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!