Ushuaialoppet and Marchablanca 2017

ush2017b.jpgThe Tierra Mayor valley a few km north from Ushuaia had abundant snow early August. But just a few days before Ushuaialoppet planned on August 12, strong rains and high temperatures destroyed the snow cover. Skiers who visited the area on August 10 thought that it was impossible to organize a race when there were only some scattered patches of snow on the ground and predominantly grass, mud, frozen ponds and small streams of water. But the organizers worked very hard, shovelling snow and building small bridges. It was evidently impossible to use the normal course. But the solution was similat to what we had seen recently in the Czech Republic and in Estonia. On the race day we enjoyed an excellent 6 km snow avenue in the plain in the vicinity of the ski center Tierra Mayor, to be made eight times for the 48 km Gold race and four times for the 24 km Silver race. It was mainly flat but included a little climb, and on the return a descent where we could enjoy an appreciable speed.Two classic tracks remained in good condition for everybody and there was ample space without any crowding. The time-keeping was manual, no chips.

ush2017a.png61 skiers finished the 48 km race and 31 the 24 km race. There were more foreigners from other continents than South America (49) than skiers from South American countries (43).

On the race evening a nice prize distribution and a dinner were available at the ski center. Russian skier Alexei Cheredilov who finished his first Worldloppet passport was celebrated and received his Master medal and diploma. The ambassador of Finland in Argentina Teemu Turunen made a speech and reminded hat this year is the 100 year jubilee of Finland’s independence. That was celebrated at Finlandia – hiihto where a 100 km race was organized.

Some results of IAWLS members :

48 km race

Joseph Luce             FRA    5 :21 :17

André Viry               FRA    5 :15 :14

Jörg Kaiser               GER    3 :41 :55

Monika Kaiser        GER    4 :13 :34

Kralova Ivana         CZE     4 :15 :36

Kral Josef                 CZ E    4 :15 :37

24 km race

Matti Huotari          FIN     2 :48 :10

Veli Rautiainen       FIN     3 :30 :01

Raimo Valkonen    FIN     2 :30 :01

Hannes Larsson      FRA    2 :05 :36

Tom Sutherland     USA    1 :40 :47


Marchablanca took place on August 20. This 21 km race followed the normal course with a turning point at the Cerro Castor alpine center. This year it was a FT race. It had been snowing during the week but not quite enough and in some places the glide was not perfect because of grass or mud. Shorter promotional races were available for beginners.

Some results of IAWLS members :

Kralova Ivana         CZE     1 :47 :27

Kral Josef                 CZE     1 :47 :26

Matti Huotari          FIN     2 :55 :04

Veli Rautiainen       FIN     2 :54 :48

Raimo Valkonen    FIN     2 :33 :08

Hannes Larsson      FRA    2 :54 :46

Kaiser Jörg               GER    1 :33 :07

Kaiser Monika        GER    1 :45 :36

Tom Sutherland     USA    1 :36 :22


Hannes Larsson


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Worldloppet Master cheating scandal. Status update

Time has passed and this is an update and latest status on the cheating masters. Many cheating race results have been set to DSQ (disqualified) the last year and many master diplomas have from this been removed. But there is still work left. Several Worldloppet masters that we know are invalid are still presented as valid. And there are many race results presented as normal but we know they are DSQ.


Be aware of “Dirty Worldloppet Masters”. They exist


If you have not read the back story presented by us on Dec.29th 2016 please read it here.

This cheating scandal have taken a lot of time to handle. It has become a double-case. First we have the scandal results discovered, and then we had a long struggle to get things corrected.

The “Scandal reports” were made in May/June 2016. Handled by Worldloppet General Assembly in June 2016. Presented to three committees in FIS in October 2016. Someone is still working on this and we don’t know all details. FIS Legal Office is included. Worldloppet have said they will make new laws in 2017 to better handle cheating like this. FIS did in November 2016 come up with new “Universal Code of Ethics”. More is to come.

Many websites wrote about this scandal case in January 2017. Some of them also mentioned the names of the three culprits and what races that contained cheating.

Status update, May 2017

Many Worldloppet Masters have mentioned that they feel this case has cast aspersions on all multiple masters. That is sad and we must stop it. The way to do it is to name the three notorious cheats as other websites have done. To clean the status of the other multiple masters. So we go: Cheat skier 1 is Jan Vadlejch (Israel). Skier 2 is Miroslav Dasek (Czech). Skier 3 is Roman Sevcik (Slovakia).

Many race results have been set to DSQ and thus many Worldloppet Masters have been removed. The following Worldloppet Master numbers have been removed. From skier 1: master 3300, 3201, 4201. From skier 2: 3447, 3637, 3827, 3917, 4047, 4177, 4277. From skier 3: 3849, 3959, 4019. Thirteen masters removed means that all 130 containing race results have been marked invalid by Worldloppet and can’t be used in other/new Masters.

Status update, May 2018

During the winter of 2017 we were talking to Worldloppet-management and they promised that new Worldloppet rules would come during AGA in June 2017. New rules that would handle all this cheating masters. Enabling the removal of all Worldloppet masters and Worldloppet stamps that we know are cheating. Independently of race result adjustments and FIS actions. If Worldloppet were convinced it was cheating it would be handled. Sadly, this never came through. No change. We will for always have fake masters existing and displayed on Worldloppet webpages. In 2018 we also got a new fake master and added it to our list below.

Remaining Dirty Masters.

Remaining invalid masters (“Dirty Masters”) still in existence are as listed below, including detailed explanations. We will follow the development of these dirty masters as long as they exist. And update this page if status changes.

Master 3601. Case Fredagsbirken 2012 CT 54km.

Vadlejch and Dasek had exactly the same timing on all four intermediate timings and finish. Photo-evidence were found later. They show many pics of Vadlejch and none of Dasek. Birken knows this is cheating but refuse to DSQ the result! They will not change results as old as 2012, but Gatineau Loppet changed some of their 2010 results in 2017. We wait until Birken do the right thing.

Master 3900. Case Finlandia Hiihto 2014 CT 50km.

One picture of Vadlejch and no pictures of Sevcik. Dasek was with them too. All three skiers have identical timing on finish. On intermediate timing Dasek is not quite the same but Vadlejch and Sevcik has the same timing in intermediate. On search we get no picture of Dasek but on a Vadlejch picture we recognize Dasek behind him. This must mean Vadlejch was carrying Sevcik’s chip. Vadlejch and and Sevcik must be DSQ here.

Master 4159. Case Konig Ludwig Lauf 2015 CT 46km.

Sevcik and Dasek had exactly the same timing on both two intermediate timings and finish. There are pictures of both Sevcik and “Dasek”. But that is not Dasek wearing Dasek’s startnumber. Also, we have 50 photos of Sevcik but only 7 of unknown person with Dasek’s number. Explenation is that Sevcik was carrying Dasek’s chip and someone else was skiing only parts of track wearing Dasek’s startnumber. That is why only 7 photos, not 50. Both Sevcik and Dasek must be DSQ here. Dirty Master 4159 should be removed.

 Master 3600. Case Dolomitenlauf 2011 CT 42km

Vadlejch and Dasek had exactly the same timing on both two intermediate timings and finish. No pictures but three identical timings. It looks like a clear case of cheating. Do we need pictures to get through? Master 3600 should be gone here!

Master 4563. Case Fossavatnsgangen 2016 CT 50km.

Sevcik and Vadlejch had exactly the same timing on all intermediate timings and finish. This was in initial result list on race day, later that day the results were removed. A case of cheating where one skier has carried the timing chip of the other skier. Sevcik has oddly been put back into resultlists. He should be disqualified (removed from resultlist like Vadlejch was) because of cheating. And master 4563 should be removed.

There is also a cheating result in Dolomitenlauf 2011 FT. But the Worldlopet Master (no.3300) containing that result is already removed because of another DSQ race result.

Further punishment and handling of cheating.

What should be done with skiers that have notoriously cheated for seven years? Maybe much more, or certainly much more. Work group only checked some races 2010-2016. The three cheats have damaged the reputation and great status of the Worldloppet Master system. The “main product” of Worldloppet. A punishment of no more Master awards is a common reaction by Worldloppet skiers.

So far we have gotten words from Worldloppet that the punishment given is: the cheats cannot participate in Worldloppet Receptions for one year. And they cannot get a new Master for one year. What? This means practically nothing! Staying away from receptions is probably ok for the cheats as they want to stay low until heat is gone. No new masters for one year means they will collect Worldloppet stamps as usual and wait one year before sending in passports and request masters. No harm done to them.

Let’s roll back and look at the exact words Worldloppet gave to the cheats. It was this: “First unanimously decision from the Congress was to inform you officially that YOU ARE NOT MORE WELCOME AT ANY OF THE WORLDLOPPET RACES”. What could that mean? Please stay away one year and then all is as usual? Hardly! A reasonable interpretation here is simply that these skiers will no longer get Worldloppet Masters, ever. Worldloppet cannot prevent them from starting in the races. That is decided by the race management in each race. But preventing new Masters given, their own product, is possible.

What about remaining Dirty Masters? We know they are invalid and that race results are invalid. So they must some day be removed. What Worldloppet said after they had looked at the reports on the cheating case, was exactly: “The Worldloppet Congress, held last week in Finland analized the documents, connected pictures and films and decided to DELETE ALL THIS RESULTS from your passports / diplomas already emitted”. That means that all results and masters listed some day must be deleted. Today they are not all gone.

We will follow this case and update this text if/when any changes come.

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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.


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.


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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 ( 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


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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