered with summer tires even if your rental order promised winter tires on pickup. Adding some noisy cheap chains in the back is far from the same. In Italy cars are not required to use winter tires during winter but when renting out a car for driving in alps during winter everyone should know that require winter tires. With or without spikes. It is crazy to be driving with summer tires in the alps during winter. Irresponsible by AVIS to deliver this. Further, customers must themself add anti-freeze in gas because gas does not handle many minus degrees. Customers have also experienced windshild washer fluid not handling sub zero degrees. There are resons to suspect other car rentals in Italy about the same. Also be aware if you are picking up an italien car in a neighbour nation.

Second trouble area are incidents of scamming. When you pick up your car there are scratches and dents and some is noted on contract paper. But not all. So when you return the car AVIS will point to scratches not in contract paper, and then charge you large repair charges. Doubling the bill or more. These damages are not fixed all the times, just passed on to the next unfortunate driver and potentional scamming case. Insurance cover some damages and expensive insurances cover more, but there are too often room for scamming.

Recommandations.

What we recommend is to rent cars from German locations. When going to Val di Fiemme or Cortina/Toblach it is very common and good to fly to Munich, and pick up a rental car there. German rental cars have proper winter tires during winter.

Be careful when renting cars. Check type of tires during booking. Print out your booking as the pickup location may not have all details you have seen. Look at insurance details before driving the car. Check out limit on Damage Waiver,  what you have to pay yourself when accidents happen. You can upgrade your insurance cost to get a lower self payment amount in case of accident. Damage Excess is a limit that shows the maximum payment you must pay in case of accidents. Fixing some paint scratchs can easily be 500-1000 euro. One tip is to take photo of the entire car on pickup. All sides. Document what scratches and dents that exists on pickup. Remember high resulution camera on this.

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Fantastique Islande

Text by Boris Petroff

« C’est la plus belle des 18 courses Worldloppet que je connais ! » : Michel Bouteraon, organisateur de la Transjurassienne, ne tarit pas d’éloges sur la Fossavatn 2017 qu’il découvrait … dans des conditions idéales, il faut bien dire.

Autant la météo le vendredi, veille de course, était affreuse : vent très violent, petite pluie qui vous strie le visage, peu de visibilité, neige à zéro ingrate à farter, autant la journée du samedi fut belle (bien qu’encore ventée) après une nuit claire et donc un thermomètre franchement négatif qui assécha la neige et la durcit à merveille.

Les organisateurs de la Fossavatn décidaient au dernier moment de tracer le vrai parcours, sur une seule boucle de 50 km, à travers les monts sauvages et désertiques de cette Islande volcanique !

Bravo : belle décision dont les plus de 500 participants à l’épreuve reine se félicitèrent. Mais quel travail pour tout tracer au petit matin. Merci les gars.

Un parcours incomparable

Un parcours incomparable,  sans le moindre plat, avec plus de 1100 mètres de dénivelé positif, mais fait de montées et descentes douces, agréables à passer par cette neige … qui réchauffa bien vite cependant. Rien qui ne limite l’horizon, si ce ne sont quelques très rares cailloux et donc une vue sans fin sur cette nature si caractéristique de l’Islande : pas un arbre, pas un buisson, pas une âme (sauf aux ravitaillements bien sûr).

C’était ma troisième participation à la Fossavatn et la première fois que j’en prenais plein les yeux !

La Fossavatn c’est aussi une ambiance de course bien spéciale : plus conviviale que compétitive, solidaire plus qu’agressive. Sur le départ, les concurrents choisissent eux même leur ligne : les chronos sont proposés de moins de 3 heures à plus de 5 heures et nul n’exige de prouver quoi que ce soit. La longue côte du départ suffit à mettre de l’ordre dans le peloton.

A l’arrivée, c’est le Directeur de l’épreuve, Bobbi pour les intimes, qui vous accueille d’un grand sourire et se plie littéralement en quatre pour vous déchausser les skis.

En course, les traces restèrent de belle qualité et même sur le retour avec une neige sans doute un peu chaude pour le fartage initial, je ne vis personne se risquer à quelques pas de patins.

500 coureurs classés sur le 50 km (remporté par … Petter Nothug en personne, au sprint devant Runar Mathisen, un autre norvégien, quant à la première femme c’est Britta Johansson Norgren qui finit à la 12ème place au classement scratch).

Près de 200 sur le 25 km et encore 70 (dont beaucoup de couples) sur le 12.5 km.

Au total (avec la course pour les enfants et surtout le 25 km skate du jeudi) c’est près de 1000 concurrents (pour la moitié des non islandais) qui ont fait le déplacement sur Isafjordur.

Déplacement souvent rendu délicat tant le vent soufflait fort et empêchait les avions d’atterrir sur le terrain difficile d’Isafjordur : pour notre part, avec une quinzaine de concurrents, nous avons patienté 5 heures à l’aéroport de Reykjavik avant d’enfin embarquer… et arriver sur place quelques minutes seulement avant le départ du 25 skate, heureusement programmé à 17h00.

17h00 pour un départ de course, cela peut paraitre étrange … mais il faut savoir qu’en fin avril le jour se lève avant 5heures du mat et ne se termine que vers 23h00 !!

La Fossavatn c’est aussi un beau prétexte pour faire la fête.

Les fêtes !

Jeudi soir, Worldloppet party : dans la maison de la culture, avec des chants traditionnels islandais et un fort sympathique buffet de poissons et grillades.

Vendredi soir, pasta party à l’hôtel Isafjordur.

Samedi après midi, la cake party autour de la remise des prix ! Des gâteaux à n’en plus finir, pour se remettre de sa course : une très très belle idée dont pourraient s’inspirer d’autres WL.

Samedi soir la Fish Party : LA soirée annuelle de tout le gratin d’Isafjordur. Un peu guindée, un peu chère mais tellement typique et joyeuse.

Quelques résultats

Pour les résultats je vous renvoie sur le site de la Fossavatn mais je voudrais tout de même féliciter chaleureusement Ludmilia Kolobanova qui à 73 ans, boucle avec son éternel sourire le25 km skate en3h03 et le 25 km classique en 3h09. Ou Lino Davarda, l’homme de la Marcialonga, au casque décoré de tous les drapeaux nationaux de la WL, qui finit le 50 km en 4h32.

Ivana et Joseph Kral, toujours présents et inséparables tant sur le 25 skate (2h26) que sur le 50 classique (5h46). Et encore Thomas Huber (qui nous offre chaque année le calendrier mondial de toutes les courses de ski de fond) : 1h33 sur le 25 skate et 3h09 sur le 50 classique.

Et encore Irena Prochazkova : 2h24 en skate et 4h44 au 50 classique et sa fille Michaela : 1h54 en skate et 1h46 (3ème féminine) au 25 classique.

Valentin Borisov, qui ne renonce jamais et achève ses 50 km en 6h54.

Des estoniens, des norvégiens, des américains en grand nombre et même un mexicain (German Machozo, 3h56) et un japonais (Masato Shirai : 5h43).

Quant à mes amis français, je n’oublierai pas Michel Bouteraon (1h38 au skate et 3h38 au 50 classique), Laurent Mérindol (2h03 en skate et 4h54 en classique), Christian Viry (3h17 au 50 classique), Samuel Etienne Régé-Gianasso brillant 9ème scratch en 2h39 et surtout Joseph Luce qui a bouclé son 4ème passeport WL en une année et qui s’économisa sur la Fossavatn en 6h57 sur le 50 km classique. Pour ma part je suis ravi de mes chronos de petit vieux : 1h51 pour le 25 skate et 3h 47 pour le 50 classique.

JE REVIENDRAI !!!

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New in 2017: a night Vasa free technic!

(french text will follow after english text)

I ran the first night Vasaloppet, the Nattvasan!

Per team of two, with my nephew. It was exceptional …

At 7:30 pm the night fell and we are on the starting line: there is only one line. Great emotion as everyone knows that it lives a historical moment. The first Vasa by night. The frontal lights come on … then go off at about 7:45 at the request of the presenter to highlight the laser show and the violinist who plays a sonata for us (pretended but no matter), on the watchtowers where Sunday morning young Girls will encourage us to warm up.

It’s beautiful, it’s magical.

At 7:55 pm, the frontals come alive again and you would think in broad daylight as their beams are powerful.

20h00: we’re off! Gorgeous glide. My Roman nephew is stuck behind me and we go from one track to another to win some places at the start. It is immediately the wall: in skate the snow is upset and we climb to the pace. But quickly the second km then the third frees us. At our level essentially skiers are on skate. From the top of the slope to Smägan we are very fast (… for us)  with the energetic thrusts. Smägan reached 52 ‘. And it is even faster for Mangsbodarna that I join in 1:42. I’m like a crazy dog, so happy to snatch, to slip, to double, to chain the steps of one on this sweet and fast snow!

I turn around: I lost my Roman … which arrives 3 minutes later not without having, too, forced as a madman.

Good surprise: refreshment, unlike official announcements, there is hot water and energy drink. I carry two liters of drink in my backpack for nothing. Only problem: no cups! We shall drink on the ladle before finding a goblet … which we will keep religiously to Eldris.
Another surprise: the crowd of great days is here! Campfires,  music, smells of grilled sausage along the way. As in daylight.  Unbelievable. We are 251st in Mängsbodarna (and I had to be in the 200 on my suicidal arrival).

It is the great descent: fortunately I know it easy because we do not see far with our meager frontal and we are sometimes alone.

It is magic ! We look for the wolves and do not find their eyes shining in the night. Roman has a shot of bloose. He keeps the rhythm but I can see that he drool.

At the bottom of Evertsberg, a miracle, we find a snow a little warmer and much faster. We spent half. Romain knows he will go to the end. Our average goes up and we double couples in classic … From time to time we see some tied by a string of a few meters: the husband before pulls his wife to relieve her on the slopes a little rough.

And always the same amazement to be there, the same affluence at the edge of the track, the same pleasure to slip in skate. I remain stuck to Romain and ski without sticks, soft and long pushes on this flat ground in soft snow I saved my arms for Sunday.

But this is the first time that I will swing 90 km skate in one go!

Oxberg / Hökberg: I reassure Romain “This is the last passage a bit hard”. To tell the truth, at night and in skate one feels the bumps only at the end. This is not at all the same as daytime and classic. It is almost 2am in the morning and we are not at all sleepy.

Eldris: It’s won. 9, 8, 5 … Mora comes closer. And already we see all green then all blue the church illuminate the place.

At 3h27’19 ” we cross the line. Romain did not weaken. He is in the mood to finish in less than 7h30. Me too. We are 327th out of 795 (705 teams ranked).

Quickly take the bus, pick up our bags, snack the dinner and the sleeping arrangements (“do not resume your car as soon as you arrive: rest first on the mattresses we have planned for this purpose” Vasa told us in a mail before the race but it is on foot that we will find our bed), take the bus to Mora town, go back quickly to our lodging, shower and especially go to bed. It is 4:30.

It’s done ! One more Vasa (..my 32th) but which Vasa !!!

Certainly she runs by two, but not in relay! It’s a real Worldloppet GOLD race! For proof: the next day I was doing the “real” Vasa, day and classic … and I was faster than the night before in skate despite fatigue and lack of sleep …

Congratulations to the Vasaloppet for having, after 96 years of Vasa, still known innovate!

For the rest, it is always the same magic of this race like no other, expensive but so well thought out in every detail.

Boris Petroff

FRENCH TEXT:

Nouveauté 2017 : une Vasa de nuit et en skate !

J’ai couru la première Vasaloppet de nuit, la Nattvasan !

Par équipe de deux, avec mon neveu. C’était exceptionnel…

Continue reading

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Engadin Skimarathon innovates

In the 2017 events Engadin Skimarathon introduced two innovations. The first was the availability of two tents in the start area where the skiers could keep warm waiting for the start. A thick layer of wood chips on the ground gave a comfortable feeling. Maybe for the following years the organizers could afford to put up bigger tents that would be appreciated in case of colder weather than this year.  The second innovation was the introduction of the Night Race on Thursday. This 17 km race went from Sils to Pontresina, started at 7 PM and it was valid as a Worldloppet Silver race. Buses from various Engadin villages to the start were made available. We had hoped to enjoy skiing in the moonlight but unfortunately a little rain gave a somewhat unpleasant flavour to this première. The headlamps were really necessary. For skiers who had never tried night skiing before, this experience was interesting and they appreciated the practical arrangements. The final descent to Pontresina may have looked frightful in the dark but it went easily. Certainly this is an innovation that has its permanent place in the Worldloppet calendar.

The weather on the Engadin Skimarathon day (Sunday) was ideal: sunny with a few degrees below zero at the start and warming up to a couple of degrees above zero at noon, with a good glide. More than 13000 skiers were at the start, 10080 finished the 42 km race and 2094 the 21 km race.

Engadin Skimarathon belongs to the “elite” group of races that have adopted the “Ideal Start”, i.e. the start that is essentially a continuous flow of skiers. The organizers have not yet exploited the possibilities of the Ideal Start to its full extent. The start “groups” are too big, e.g. the start gates of Hauptgruppe C containing 4000 skiers were planned to open at 9.11 and for the last group Volksläufer at 9.23. By limiting the size of the successive groups to, say, 1000 it is possible to give to each group a more precise starting time. The advantage is that each skier knows his/her starting time within an accuracy of less than 5 minutes. If the weather is cold, it allows staying in the warm tent to the last minute. This year the starts occurred very smoothly without the least “battle-field” effect (as we had in the old arrangement with mass starts). But bottle-necks were observed in the first climb before St Moritz and later after Pontresina. These bottle-necks can be reduced by lengthening the time interval between the opening times of the gates of the successive start groups.

Hannes Larsson

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Bieg Piastow 2017

Like last year, races were organized on three days: Friday March 3 the 30 km FT race, Saturday March 4 the 50 km CT race and Sunday March 5 the 25 km CT race. Shorter promotional races also took place. Bieg Piastow did not need artificial snow because natural snow was abundant. The tracks were in good condition but the above-zero temperatures made the races harder than usual, although we did not experience major waxing problems. The Jakuszyce plain served both for the starts as for the finish.

The courses were relatively challenging with many climbs: the cumulated uphills (and downhills) reached 550 m in the 30 km FT race, 903 m in the main 50 km CT race and 435 m in the 25 km CT race.

Bieg Piastow distributed prizes not only to the global best and to the three first of the age groups, but also to the three first male and female Worldloppet Masters, which is unique in Worldloppet and indeed a strong indication that Bieg Piastow  is a WL event. The reception of WL Masters that took place on Friday PM at a hotel in Szklarska Poreba was the best we have experienced, all WL events considered, with a free meal and beautiful gifts to everybody.

Hannes Larsson

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Tartu Maraton 2017

During the weeks preceding the date of the Estonian Worldloppet race alarming reports told about the lack of snow and the organizers’ uncertainty about the race course. Finally they confirmed one week before the race week-end that the races will take place in Otepää (the usual start place) on a 6 km loop of artificial snow and that the 63 km race will be replaced by 34 km and the 31 km race by 16 km. Registered skiers were requested to choose which one of the six starts (three on Saturday and three on Sunday) they preferred. It was possible to register also at the bib distribution on Friday.

On both race days the weather was good, a little below zero at the start on Saturday and mostly above zero on Sunday. The artificial snow resisted perfectly the wear of 2000 skiers making the same loop up to six times. The announcement «two and a half laps for the 16 km race and five and a half laps for the 34 km race» was a little confusing. We discovered the perfectly marked course on the spot. There were two loops, 2 km and 4 km. The 6 km loop consisted of one 2 km loop followed by the 4 km loop. At the end of every 2 km loop and every 4 km loop we passed the Tehvandi ski stadium. Everybody started with a 4 km loop. Then the 34 km skiers had to do five times (2 + 4) km and the 16 km skiers two times (2 + 4) km. The km markers showed the remaining distance of the 4 km loop and the 6 km (2 + 4) km loop. Skiers just had to count the laps. I followed Corrado Ampezzan’s advice, put six pieces of tape around one of my poles and strapped off one tape at the end of the first 4 km loop and at the end of each following (2 +4) km loop.

The course was nice with a few easy climbs and descents. It became of course a little repetitive, we could almost have skied the last laps with closed eyes. But we enjoyed the race and congratulate the organizers for their good job.

Corrado Ampezzan’s incredible adventure

Corrado Ampezzan is from Cortina, Italy. The race was important for him because it was intended to give him the tenth stamp in his16 th Worldloppet gold passport. He was under stress because his ski bag containing also his boots and waxes did not arrive in Tallinn on Thursday PM with the flight from Riga. They were supposed to arrive during the night between Friday and Saturday. But that was too late for waxing the skis and Corrado was obliged to rent skis in Tartu. He was grateful to Epp Paal, the WL CEO, who drove him to the rental shop where he also chose the boots and poles. The skis, waxed for the race, were picked up by Corrado on Saturday morning at the start. They worked perfectly but at one point Corrado fell and broke one of the bindings. This looked as the end of his race. He skied on one ski a few hundred m and there he saw a young man on the side and called him with the few words of English that he was able to utter: “I need help!”. The man was willing to lend him his skis but there was a problem: Corrado had Salomon bindings and the man had Rottefella bindings. In the misadventure there was a lucky end: both had boots of size 43. They exchanged their boots, Corrado finished the race on the Estonian’s perfectly waxed skis and obtained his 16 th gold Master title. When Corrado brought the skis to the rental shop he was informed that his saviour was nobody else than Tartu Maraton’s director Indrek Kelk. Future contacts will reveal how Indrek came home on one ski.

Hint to Worldloppet races: post your director on a strategic point of the race ready to intervene when a skier in distress needs help!

Hannes Larsson

 

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Transjurassienne 2017 (eng)

A beautiful and Harsh… Transjurassienne

After the strange cancellation of the 2016, each of us wondered what would happen to the 2017 edition?

Especially since the beginning of winter the snow has been scarce in the Jura massif.  And the mild weather during the first days of February complicated the situation:

Thanks to la Transju organizers who reacted promptly and offered us an original, superb race and perfectly snow-covered, obviously as difficult as the normal course.

The Technic director, Pierrot Vandel, made it a point of honor to extend this folding race to 50 km…at the price of many loops in the Massacre forest and the Combe du Lac. At one point there was false joy when nearing Premanon and hearing the commentator at the finish line, when a new loop was to be seen… we are definitely beating around the bush, groaned a skier by my side, impatient to be finished…

Identical race for the 50 km Transju’Classic, la Transju’Marathon and la Transjurassienne skating.

Departure near Switzerland, in the village of Bois d’Amont, with a release of skiers in several groups, like Marcialonga, skis at hands.  There was no jostling either in classic or skating despite the 2 500 participants racing on a track just wide enough.

Fortunately, it was sunny with mild temperatures because there were hardly any places to find shelter on the starting area.

It takes only a few small bumps and about 10 km to reach Les Rousses and its incredible popular success: a stretch in the village full of enthusiastic spectators, like we have not seen in a long time. Better than la Marcialonga and Moena, which speaks for itself! (and the same at Premanon…where it was at last possible to finish La Transju… with a beer in the hand…)

Then for 40 km it was a succession of harsh climbs, rather easy downhills and rare flat areas near Le Fort des Rousses and la Darbella near Premanon, the climb in the Massacre Forest to the chalet de la Frasse (not as long, neither as hard than the traditional climb of Chalet des Ministres from the original course), then the beautiful downhill back to Lamoura and an eventful return to Premanon…

The 25-km left from La Darbella, went straight to Lamoura and then took same tracks as the 50 km race all the way to Premanon: undoubtedly a demanding itinerary for the unskilled skiers launching themselves for the first time on a long distance cross-country ski race…

A course of absolute beauty which did not lack many km to return to the departure stadium. I know, La Transjurassienne is a linear course…and personally I regret it. It is so much simpler to go back to the starting point! No unnecessary transfers (and probably costly). One day maybe la Transju will, like la Finlandia, opt for a loop?

Exceptional feeding stations

With an experienced racer memory (more than 340 long distance Nordic ski events to my record) I have never seen such delight. Dry fruits, cakes, Comté, meringues, dry sausage, energy bars etc, etc And of course tea, energetic drink and fresh water.  Really at the top! Next time I’ll bring a backpack…

What else to say about the 2017 Transju

A beautiful sports and commercial village in Morez for the bib distribution, no waiting line.

A hat… hum Phrygian or Andean,,, more aesthetic than convenient as a gift, a beautiful 2016 recycled into 2017 medal, a friendly and multilingual Worldloppet welcome, an organized Team despite the 2 strenuous weeks of intense labour. Thanks to Gaelle and everyone else.

A Worldloppet reception which was, I was told, exceptional with La Polka du Jura dance. Unfortunately, with accommodations scattered far from Morez and The lunettes museum, the hosts of the reception, didn’t have as many participants as they deserved.

Sufficient shuttles were organized to the start and to go back home after the arrival… but heavy traffic to reach La Darbella and Premanon.

Certainly, at the arrival site in Premanon, it was sometimes necessary to wait about half hour to recover locker bags and eat. And the dining room, although large, seemed quite small at certain peak hours.

But at least the Bolognese on Saturday and the cooked ham on Sunday were good and the cheese mirrored our love for the Jura.

On the sport side, the best have won (even the winner of La Transjurassienne, Alexis Jeannerod, waxed his skis: a long time since we’ve seen that, just proves the difficulty of the course).

Others suffered at times: for the classic style, it was hard to find the perfect wax (snow at 0 degrees, cold and dry at some places, hot and humid at others), for the skating style (especially for the afternoon departure on the 25 km) a melting snow rendered a bit slippery.

And new performances by Hannes Larsson and Lioudmila Kolobanova who double the two short events!

On Sunday about 40 skiers wore most elegant kilts to promote the donation of bone marrow.

Total happiness for this 2017 Transjurassienne which promises a 2018 jubilee: the 40th Jurassian winter for this French Worldloppet Event, created in 1979…

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