Letter to Worldloppet from the
International Association of Worldloppet Skiers
The IAWLS is submitting this letter to the Worldloppet Organisation and individual WL member race organizations to provide a summary of our activities over the past year and to convey our proposals for the continued growth of skier participation in all Worldloppet events.
In the Fall of 2005 IAWLS became a fully registered non-profit association, registered in France under the Law of July 1, 1901. The statutes of IAWLS, together with a description of our goals, structure and working method can be viewed on our website www.worldloppetskier.com . The first IAWLS Annual General Assembly was held in Lienz on January 21, 2006. The minutes of the meeting are posted on the website. Special thanks to the Dolomitenlauf organisation for providing IAWLS with an excellent venue for this meeting.
The IAWLS website also contains travel information under “Advice to Skiers”. This resource will be updated regularly as we receive submissions from our membership. In addition, a report was posted after each race of the 2006 Worldloppet season. Each report contained results of some of our membership. It is the intention of IAWLS to draw attention to the success of some of the non-elite skiers who comprise the bulk of participants at each event.
IAWLS would like to reiterate some of our previous general recommendations, all of which are intended to improve the quality and overall experience of Worldloppet events for all participants:
- Provide country flags on skier’s bibs. This would further promote the spirit of Worldloppet at a relatively low cost.
- Provide ski stickers with good adhesive and durability properties.
- Post regular weather reports on race websites with frequent updates close to race day. Links to local weather websites could help.
- Improve the arrangement of food stations. Skiers, especially foreigners, often have difficulty finding their preferred drinks or snacks. This can lead to traffic congestion, tangled skis and poles etc and is often caused by language difficulties and/or inconsistent layout of the food stations within a race. This past season IAWLS members noted 2 races that had very simple and effective solutions to the problem.
At the Engadin Skimarathon volunteers wore different coloured caps to indicate which drink they were serving. This information was published in the Marathon Post which was distributed to all participants before the race.
At Birkebeinerrennet the pre race information included a map showing the organisation of the food stations so that skiers knew which section of the station offered their preferred drink.
- Ensure that each race start is organised in a manner which prevents traffic jams for all participants.
This is not an issue for some of the smaller events but can become a major problem when there is a large number of participants. Many skiers, not just elite, wish to achieve their best possible result and become frustrated when slowed by circumstances beyond their control.
American Birkebeiner, Finlandia Hiihto and Birkebeinerrennet already have particularly well organised starting procedures which have achieved the desired results. Their procedures have several elements in common:
- All have a large number of waves (thus reducing the number of skiers per wave)
- Sufficient time between the start of each wave
- Seeding systems which ensure that the majority of skiers are placed in the correct wave.
For WL skiers, it is important that when they come for the first time to a WL race, they are placed in a starting wave corresponding to their level, on the basis of results achieved in other WL races. IAWLS is continuing to work on a standard seeding system which should eventually lead to a seeding table customised for each WL race and containing all recent WL gold level races.
The IAWLS committee has forwarded letters to several race organizations to offer suggestions for improvement and praise for that which is already done well. We hope to continue to work with the Worldloppet Organisation and individual races by representing the interests and concerns of skiers.
We welcome your comments which can be forwarded to all committee members at IAWLS@worldloppetskier.com .