Letter from IAWLS to Worldloppet
(Note from webmaster: This letter was sent to Worldloppet Secretary General Madis Lepajõe by Hannes Larsson. A couple of months later Hannes founded IAWLS together with Jan Jasiewicz and Lech Milewski. This letter can be considered as the first letter from IAWLS to WL)
Dear Mr. Lepajõe,
Please find enclosed the questionnaire which I found at the Birkebeiner. Thank you for your initiative. Worldloppet skiers had until now the impression that there has been very little or no feedback from the skiers to the organization. The purpose of my letter is to give some proposals for the further improvement of the organization of the WL system.
I have to date performed 91 Worldloppet races, including all 14 member countries. I am a threefold WL Master, my fourth passport is full and my 5th passport has already 9 stamps. This gives me a good basis to forward some of the wishes of WL skiers. Indeed, the points that I will raise hereafter are not based on my own views only, but result from discussions with many WL skiers, in particular from France, Italy, Finland, the USA and Australia.
Design of items for WL passport holders/Masters
This is a recent initiative and I can only give my own views. A sign of recognition will certainly be welcomed by WL skiers and I see the cap as the most appropriate item. Your idea of showing the flag of the participant’s country is very good. The text to be printed needs to be discussed.
My proposal is to have two models:
- WORLDLOPPET MASTER.
The former applies to all passport holders, the second to Masters.
I vote against showing the passport or Master number for two reasons:
- a number on a clothing item may evoke a prisoner,
- the numbers change every time you “consume” a new passport or get a new Master’s “degree”.
It seems that you are thinking at a centralized distribution by the General Secretariat + possibly the member secretariats. This is OK, I agree that these items should be worn only by skiers who really have a WL passport or are Masters. Thus, a centralized control has to be exercized in order to avoid loosing the significance of the whole operation.
Concerning the design of the cap, I propose to adopt the shape of the caps given to Lavazèloppet participants (Cavalese area on the thursday before Marcialonga) in 1999 and 2000: It covers the ears without covering the eyes and is therefore suitable even in cold conditions. However, it is more expensive to make than a straight-rimmed cap. If ordered by mail, the cap should be payable by credit card.
Around the world there are many (my guess is of the order of ten) double masters and even more are holding their third passport. Indeed, after you have obtained your WL Master’s degree, either you stop participating in WL races, or you begin collecting several Masters. To stimulate the latter kind of skiers and maintain their interest in these (after all quite expensive) races, we propose to create some sort of official recognition. It could be of three sorts:
- In the Worldloppet Yearbook list first all those who have more than one Master, before giving the usual list in numerical order. Such a presentation was shown last year in a Marcialonga Newsletter which listed first the names of three Italian double Masters.
- Adopt a small (2cm x2cm?) symbol (M?) to be fixed on the cap for every Master performed.
- Establish a new recognition for a certain number of Masters, for example Worldloppet Super Master or Worldloppet Master x 5 for 5 Masters and Worldloppet Hyper Master or Worldloppet Master x 10 for 10 Masters.
Registration to WL Races
Until now, most European races have required the payment to be made by bank transfer. That is an antiquated system which leads to high bank charges to the participants. For example, a bank transfer from France to other European countries costs 83 FF (25 DEM) if the fee is expressed in the currency of a EURO country, otherwise (to Sweden and Norway) 101 to 113 FF (30 to 34 DEM).
What is needed is the possibility to pay by credit card. That system is applied by Kangaroohoppet, American Birkebeiner, Keskinada, and Marcialonga. The latter’s secretary Angelo Corradini told me that they have good experience with the credit card payment system. The König- Ludwig-Lauf secretariat saOctober 18, 2007 All WL races should from 2001 on adopt the possibility to pay by credit card. This should also be included in the criteria of acceptation of new members in the WL organization.
This is an item which must be well designed. One can also recognise a WL skier from his skis. The markers (stickers) should be resistant because the same skis may be used for years afterwards. Here are the most important points to be observed:
- Strength of the sticker: it must be of a resistant plastic material with a good glue to adhere to the ski. Paper is unsuitable, like in the Vasaloppet stickers (the surface absorbs water in humid conditions and finally they wear out; when they have absorbed dirt it cannot be cleaned)
- Size: not longer than 6cm. On this count, the worst year 2000 sticker was the Finlandia Hiihto one: much over 10cm (which I reduced by clipping away the empty ends to 9,5cm, still too long and containing unnecessary empty areas).
- Texts: from a distance of 2m the following should be clearly readable:
- the name of the race
- the year
- the visual symbol of the race, if it exists.
- Other texts (sponsors): acceptable only if not too big. Bad examples:
- Finlandia 2000 (gigantic HAVUT which is not understood anywhere else than in Finland)
- XXVII Dyno American Birkebeiner (year not shown, name of the race too small, what has Dyno to do in the name of the race?)
Regarding all these requirements, we WL skiers like very much the superb Kangaroohoppet 1999 sticker: plastic material, the texts HOPPET, 1999 and the picture of the Kangaroo all clearly visible, no other texts, size 5cm. Congratulations!
There are a number of other requests that we skiers wish to put forward to the organization. If the Worldloppet Commitee is interested in this kind of feedback, I am voluntary to collect further opinions from WL skiers and forward them to you.