Tag Archive | "loppet"

Season in Review with FIS XC Race Director Pierre Mignerey

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May 09, 2013 – FIS Cross-Country Race Director Pierre Mignerey took a moment to evaluate the past season 2012/13 competitive season. He spoke about Val di Fiemme, TV viewership, the Worldloppet series, his personal season highlights, and what’s on tap for next season.

Looking back, what is your overall evaluation of the past 2012/13 season?
Pierre Mignerey: It was, first of all, a very good season in terms of snow conditions and the Organisers did an excellent job. From a sporting perspective, we had a full season calendar with great World Championships in Val di Fiemme (ITA) and an exciting Tour de Ski and World Cup tour in general.

In terms of TV audience, our season review is looking positive. Although we still have to improve the quality of some of the TV productions, we are overall very satisfied with our TV exposure. In addition to the World Cup competitions, the season was a great success for the Worldloppet Organisers with a new record number of almost 135,000 athletes participating in the world of ski marathons.

Your personal highlights?
PM: I will definitely keep in mind the fight for the men’s overall World Cup title which lasted until the last weekend of the season with only 15 points separating the first three athletes at the start of the World Cup Final in Falun (SWE).

In addition, we will be remembering the amazing 50km in Val di Fiemme with the incredible solo-escape by Johan Olsson (SWE), for a long time.

On the ladies’ side, Cross-Country Skiing is still dominated by Justina Kovalczyk (POL), Marit Bjoergen (NOR) and the Norwegian team in general, but we could see that some other teams are remarkably improving including a young and promising Finnish team and an astonishing USA squad.

On the road to the next season….
PM: Next season, the focus will naturally be on the Olympic Winter Games. I’m also looking forward to the first part of the World Cup season with another exciting Tour de Ski.

With regard to television aspects, we are in permanent contact and discussions with our TV broadcasters in order to improve the quality of the TV production especially for the interval start competitions.

Concerning the team support, we will concentrate our efforts on the team service area and try to solve the recurrent issues with waxing cabins.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2012/13 Final Contest Standings and Winners Announced after the Engadin Skimarathon

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March 27, 2013 (Toronto, ON) – We’re sorry for the delay and thrilled to announce the overall standings and winners of the second annual SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2012/13 Contest after the Engadin Skimarathon 42km  free technique race held in Switzerland on March 10. Read our coverage of the 45th Engadin Skimarathon, including final overall FIS Marathon Cup standings here.

Team dom managed to defend the lead to the end with 650 points, while teams beaujo and legrandbo made last-minute charges to earn top-three finishes with 644 and 640 points, respectively.

For the final contest standings after the Engadin Skimarathon, please click HERE.

Congratulations to the winners and thanks again to all contestants and our great sponsors including Nipika, Marwe, Yoko, Halti, Skiwax.ca, 2XU, One Way, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Auclair, and Buff.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Prize Winners

– dom – Dom Berrod – Fleurie, France
* 1st Prize – Nipika Lodge
– 4-nights for 2 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)

– beaujo – Rene Berrod – Vivier, France
* 2nd Prize –  Marwe
610c Roller Skis (value $349)

– legrandbo – Guy Ruet – Le Grand Bornand, France
* 3rd Prize – Yoko
9100 Poles (value $299)

– Redl… – Agris Krievans – Naukseni, Latvia
* 4th Prize – Halti
XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)

– fleur – Simone Berrod – Fleurie, France
* 5th Prize – Skiwax.ca
Racer Kickwax kit (value $235)

– swedish – Vincent Ruet – Montalieu Vercieu, France
* 6th Prize –  2XU
Long Sleeve Thermal Compression Top and Elite Socks (value $195)

– lafrasse – Christiane Ruet – Le Grand Bornand, France
* 7th Prize – One Way Snowbird Glasses (value $120)

– bondin – Alex Moiroud – Montalieu, France
* 8th Prize – Fresh Air Experience
or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $100)

– littlebig – Nadine Moiroud – Montalieu, France
* 9th Prize – Auclair
Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)

– rgsnow – Guillaume Ruet – Fleurie, France
* 10th Prize – Buff
Headware (value $23)

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

38th PAL Great Labrador Loppet a Success – Report Results

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March 25, 2013 (Labrador City, NL) – The 38th PAL Great Labrador Loppet was an exciting event to remember. It was very worrisome on Friday night with blowing snow, 60-80Km winds and low visibility. But we persevered, sent our two Pisten Bullys (Menihek Nordic & Whitewolf Snowmobile Club) to Fermont 28K start at 2:00AM, held them there until 6:00AM and then came to the Duley Park 10K start and waited there until an hour before the start 10:00AM so we could achieve best possible track and skating course.
At 6:00 AM, on going out around the course start & finish areas, we found out that the snow had stopped, the winds were dying down and it warmed to 0’C. The 38th PAL Great Labrador Loppet was a go. The course was set, 129 people had signed up to ski or snow shoe, all the start finish areas were ready, all the venues, Menihek, Smokey, Whitewolf and the Club Lagopede de Motoneige in Fermont were ready, Circular road was barricaded, the railway from Bloomlake was shut and guarded, the town trucks for the skis were at the mall the buses came, the skiers arrived and away we go for the Loppet.

It was a great day for skiing,the course a challenge but it was warm. Lots of hard luck stories, the first moose observed on the loppet trail. The rest stops, feed & refreshment stations were excellent,lots of volunteers and groups from Search & Rescue, H.O.W.L.S (Ham Radio), Patrol Whitewolf, Town of Labrador City, RNC & some Canadian Ski Patrol also skied the course.
The timing crew did a great job and people were really good sending in pictures of their loppet experience.

The awards ceremony for youth was at 2:00 at White wolf, a great job there with food and refreshments for all Loppet skiers. In the evening, there was a banquet and awards ceremonies and dance at Smokey Mountain Ski Club for skiers and volunteers, guest speaker was Min.Nick McGrath. Smokey did an excellent job on the steaks and food. The dance after was a lot of fun.

Another successful PAL Great Labrador Loppet for the history books. We are very appreciative to all our skiers, organizers, staff, volunteers, and sponsors, thank you all.

Looking forward to next year… happy trails.

Full PAL Great Labrador Loppet results HERE.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2012/13 Contest Standings after the American Birkebeiner

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March 15, 2013 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to announce the standings for the second annual SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2012/13 Contest after the American Birkebeiner 50km free technique race held in Hayward, Wisconsin on Feb. 23. Team dom has jumped into the lead with 473 points, knocking Team Redl into second with 456 points. Team asterion is now ranked third with 447 points.

Read our coverage of the 2013 American Birkebeiner and how husband and wife duo Brian and Caitlin Gregg won the men’s and women’s races, respectively here.

For the contest standings after the American Birkebeiner, please click HERE.

These are the only FIS Fantasy Nordic contests of their kind worldwide so don’t miss your chance to enjoy fabulous top level xc ski racing and win fabulous prizes –  good luck to all contestants.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Prizes

* 1st Prize – Nipika Lodge – 4-nights for 2 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)
* 2nd Prize –  Marwe 610c Roller Skis (value $349)
* 3rd Prize – Yoko 9100 Poles (value $299)
* 4th Prize – Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)
* 5th Prize – Skiwax.ca Racer Kickwax kit (value $235)
* 6th Prize –  2XU Long Sleeve Thermal Compression Top and Elite Socks (value $195)
* 7th Prize – One Way Snowbird Glasses (value $120)
* 8th Prize – Fresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $100)
* 9th Prize – Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* 10th Prize – Buff Headware (value $23)

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including Nipika, Marwe, Yoko, Halti, Skiwax.ca, 2XU, One Way, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

Gudeon and Roponen Win Engadin Skimarathon, Bonaldi and Mannima Take Overall FIS Marathon Cup

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March 11, 2013 (Engadin, Switzerland) – On Friday evening Pierre Gudeon (FRA) placed third in the night sprint, but was accidentally given the cheque for first place. Maybe it was a sign? When a lead pack of over 20 racers came into the finish together at the end of the Engadin Skimarathon, the Frenchman played his sprinter’s card and finished first in front of Italy’s Critstian Zorzi who thought he had it in the bag – but there were still three metres to go to the finish line. Christioph Perrillat Collomb (FRA), got his foot over the line in front of Remo Fischer, the Swiss who won in Engadin in 2011. The men’s race was marked once again by a big elite group, which formed right at the beginning and didn’t change much during the race, with only a few athletes getting dropped due to the high pace.

With his 27th place today, Sergio Bonaldi wasn’t able to show his best, but this performance was still enough to gain the victory in the overall FIS Marathon Cup. His strongest contestant Benoit Chauvet from France finished 9th today and was therefore not able to close the gap between him and Bonaldi and to take over the overall which he already lead after his victory in La Transjurassienne in February.

On the women’s side, it looked relatively open in the beginning, with Roponen already pushing hard but with last year’s winner Faivre-Picon being placed not far from the Finn. Seraina Boner (SUI), from Davos not far away from the Engadin, was third in St. Moritz at kilometre 14, right in front of a group of girls. After a lot of World Cup races and the World Championships, Faivre Picon was not as fresh as last year and could not hold on to her second place in the end, having Boner passing her only around four kilometres to go to the finish. Roponen finished with a two minute lead in the end. She will now have to carry the big Capricorn head, each winner of the Engadin Skimarathon gets, with her back to Finland. Surely a burden she likes to take.

In total, over 11,000 racers took the start of the Engadin Skimarathon under perfect sunshine and great snow conditions. This meant an increase of 6.4% (around 800 participants more). The weather forecast was not always that good so it was a nice surprise when the sun appeared on a cloudless sky this morning. All the racers can now enjoy the new medal series which will continue until 2017 with some motives of the animals of the Alps. The 45th Engadin Skimarathon also had a little “royal” touch with Pippa Middleton competing as well.

A 27th place was enough today for Sergio Bonaldi (ITA, 271 points) to fix his victory in the overall FIS Marathon Cup 2012/13. Benoit Chauvet (FRA, 227 points) who tried hard to get the red bib of the leader back in the last race of the season, and who finished 9th today, wasn’t able to get enough points to overtake the Italian. Anders Aukland (NOR, 220 points), who didn’t take part in today’s race as it was a skating race and the Norwegian is a classic specialist, takes third place in the overall ranking.

On the women’s side it’s Tatiana Mannima (EST, 402 points) who can now finally say “I am the winner of the overall FIS Marathon Cup 2012/13”. Already after the American Birkebeiner (USA) it was clear that nobody would be able to take the title away from her any more. Seraina Boner (SUI, 320 points), today’s second, is also second in the overall FIS Marathon Cup with Antonella Confortola (ITA) placing third (274 points).

“I am really happy that I could win the overall FIS Marathon Cup! It is a really important success for me and I hope the whole Italian team can profit from it! At the beginning I didn’t really have good results but suddenly, before the American Birkebeiner (USA), I realised that I would be able to win the overall if I would have a great race in the Birkie, so I gave everything. Today, it wasn’t a great race for me, the more I am happy that it worked out with the overall!” tells overall winner Sergio Bonaldi (ITA).

“Winning the overall FIS Marathon Cup means a lot to me! I focused on long distance racing this season and I am more than happy that it worked out that well! I am already looking forward to next season, but before I have our national Estonial Championships to race and then I will go on holidays!” says a happy Tatiana Mannima (EST).

Full results and the final overall FIS Marathon Cup standings HERE.

QUOTES FROM THE TOP THREE

Pierre Guedon (FRA):
I never expected that I could win today. It’s my second marathon race and my first Engadin Skimarathon so I am still pretty unexperienced when it comes to long distance racing. But the race was very fast today and when I start in a race I also want to win or get onto the podium at least. So I tried to go with the fastest ones. I got told that you have to be one of the five first skiers when you come to the last 500m and I placed myself in that way right before the finish. In the end I could play the card of a sprinter and get these precious centimetres in front of the second one. I am really really happy. The Engadin is a great place for skiing and I really enjoyed racing here.

Cristian Zorzi (ITA):
Of course I wanted to win, but in the end, Pierre was faster and stronger. I am happy with my second place.

Christoph Perrillat Collomb (FRA):
Of course I hoped that I could win this race for once after I could already gain some podium places here, but I am also happy with the third place in the end. I really like this race here and the track is made for me – that’s why I still hope that I will be the winner one day! I tried to attack together with Ivan Perrillat in St. Moritz to get the leading group a bit smaller, but in the end, everybody came back together and over 20 athletes sprinted for the places. I am happy that I could place my foot over the line for a podium place. Now I go to Oslo to race the 50km there and I am looking forward to that.

Riitta Liisa Roponen (FIN):
I felt really good today and as I only did three races in the World Championships, I wasn’t tired at all. I got told before that it will be crowded in the beginning, but I was still surprised how crowded it got. My plan was to follow the men as long as possible and that was what I did and it worked well. I knew the Engadin already from three weeks of training in summer and I really like it here.

Seraina Boner (SUI):
I felt very good today, but until St. Moritz it was pretty hectic and it wasn’t much fun to race. In reality, I could only go as fast as I wanted to during the last five kilometres. I could then catch Anouk and knew that I would be able to finish second. I am really happy with this result. Maybe I should have tried to get behind Roponen straight from the beginning, but it came differently. But she was also very strong today.

Anouk Faivre-Picon (FRA):
After my victory last year, I hoped of course to do it again. But after a lot of World Cup races and the World Championships in my legs I didn’t feel fresh enough to really fight with Riitta-Liisa and Seraina in the end. So I am very happy that I could get onto the podium. The Engadin is a really great race and it’s always fun to ski here!

Vasaloppet Crash Video

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March 06, 2013 (Sweden) – Check out this video of participants crashing hard as they hit an icy patch of track during this year’s 90km classic Vasaloppet marathon ski race in Sweden between the towns of Salen and Mora. This year’s edition saw 15,000 registrants. Watch the video HERE.

Canada’s Dupont 11th in Legendary Vasaloppet

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March 04, 2013 (Mora, Sweden) – Canada’s Andrea Dupont, known for her sprinting prowess on the Haywood NorAm circuit, finished an impressive 11th in the women’s field of the fabled 90km Vasaloppet in Sweden to log the top Canadian result in a time of 4:51.46, trailing women’s winner Laila Kveli of Norway by 0:29.24. The event drew nearly 15,000 participants, including almost 2,000 women.

Dupont represented Canada in the sprint events at the recent FIS Nordic Worlds in Val di Fiemme, Italy, and stayed on in Europe to race the Vasaloppet marathon.

“Pretty good for a sprinter,” said Rodney Ruddock of Ski*go Canada.

For full Vasaloppet results click HERE.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2012/13 Contest Standings after the Tartu Maraton

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February 22, 2013 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to announce the standings for the second annual SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2012/13 Contest after the Tartu Maraton held in in Otepää, Estonia on Sunday. Team Redl continues to lead the contest with 421 points, while Team asterion has moved up into second place with 401 points. Team dom is in third with 395 points.

Simen Oestensen of Norway and Sweden’s Sandra Hansson won the 2013 men’s and women’s 63km classic technique event. Read about the race and view the results here.

For the contest standings after Tartu Maraton, please click HERE.

These are the only FIS Fantasy Nordic contests of their kind worldwide so don’t miss your chance to enjoy fabulous top level xc ski racing and win fabulous prizes –  good luck to all contestants.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Prizes

* 1st Prize – Nipika Lodge – 4-nights for 2 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)
* 2nd Prize –  Marwe 610c Roller Skis (value $349)
* 3rd Prize – Yoko 9100 Poles (value $299)
* 4th Prize – Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)
* 5th Prize – Skiwax.ca Racer Kickwax kit (value $235)
* 6th Prize –  2XU Long Sleeve Thermal Compression Top and Elite Socks (value $195)
* 7th Prize – One Way Snowbird Glasses (value $120)
* 8th Prize – Fresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $100)
* 9th Prize – Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* 10th Prize – Buff Headware (value $23)

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including Nipika, Marwe, Yoko, Halti, Skiwax.ca, 2XU, One Way, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

Gatineau Loppet Skate Skiers Turn Out Despite the Cold – Canada’s Murray Wins Men’s 51k

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February 18, 2013 (Gatineau, Quebec) – The sun shone high overhead, but the temperature dipped low all around on the second day of the Gatineau Loppet. Still, everyone was in a great mood, and the participants, which included elite as well as recreational skiers, were eager to get into today’s freestyle races.

51 and 27 km freestyle
The 51 and 27 km races were delayed 30 minutes because at 8 this morning the mercury had plunged to -28 with the wind chill. But even that could not deter the 1000 participants gathered at the start line at 9:30 a.m. sharp. The first to cross the finish line was Ian Murray (Canmore, CAN), with a time of 2 hours, 30 minutes and 11 seconds. He was followed by Jonathan Tremblay (Chicoutimi, CAN), who finished one second ahead of Ryan Atkins (Oshawa, CAN). On the women´s side, Robyn Anderson (Stowe, USA) crossed the finish line 9 minutes ahead of her closest rival, Martina Stursova (CZE), who was back on the podium for the second day in a row. Lea Davison (Jericho, USA) rounded out the women´s top three in the 51 km freestyle.

The men´s 27 km freestyle was won by Peter Novak (CZE), followed by Cameron Raynor (Huntsville, CAN) and Benjamin Osorio (Orillia, CAN), who had finished the 20 km classic in third place the previous day. Among the women, it was a local, Véronique Fortin (Gatineau, CAN), who made it to the top rung of the podium. She was followed by the first member of the Legend´s Path, Sheila Kealey, who had finished second in the previous day´s 55 km classic. Annie Chenard (Montréal, CAN) took third place.

10 km BFL Canada
Finally, the 10 km BFL Canada women´s freestyle went to none other than the event´s Honorary President, Tara Whitten, who had finished in fourth place in Saturday´s 55 km classic style. Next on the podium were Laura Leclair (Chelsea, CAN) in second place, and Alyssa Stowe (Almonte, CAN) in third. Among the men, Benjamin Wilkinson-Zan (Ottawa, CAN), Nicholas Pigeon (Gatineau, CAN) and Aaron Fahey (Chelsea, CAN) finished first, second and third, respectively.

And last but not least were the hundreds of children accompanied by their parents who took part in the 2 km Mini Sport Échange Outaouais. This untimed race is part of the Carnaval Soleil Polaire, a huge neighbourhood celebration initiated by the municipal Councillor for the L’Orée-du-Parc district, Mireille Apollon. Entertainment for the kids, music, inflatable structures and dishes from around the world all helped to warm up the families and skiers at the site.

Results

10k free HERE.
27k free HERE.
51k free HERE.

www.gatineauloppet.com.

Oestensen and Hansson Win Tartu Maraton, Aukland and Manimaa Lead FIS Marathon Cup

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February 18, 2013 (Otepää, Estonia) – Simen Oestensen of Norway and Sweden’s Sandra Hansson won the 2013 men’s and women’s 63km CT Tartu Maraton in Otepää on Sunday. Conditions were ideal, with temperatures of -4 C at the start, no wind and a beautiful 63km long track through the Estonian woods.

The race ended in a bunch sprint, with 17 racers finishing within 10 seconds of one another! The elite skiers tried to break the group up on the long and steep climb at Harimägi, about 16km after the start, but it didn’t work out as planned. So the big group stayed together, and only in the last 15km did the race get faster and faster, but still 17 racers fought for the finish sprint. Oestensen was the fastest and scored the win. This victory is his first ever FIS Marathon Cup victory! Behind him, last year’s winner Jörgen Brink (SWE), got his foot across the finish line for second place, right in front of Anders Aukland (NOR), who also previously won the Tartu Maraton.

On the women’s side, it was a lonely race for Hansson. The first woman to cross the finish line led the women’s race from start to finish, only experiencing a challenge in the first 15km, in which she was followed closely by Tatiana Mannima (EST), who would pay for the high pace and the energy used to obtain it. Stephanie Santer (ITA) and Ursina Badilatti (SUI) chased the Swede, but with over five minutes advantage, Hansson’s victory was never in question. Even though Santer and Badilatti were in the same group, it was not a “girls ski out”. Both fought hard with Badilatti, having the better skis in the downhill sections, always passing Santer but having to let her go when it pointed uphill again. In the
end, Santer was able to gain an advantage, pushing her skis to finish second ahead of Badilatti.

Aukland, with his third place today, is now the new leader of the overall FIS Marathon Cup with 220 points. Sergio Bonaldi (ITA) and Benoit Chauvet (FRA) are now tied in the second place with 166 points each (having finished in the exact the same places). Two Norwegians are following in third spot: Joergen Aukland and Petter Northug both have 160 points apiece.

On the women’s side, the ranking is much clearer: Tatiana Manimaa (EST) is enlarging her lead in the overall with her fourth place today. She now leads with 293 points in front of Seraina Boner (SUI, 240 points) and Stephanie Santer (ITA,222 points).

QUOTES:
Simen Oestensen (NOR):
I knew from training that I am fast, but I couldn’t really show it in competitions until now. So I am really happy that it finally worked out! Anders and I talked a bit during the race and we tried to ski very hard from around km 15/16. But it didn’t really work out so we all stayed together. Already about 15km before the finish I knew that it would be a finish sprint so I prepared for that and it worked! I am really happy! Now I will prepare the Vasaloppet and then I hope that I can do the World Cup in Lahti.

Joergen Brink (SWE):
Well, Simen was just faster today, I would say! Surely I wanted to repeat my victory from last year, but I now happy with the second place! Tartu Maraton is really on of the best long distance races … I really like the track! It’s not completely flat but a lot of up and down.

The conditions were really good today but a little snow on top of the track made it very difficult. The two Russians and Team Xtra made a lot speed in the beginning, but then we became a big group again and it was not worth trying to get away. I am happy that in the end it worked out with the second place in the finish sprint!

Anders Aukland (NOR):
I am really happy that I could make the podium today. With a finish sprint it’s not that obvious – everything can happen! We tried to break the group from the big climb on, which was not long after the start, but it was easy to close the gap for the others and so we were a big group again and the race turned out to finish with a finish sprint.

Sandra Hansson (SWE):
It’s wonderful to be back finally! And to win for the 4th time here in Tartu is really something special! I really like this track – the Tartu Maraton is one of my favourite races! The track profiles demands a lot of double poling which I like and the uphills are not that long which is great!

Stephanie Santer (ITA):
Wow, that was a hard race! My skis didn’t glide that perfectly so I had to push pretty hard the whole time. But of course I am really happy that in the end it worked out with the second place. At around km 25 I caught Tatiana and then I knew that something might be possible and I just kept pushing.

Ursina Badilatti (SUI):
YES! Finally a podium! That is just so great! It was a hard race but I had great skis! I tried to stay with Stephanie who was always a little bit in front of me. When we caught Tatiana I knew I had to keep pushing to make sure that this would end with a podium for me today! I am really really happy. It’s a great feeling that finally all the work pays off!

Click HERE for full results.

Important dates & practical information
– February 23: American Birkebeiner (USA) – 8th FIS Marathon Cup 2012-13 / 50km FT

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2012/13 Tartu Maraton – Team Modification Now OPEN

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February 06, 2013 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to announce that team modification is now open for the FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2012/13 Contest – the twist. Contestants can modify their team until 10pm EST on Feb. 9, prior to the 57/76km CL Tartu Maraton in Estonia on Feb. 10.

Contestants may only swap one of their team’s four main skiers – either male or female – not their Outlaw Skier. All points earned to date by the skier that’s out are retained, and only points earned by the new skier from Feb. 10 going forward will be counted.

Note: you only have one chance to make the swap – once completed you will not be able to change your selection so please be sure of your choice before making the change.

To revise your team click HERE.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Prizes

* 1st Prize – Nipika Lodge – 4-nights for 2 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)
* 2nd Prize –  Marwe 610c Roller Skis (value $349)
* 3rd Prize – Yoko 9100 Poles (value $299)
* 4th Prize – Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)
* 5th Prize – Skiwax.ca Racer Kickwax kit (value $235)
* 6th Prize –  2XU Long Sleeve Thermal Compression Top and Elite Socks (value $195)
* 7th Prize – One Way Snowbird Glasses (value $120)
* 8th Prize – Fresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $100)
* 9th Prize – Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* 10th Prize – Buff Headware (value $23)

Good luck to all contestants and thanks to all of our great sponsors, including Nipika, Marwe, Yoko, Halti, Skiwax.ca, 2XU, One Way, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

Correction – Gatineau Loppet Info in SkiTrax Dec/Holiday 2012 Issue

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January 31, 2013 – We would like to apologize and correct the information printed in the SkiTrax Dec/Holiday 2012 issue regarding the upcoming 35th Gatineau Loppet, scheduled for Feb. 15-17 in Gatineau, Que. The errors were in regards to some events and distances. The correct info is below. We apologize again to all parties concerned for any confusion.

Gatineau Loppet, Feb. 15 – 17, Gatineau, Que.
One of the biggest events of cross-country skiing in Canada for Elite skiers and families and celebrating its 35th year, the Gatineau Loppet is held in Gatineau Park. Approximately 3,000 skiers will participate over three days of racing that feature classical events 5km, 20km, 38km, and 55km (the 55km is part of the Worldloppet Series) and skate events 10km, 27km and 51km.

There is also the Mini 2km Sport Échange Outaouais for children. Those who complete the Gatineau Loppet Challenge will receive a pin as a testament to their achievement: Gold for 55km and 51km; Silver for 55km or 51km and 38km or 27km; Bronze for 38km and 27km. 214 St-Joseph Blvd., Gatineau, QC, J8Y 3X4.

For online registration click HERE. phone: 819-778-5014 ext 22. info@gatineauloppet.com; www.gatineauloppet.com

Fast and Female, Canadian Ski Marathon to Host Inspiring Event and Marathon Girl Contes

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January 30, 2013 (Montebello, QC) – Fast and Female is inviting female cross country ski enthusiasts ages 7 to 19 to attend an afternoon activity of inspiration on February 9 led by 2010 Olympian Madeleine Williams as part of the Canadian Ski Marathon.

Williams, an accomplished cross country skier and runner as well as a current Law student at McGill university will join the girls for an inspirational presentation followed by a personal development exercise on attitude as well as fun dance and yoga sessions. The event will take place at Château Montebello – one of the largest log-built hotels in the world – from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm on Saturday, February 9.

“I’m very excited to be leading the Fast and Female event at the Canadian Ski Marathon because this event is one of our country’s premiere ski events,” said Williams. “This is a great opportunity to reach an audience of racers and recreational skiers alike. Inspiring girls to stay in sport is important to me because sport teaches so many vital life lessons and encourages lifelong health,” concluded the retired World Cup cross country racer who still competes in cross country running.

As a two-day event, the CSM features 160 kilometres of skiing divided into 5 sections each day, with an average of 16 km per section. Skiers of all ages and abilities are welcome to participate and can do so safely. There are checkpoints at the end of each section providing food, first, aid an other services, as well as shuttle buses that run between accommodation and checkpoints throughout each day. The CSM alternates its direction each year, from East to West one year and then West to East the next – between Gatineau and Lachute.

Unlike most ski events, there are no winners or losers in the Canadian Ski Marathon. Each skier can select his/her own level of challenge and try to achieve it. One can ski as little as 12 km or up to the maximum of 160 km over the weekend.

“Chandra Crawford, Madeline Williams and the Fast and Female team have brought an inspiring energy to the 2013 Canadian Ski Marathon,” said Bill Syrros, CSM President “We recognize and respect the level of empowerment and encouragement they’re offering to CSM youth; to ski and to be the best that they can be.”

Fast and Female is a non-profit organization launched in seven years ago by Chandra Crawford – 2006 Olympic gold medalist and honorary president for this year’s edition of the Canadian Ski Marathon. The organization’s mission is to support, encourage and motivate girls to stay in sports. It is believed that girls are six times more likely to drop out of sports than boys by the time they reach 14 years old.

“I’m super pumped that we are able to bring the Fast and Female message of joy for sport to the girls taking part in the Canadian Ski Marathon,” said Crawford who is in Europe for the remainder of the World Cup season. “The CSM is a tremendous event for participants of all ages and abilities to push their limits in a fun and supportive environment. This is extremely in line with Fast and Female’s values of inspiring all girls to follow their passions for sport and continuously challenge themselves to improve as athletes and as human beings. I’m sure all the girls attending the Fast and Female activity will learn a lot from Madeleine’s presence and her lessons on perseverance and determination.”

The February 9 Fast and Female activity in Montebello is open to female youth Canadian Ski Marathon participants as well as non participants from the area.

The cost for the events is $25 for youth and includes a Fast & Female t-shirt, a healthy snack, a magazine subscription (Pedal or SkiTrax) and an autographed poster. Online registration is open until February 8 at lunch time HERE or at www.fastandfemale.com.

As a complement to the event, Fast and Female and the Canadian Ski Marathon are also partnering to run a Marathon Girl Contest. As part of the contest, girls ages 7 to 19 registered in the Canadian Ski Marathon are invited to submit a short paragraph on what makes them exemplary Fast and Female Marathon Girls. Ten young women will be selected as part of this contest and will be rewarded with a free Fast and Female Buff. Entries in the contest can be sent to info@fastandfemale.com.

For more information about the Canadian Ski Marathon and to register, click HERE.

Gatineau Loppet – Less Than 20 Days To Go!

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January 28, 2013 (Gatineau, QC) – Yes, in less than a month, from February 15th to 17th, 2013, we will be giving the start for the 35th edition of the Gatineau Loppet. We hope that your preparation for the biggest cross-country skiing event in Canada is going well. We invite you to participate at the Gatineau Loppet in your way – as a skier, volunteer, spectator or as a visitor.

Happy reading and we look forward to seeing you all on the trails.

– Yan Michaud, president of the Gatineau Loppet

Tara Whitten Named Honorary President
On January 15th 2013, at our press conference, we had the great pleasure to announce the Honorary President of the 35th Gatineau Loppet: Olympic medalist in London in 2012, Tara Whitten. We invite you to read the press release and biographical document to learn more about this athlete who’s been significant in both skiing and cycling. Tara will ski the 55 km classic on Saturday and the 10 km freestyle on Sunday. Come and ski with her!

New Challenges
On February 16th, two new linear courses of 55 and 38 km classic style will be inaugurate at the start of Lac Philippe (P.19). Participants of both races will have the chance to ski through the beautiful scenery of three municipalities; La Pêche, Chelsea and Gatineau.

It is very important to note that all skiers who take part in the 55 and 38 km classic will be transported by bus to Lac Philippe. Then, they must:
– Go at the Mont-Bleu Secondary School on Saturday morning;
– Be prepared to take the bus 1 h 10 before the start of their race at Lac Philippe;
– Go in front of the school to take the bus.

NO PARKING WILL BE ALLOWED P19.

Skiers register for the 55 and 38 km classic will receive an email with all the details a week before the event.

Carnaval Soleil Polaire
We are extremely pleased to present the second year of the Carnaval Soleil Polaire, neighborhood party held Sunday, February 17th, 2013. At noon, we invite you behind the Relais plein air to participate in a variety of activities for all. Inflatables, face painting, giant skis, music, culinary enjoyment await you. This is a family event not to be missed.

Cross-country Ski Show
This year, at the cross-country ski show, you will find the major players in the industry and also several retailers in the region: Atomic, Buff, Bushtukah, Fischer, Fresh Air Experience, Greg Christies, One Way, Peccos, Salomon, Skifast Ergometer, Suunto, Swix … without forgetting the Gatineau Loppet’s shop!

Volunteers
The Gatineau Loppet is looking for volunteers in different positions:

– Feeding stations
– Medals and awards
– Sales
– Official
– Start / Finish

Complete the form to become a volunteer HERE.

Accommodations
For official hotels and rates, click HERE.

Location Sauvageau Promotion
To get in Gatineau, enjoy a 5% discount on car rental from our partner Location Sauvageau by using the following promotional code: 2013LOPPET35

Haywood NorAm (FIS) Canadian Eastern Championships
The 2013 Haywood NorAm (FIS) Canadian Eastern Championships will be held at Nakkertok Nordic Centre, Cantley, Québec, from Feb 1-3, 2013. We encourage you to support the cross-country skiing community and to contribute to the success of this event by volunteering. Please click HERE for details.

On behalf of the EOC-2013, thank you for supporting this prestigious cross country ski event!

Canadian Ski Marathon
Learn about the Canadian Ski Marathon, a Nordic ski tour of 160 km over two days that will take place on February 9 and 10, 2013 between Gatineau and Lachute, Quebec HERE.

Special Offer Gatineau Loppet – Ski Trax
Gatineau Loppet and SkiTrax Magazine, the largest cross-country ski magazine in North America, have teamed up to bring you great savings. SkiTrax keeps you up to date on all the latest Nordic news, ski gear, adventure and recreational skiing, including race reports from across Canada, the USA, and around the world – check out skitrax.com.

Gatineau Loppet participants save 30% off regular subscription prices – try a SkiTrax/Pedal Combo Deal and get Pedal Magazine as well – to order click HERE.

Remember to “like” the Facebook page of the Gatineau Loppet HERE!

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2012/13 Contest Standings after Dolomitenlauf

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January 23, 2013 (Toronto, ON) – We are happy to announce the standings for the second annual SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2012/13 Contest after the third round – Dolomitenlauf 42km free technique race held last weekend in Lienz, Austria. Team SSWSC still holds top spot in the contest with 206 points, while Nordic Thunder has moved up into second place with 171 points. Team Broken Poles has leaped into the top three with 158 points.

Olga Mikhailova (RUS) and Sergio Bonaldi (ITA) won the women’s and men’s races, respectively – read more here.

For contest standings after Dolomitenlauf click HERE.

These are the only FIS Fantasy Nordic contests of their kind worldwide so don’t miss your chance to enjoy fabulous top level xc ski racing and win fabulous prizes –  good luck to all contestants.

Remember to register for our FIS Fiemme 2013 Fantasy Contest, launching soon…!

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Prizes

* 1st Prize – Nipika Lodge – 4-nights for 2 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)
* 2nd Prize –  Marwe 610c Roller Skis (value $349)
* 3rd Prize – Yoko 9100 Poles (value $299)
* 4th Prize – Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)
* 5th Prize – Skiwax.ca Racer Kickwax kit (value $235)
* 6th Prize –  2XU Long Sleeve Thermal Compression Top and Elite Socks (value $195)
* 7th Prize – One Way Snowbird Glasses (value $120)
* 8th Prize – Fresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $100)
* 9th Prize – Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* 10th Prize – Buff Headware (value $23)

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including Nipika, Marwe, Yoko, Halti, Skiwax.ca, 2XU, One Way, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2012/13 Contest Standings after Jizerská Padesatka

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January 16, 2013 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to announce the standings for the second annual SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2012/13 Contest after the second race – Jizerská Padesatka 50km CT race held last weekend in Liberec, Czech Republic. Team SSWSC continues to lead in the contest with 176 points, followed now by littlebig in second with 152 points and Nordic Thunder has moved in third with 141 points.

Valentina Shevchenko and Anders Aukland won the women’s and men’s races, respectively – read more here.

For contest standings after Jizerská Padesatka, click HERE.

These are the only FIS Fantasy Nordic contests of their kind worldwide so don’t miss your chance to enjoy fabulous top level xc ski racing and win fabulous prizes –  good luck to all contestants.

Remember to register for our FIS Fiemme 2013 Fantasy Contest, launching soon…!

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Prizes

* 1st Prize – Nipika Lodge – 4-nights for 2 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)
* 2nd Prize –  Marwe 610c Roller Skis (value $349)
* 3rd Prize – Yoko 9100 Poles (value $299)
* 4th Prize – Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)
* 5th Prize – Skiwax.ca Racer Kickwax kit (value $235)
* 6th Prize –  2XU Long Sleeve Thermal Compression Top and Elite Socks (value $195)
* 7th Prize – One Way Snowbird Glasses (value $120)
* 8th Prize – Fresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $100)
* 9th Prize – Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* 10th Prize – Buff Headware (value $23)

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including Nipika, Marwe, Yoko, Halti, Skiwax.ca, 2XU, One Way, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

Tara Whitten Named Honorary President of Gatineau Loppet

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January 16, 2013 (Gatineau, QC) – In one month, from February 15th to 17th, 2013, the start of the Gatineau Loppet, the largest cross-country ski event in Canada, will be given. It’s in a festive spirit that the organizing committee unveiled today a few surprises for the 35th edition!

A Very Special Guest
The President of the Gatineau Loppet, Mr. Yan Michaud, said he was “extremely pleased to announce Tara Whitten as Honorary President of the event.” The 32-years-old athlete made her mark in cross-country skiing with her silver medal at the 2003 Under-23 World Championships, by winning the Gatineau Loppet’s 50 km freestyle in 2004 and also for competing as a member of Team Canada, in the 2005 Senior World Championships. In 2008, she exclusively devoted herself to cycling, where she was crowned Omnium World Champion on the track in 2010-2011 and also won the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics in team pursuit. The young woman, native of Edmonton, is “delighted to reconnect with cross-country skiing for the 35th anniversary of the event.” She will participate in the 55 km classic on Saturday and also in the 10 km freestyle on Sunday: “Come and ski with me on February 16th and 17th, 2013 at the Gatineau Loppet!”.

New linear Courses
The Organizing Committee wishes to remind all skiers that for the 35th anniversary of the Gatineau Loppet, two new linear courses of 55 and 38 km classic starting from Philippe Lake will be inaugurated. Participants of these two races will have the opportunity to ski for the first time through the beautiful scenery of three municipalities; La Pêche, Chelsea and Gatineau.

Hall of Fame
As a legacy for the 35th anniversary of the Gatineau Loppet, the “Trail of Legends” Hall of Fame will be inaugurated. The organizing committee wishes to honor individuals or organizations that have marked the event or contributed significantly to the development of cross-country skiing. The first member of the “Gatineau Loppet Trail of Legends” will be presented during the Ice Worldoppet Cocktail hold February 16th at Mont Bleu High School.
For more information, visit our website at gatineauloppet.com.

Three Important Birkie Deadlines Jan. 31 – Changes, Elite Skiers, Adaptive Registration

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January 16, 2013 (Hayward, WI) – Greetings Skiers and Friends! With the end of January just two weeks away, here is a reminder to take care of any of the three following items that affect you and to do so by January 31.
– Race, Technique, or Wave Change – Wave change requests will be the result of your time in a qualifying race that you ski by January 31. To see the list of qualifying races on Birkie.com, click HERE.
– Elite Skier Registration – If you are an Elite Birkie skier–whether you are skiing on a team or as an independent–please contact the Birkie office as soon as possible so that you are registered by Jan. 31. 715-634-5025.
– Birkie Adaptive Event Registration – If you are planning on participating in the Birkie Adaptive Ski Events, deadline for registration is January 31. There is no race-day or race-week registration. Click HERE to register.
Please let us know if you have any questions, and we will be happy to help you.

Worldloppet and FIS Marathon Cup 2012/13 News – Jizerská Padesatka Gets Green Light

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January 09, 2013 – It wasn’t sure for a long time if it would be possible to host the 46th edition of the Jizerská Padesatka on the 13th of January. Warm temperatures and a lot of rain had made it very difficult for the organisers to maintain the course. However, colder temperatures are announced for the coming days and also some new snow. With the help of a lot of volunteers, who helped to get snow back on the tracks, the OC decided that the race can be held. The track will remain the same as usual.

In total, 4470 participants from 30 nations will be on the start line for the 50km classic race which will pass through the wonderful landscape of the Iser mountains. Starting from the cross country stadium in Bedrichov, the track ducks into the forest and keeps on until close to the Polish boarder before turning back to Jizerka and finally to Bedrichov and the finish.

Already two days before, the first race goes under way with the 30km skating race around the Iser mountain tracks. The 25km classic race will then follow on Saturday.

All the classic specialists from Norway and Sweden will be present and are joining in the fight for the overall FIS Marathon Cup ranking for first time this season.

As there will also be the FIS Cross Country World Cup present in Liberec – only some kilometres from Bedrichov – the same weekend, a huge ski party will take place in the centre of Liberec Saturday night with a live band playing.

The racers – Who is on the start list?
First name to mention is certainly the one of Stanislav Rezac, the local hero, who could win last year’s edition. Last year’s complete podium will be present as Jimmy Johnsson (SWE) is announced to start as is Joergen Aukland (NOR) and his brother Anders. Toni Livers (SUI), the third of the FIS Marathon Cup opener La Sgambeda (ITA), Florian Kostner (ITA), Jerry Ahrlin (SWE), Daniel Tynell and his brother Rikard (SWE), Jörgen Brink (SWE) or Oskar Svärd (SWE) will certainly be the major contestants. It will be interesting to see how some World Cup skiers will do: Anders Soedergren (SWE), Simen Oestensen (NOR), Martin Bajcicak (SVK), Johan Kjoelstad (NOR), Vassili Rotchev (RUS) and Eldar Roenning (NOR) have decided to use the Jizerská Padesatka as a preparation for the 50km race at the World Championships in Val di Fiemme in the beginning of March later this year.

On the women’s side, the second and the third of last years race, Tatjana Manimaa (EST) and Jenny Hansson (SWE) will be present as will be last year’s overall FIS Marathon Cup winner Stephanie Santer (ITA), Laila Kveli (NOR), Susanne Nyström (SWE), Antonella Confortola (ITA), Seraina Boner (SUI) and Valentina Shevchenko (UKR). Vibeke Skofterud (NOR), who already did the Vasaloppet last year and who has also won it, will equally be starting.

The actual start list for the elite skiers can be found HERE (always subject to change).

Important dates & Information:
– January 13: Jizerská Padesatka (CZE) – 2nd FIS Marathon Cup 2012-13 / 50km classic
– 9am: start of the 50km Jizerská Padesatka at the Bedrichov cross country stadium

Winners in 2011:
– Men: 1st Stanislav Rezac (CZE), 2nd Jimmy Johnsson (SWE), 3rd Joergen Aukland (NOR)
– Women: 1st Sara Svendsen (NOR), 2nd Tatjana Manimaa (EST), 3rd Jenny Hansson (SWE)

More information on the race:
Jizerská Padesatka: www.jiz50.cz
Track information HERE.

Next FIS Marathon Cup: January 20 – Dolomitenlauf (AUT), 60km skating

Worldloppet – The World of Marathon Skiing!!!
More information: www.worldloppet.com
Visit also the official Worldlooppet Facebook Page HERE.
Never miss an info about the world of marathon skiing – follow @WLandFISMaCup

 

Nipika XC Ski Camp Jan. 20-25 and Loppet Weekend Feb. 2-3

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December 28, 2012 (Radium, B.C.) – Happy Holidays from Nipika! We hope that you get to spend some time outside in true Nipika style: some cross country skiing, snowshoeing, toboganning, ice skating in crisp winter… followed by a hot tub or sauna and a delicious home-cooked meal.

If you can’t get out for an overnight or day visit to Nipika this holiday season, consider coming out in the New Year.

Nipika Cross Country Ski Camp – Jan. 20-25
Join Nipika director (and x-c ski guru) Lyle Wilson and Black Feather director Wendy Grater for 5 days of expert instruction and coaching. Relax at the end of the day in the wood fired sauna or hot tub. Accommodation each night is in the comfortable lodge and includes delicious, home-cooked meals and great camaraderie. Skiers of all levels will enjoy this cross country ski adventure week. More info HERE.

Nipika and Toby Creek Nordic Loppet Weekend – Feb.2-3
The Loppet Weekend is fast approaching. The Nipika Classic Loppet is on Saturday, February 2 and the Toby Creek Skate Loppet is on Sunday, February 3. Registration is already open and selling fast. The loppets are always a lot of fun – and the BBQ the follows is a huge highlight. If you’ve not tried a cross country ski event, this is probably the best one to cut your teeth. More info HERE.

We’re looking forward to seeing you in the new year! Have a safe and happy holiday!

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2012/13 Contest – Final Deadline Dec. 15

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December 13, 2012 – Time is running out to register your team for the 2012/13 edition of the SkiTrax Fantasy FIS Marathon Cup International Contest in co-operation with FIS and the WorldLoppet Ski Federation! The deadline is 10pm EST, Dec. 15 – the day before the series kicks off with the FIS Marathon Cup season opener in Italy – La Sgambeda on Dec. 16. The Marathon Contest is similar to our other fantasy contests with some twists – here’s how it works.

Register your team of four (4) men and four (4) women plus one “Outlaw” male skier not in the top 15 and one “Outlaw” female skier not in the top 10 of the FIS Marathon Cup overall rankings – all lists are at registration.

*Note that we have updated the Outlaw Skier lists based on the Start List for La Sgambeda – please review and update your team if you wish.

Here’s the twist… following the Koenig Ludwig Lauf event (Feb. 2/13) we’ll allow contestants to swap one male and one female skier from their team for added excitement leading into the final four (4) races.

Points will be awarded following each Marathon Cup World Loppet based on each skier’s performance and published regularly at skitrax.com so you can see how your score compares with other international players and the actual FIS Marathon standings. Earn bonus Am Birkie or Gatineau Loppet Points plus other bonus points – all information and contest rules are available when you register your team – and read more about the FIS Marathon Cup HERE.

These are the only FIS Fantasy Nordic contests of their kind worldwide so don’t miss your chance to enjoy fabulous top level xc ski racing and win fabulous prizes –  good luck to all contestants.

The deadline to register or revise your team is Saturday, Dec. 15, at 10pm EST, the day before FIS Marathon Cup season kicks off in Italy with La Sgambeda on Dec. 16 – and stay tuned for our Tour de Ski Contest launching very soon.

To register click HERE.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Prizes

* 1st Prize – Nipika Lodge – 4-nights for 2 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)
* 2nd Prize –  Marwe 610c Roller Skis (value $349)
* 3rd Prize – Yoko 9100 Poles (value $299)
* 4th Prize – Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)
* 5th Prize – Skiwax.ca Racer Kickwax kit (value $235)
* 6th Prize –  2XU Long Sleeve Thermal Compression Top and Elite Socks (value $195)
* 7th Prize – One Way Snowbird Glasses (value $120)
* 8th Prize – Fresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $100)
* 9th Prize – Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* 10th Prize – Buff Headware (value $23)

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including Nipika, Marwe, Yoko, Halti, Skiwax.ca, 2XU, One Way, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

Gatineau Loppet Early Bird Registration Reminder

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December 13, 2012 (Gatineau, QC) – You only have 48 hours to save up to 25% on registration fees of the Gatineau Loppet. By registering before this Saturday, December 15 at midnight, you’ll take advantage of several promotions and big discounts. Hurry up!

The Gatineau Loppet will be held from February 15th to 17th in the Gatineau Park.

Note that several innovations will be honored to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the event, including, our two new linear courses of 38 and 55 km classic that will leave Philippe Lake and also our new Cross-Country Canada sanction for our 55 km classic style course.

GET READY!
www.gatineauloppet.com

Worldloppet and FIS Marathon Cup 2012/13 Update – La Sgambeda Set for Dec. 16

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December 11, 2012 – After a year of absence due to lack of snow, La Sgambeda is back! Perfect conditions await all racers around the Italian town of Livigno. Just over the Swiss border and not far from Austria, the “little Tibet” valley features a 21km loop which will be raced two times for this 42km race in free technique. The race track develops along the river Spöl and through all the villages along it: Florin, Pont Lonc, Li Mina, Tresenda and runs as far as Campaciol. From around the Hotel Forcola (12,5 km point) the track turns back into the direction of the cross country stadium where the 21km mark is reached – half time! To finish after 42km, the racers have to turn once again towards the river Spöl in order to do another loop on the wonderful track running through the valley. The spectators cheering loud alongside the track will help the athletes to do this second round before they turn to the finish in the cross country stadium.

A lot of snow and pretty cold temperatures made it possible to perfectly prepare the track and to have it ready for all the cross country enthusiasts who are looking forward to this season opener of long distance racing! The forecast for this weekend announces slightly warmer temperatures (around -4°C) and the possibility of light snowfall.

The racers – who is on the start list?
As La Sgambeda functions as season opener, the best long distance racers will be on the start line! Just some of the classic specialists have decided to open their season with the Jizerská Padesatka 50km classic race, which will be held close to Liberec (CZE) on January 13.

Fabio Santus (ITA), winner of the 2011 edition, will try to race as fast as possible in order to gain the victory again. However, his team mates Florian Kostner, Cristian Zorzi and Sergio Bonaldi will try to prevent this. The same goes for Stanislav Rezac and Martin Koukal (both CZE) of the Skinfit Racing Team as well as for Espen Harald Bjerke and Morten Eide Pedersen (both NOR). Some World Cup skiers have decided to skip the races in Canada and to prepare their Tour de Ski, waiting for them at the end of the year, by taking part in La Sgambeda. So, names like Jean Marc Gaillard (FRA), Thomas Moriggl (ITA), Toni Livers (SUI) or Martin Bajcicak (SVK) will also be present to join in the battle for victory!

On the women’s side, one can find equally the names of the best of the discipline: Stephanie Santer (ITA), the overall FIS Marathon Cup winner of last season, will race as will do last years runner up Seraina Boner (SUI) and third placed Jenny Hansson (SWE). To be even more precise, six of the best seven of last year’s overall FIS Marathon Cup will be present, including names like Antonella Confortola (ITA), Tatjana Mannimaa (EST) and Valentina Shevchenko (URK). The last trying to win again after her victory in Livigno in 2011. Also World Cup skier Riitta-Liisa Roponen (FIN) will be on the start line, preparing for the Tour de Ski and the Nordic World Ski Championships later in 2013.

The actual start list for the elite skiers can be found HERE (always subject to change).

Also this year: The SkiTrax Fantasy FIS Marathon Cup contest
FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2012/13 Contest – Register Your Team Today
The second annual FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2012/13 Contest is now open for team registration for fans around the world as the series kicks off in Italy with the season opener La Sgambeda, on Dec. 16. You can win great prizes and have fun while following the Marathon Cup all season. Register your team of four (4) men and four (4) women plus one “Outlaw” male skier not in the top 15 and one “Outlaw” female skier not in the top 10 of the FIS Marathon Cup overall rankings. Points are awarded following each Marathon Cup World Loppet based on each skier’s performance and published regularly at skitrax.com – plus you can earn bonus points as well.

All information and contest rules are available when you register your team here. The deadline to register or revise your team is Saturday, Dec. 15, at 10pm EST. To register click HERE.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Prizes
And of course you can also win something!!! Have a look at the great prizes that wait for you at the end of the season:

* 1st Prize – Nipika Lodge-4-nights for 2 in a luxurious cabin, incl. Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)
* 2nd Prize – Marwe 610c Roller Skis (value $349)
* 3rd Prize – Yoko 9100 Poles (value $299)
* 4th Prize – Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)
* 5th Prize – Skiwax.ca Racer Kickwax kit (value $235)
* 6th Prize – 2XU Long Sleeve Thermal Compression Top and Elite Socks (value $195)
* 7th Prize – One Way Snowbird Glasses (value $120)
* 8th Prize – Fresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $100)
* 9th Prize – Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* 10th Prize – Buff Headware (value $23)

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

Important dates & Information:
– 16 December 2012 – La Sgambeda (ITA), 42km FT, First FIS Marathon Cup of the season 2012-13 – 11am: start of the 42km La Sgambeda at the Cross Country stadium

Winners in 2011:
– Men: 1st Fabio Santus (ITA), 2nd Simen Oestensen (NOR), 3rd Cristian Zorzi (ITA)
– Women: 1st Valentina Shevchenko (UKR), 2nd Sabina Valbusa (ITA), 3rd Natalia Zernova (RUS)

More information about La Sgambeda:
Official website HERE.
Track information HERE.

Next FIS Marathon Cup: January 13 – Jizerská Padesatka (CZE), 50km, classic technique

More information: www.worldloppet.com
Visit also the official Worldlooppet Facebook Page HERE.
Never miss an info about the world of marathon skiing – follow @WLandFISMaCup

Worldloppet and FIS Marathon Cup 2012/13 Season Preview

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December 07, 2012 – Even though the winter has already arrived in many areas of Europe and the FIS Cross Country World Cup has kicked off with its first two competition weekends in Gällivare (SWE) and Kuusamo (FIN), the athletes of the FIS Marathon Cup still have some more days to prepare before the season also finally starts for them with the traditional opener La Sgambeda (42km FT) in Livigno.

Victim of last year’s lack of snow in mid-December, it does not seem to be the problem of this year. Being well covered in several layers of white, everything will be ready for the race to take place on December 16. Most of the best long distance skiers will be present at La Sgambeda to get back into long distance racing. Stars like Stanislav Rezac (CZE) and Stephanie Santer (ITA), both the reigning champions of the overall FIS Marathon Cup of last season – and both now united in the same team: Skinfit Racing Team – will participate in this race in which a 21km loop has to be skied twice. Surely both will again be THE ones to beat this season in order to obtain the overall FIS Marathon Cup crown at the end of the winter. “First of all, I will try to give my best in every race and to have fun – the results will come with that! But for sure, I would love to defend my title in the overall FIS Marathon Cup!” tells the newly-wed Santer, who married her longtime boyfriend and ex-team mate Florian Kostner (ITA), who will also be present at La Sgambeda. Kostner is eager to score his first FIS Marathon Cup victory, but his team mates from the Italian National Long Distance Team Marco Cattaneo, Simone Paredi and Fabio Santus will do everything they can, to get into the finish before him. The renamed Team Coop (ex Team Exspirit) will be present in full force at La Sgambeda with Oskar Svärd and Jimmie Johnsson (both SWE) on the men’s side and Seraina Boner (SUI) and Jenny Hansson (SWE) on the women’s side as their best ones. Also the Skinfit Racing Team will come with all its racers, not only with Rezac and Santer but also with Martin Koukal (CZE), Martin Bajcicak (SVK), Valentina Shevchenko (UKR) and Riitta-Liisa Roponen (FIN) as well as with some youngsters.

The big names of the classic technique will join the party in January when the FIS Marathon Cup will continue with the Jizerská Padesatka (CZE, 50km CT) on January 13. Then, the Aukland brothers Anders and Joergen (both NOR) as well as Jerry Ahrlin (SWE) and Thomas Alsgaard (NOR), Jörgen Brink (SWE) and Audun Laugaland (NOR) and Laila Kveli (NOR) and Susanne Nyström (SWE) will get into business and show their willingness to always be in front at all classic style races.

From the Czech Republic, the FIS Marathon Cup goes straight to Austria and its Dolomitenlauf on the 20th January before it gets to the host land of the 2013 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, Val di Fiemme (January 27). Together with Val di Fassa, the 70km CT race of Marcialonga is one of the most known long distance races in the world. Only some weeks before medals will be awarded to the best cross country skiers in the world, the fight will be tough to gain the winner’s crown of Marcialonga. If it wouldn’t be for the 67km, it would surely be for the last 3 steep km uphill to the finish line that this race is so prestigious. After it, there is no time for recovery as the FIS Marathon Cup continues the weekend after (3rd February) with the 50km FT König-Ludwig-Lauf in the beautiful setting of Oberammergau (GER), the home of the worldwide known passion play. As it was freezing cold at the König-Ludwig-Lauf, it was very windy for La Transjurassienne (FRA, 76km / 57km FT) last year, but despite that nature sometimes plays its way, this race is a mystic one, running through an incredible beautiful landscape, one “that travels across the hills and runs trough little villages” as FIS Marathon Cup champion Fabio Santus (ITA) describes it. On February 10 it’s time for it again! One week later, on February 17, the FIS Marathon Cup drives North, more precisely to Estonia and its biggest cross country skiing event, the Tartu Maraton (50km CT). Just two weeks before THE event in the long distance racing calendar, the 90km CT Vasaloppet, Tartu Maraton is widely used as a perfect preparation for this highlight. Therefore one will see all the champions of long distance racing coming to Estonia in order to prepare one of their biggest goals of the season: A victory in the Vasaloppet.

Especially for those in the FIS Marathon Cup, who are more specialists of the free skating technique, the run is not over yet since just one week after the Tartu Maraton, the American Birkebeiner (USA) makes its appearance in the FIS Marathon Cup calendar!!! Replacing the Finlandia Hiihto (FIN) in the FIS Marathon Cup calendar for the next years, the American “Birkie” will offer a most special race to all athletes since the classic and the skating technique race are taking place at the same time with courses right next to each other, making it possible to see close up the other competitors, however, skiing in a different technique. After the trip over the big lake, the athletes of the FIS Marathon Cup can finally take a little break before the big season final at the Engadin Skimarathon (42km FT) on March 10. The king and queen of the FIS Marathon Cup 2012-13 will be crowned at the end of the 42km long track which starts on the lake near Maloja and winds through the Engadin valley until the finish in Zuoz / S-chanf. As this season, the FIS Marathon Cup consists of six free technique races and only three classic ones, it will be interesting to see who the one who will be who steps on top of the podium in the end. Scoring top places in all skating races will definitely be the key to success!

Calendar of the FIS Marathon Cup & all other Worldloppet races

The FIS Marathon Cup calendar for the season 2012/13
– 16.12.2012 FT La Sgambeda 42 km ITA
– 13.01.2013 CT Jizerska Padesatka 50 km CZE
– 20.01.2013 FT Dolomitenlauf 60 km AUT
– 27.01.2013 CT Marcialonga 70 km ITA
– 03.02.2013 FT Koenig Ludwig Lauf 50 km GER
– 10.02.2013 FT La Transjurassienne 54/76 km FRA
– 17.02.2013 CT Tartu Maraton 63 km EST
– 23.02.2011 FT American Birkebeiner 50 km USA
– 10.03.2013 FT Engadin Skimarathon 42 km SUI

Other Worldloppet races:
– 03.02.2013 FT Sapporo International Ski Marathon 50km JPN
– 17.02.2013 FT Gatineau Loppet 51km CAN
– 23.02.2013 CT Finlandia Hiihto 50km FIN
– 02.03.2013 CT Bieg Piastow 50km POL
– 03.03.2013 CT Vasaloppet 90km SWE
– 16.03.2013 CT Birkebeinerrennet 54km NOR
– 16.03.2013 FT Demino Ski Marathon 50km RUS

TV coverage of the FIS marathon cup
As a first step to improve the visibility of the FIS Marathon Cup, it was decided that all FIS Marathon Cup races will produce a 3 minute news highlight which will be diffused by EBU / Eurovision to all its members on the same day as the race. Ready to hit the evening news in each country, the material will enable the TV stations to present the FIS Marathon Cup in its sports section of the news. The 3 minute video will also be available on the Worldloppet web page one day later.

Important dates & Information:
– 16 December 2012 – La Sgambeda (ITA), 42km FT, First FIS Marathon Cup of the season 2012-13

Worldloppet – The World of Marathon Skiing!!!
More information: www.worldloppet.com
Visit also the official Worldlooppet Facebook Page HERE.
Never miss an info about the world of marathon skiing – follow @WLandFISMaCup

Gatineau Loppet Announces CCC Sanction of New 55k Classic

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November 20, 2012 (Gatineau, QC) – The Gatineau Loppet is pleased to announce that the first wave of its 55 km classic style race will be sanctioned by Cross-Country Canada (CCC), allowing Canadian and international long distance skiers to collect points for the Canadian Points List.

Last year, the CCC sanction was given to the 51 km freestyle but will be attributed to the 55 km classic race this year. “This change has been decided to promote the new linear [point-to-point] 55 km classic course starting at Lake Philippe that will be introduced in 2013 for the Gatineau Loppet’s 35th edition!” explains Yan Michaud, President of the Gatineau Loppet.

To highlight the importance and the seriousness of the elite program in the event, all skiers taking part in the 55 km classic race’s first wave must provide one of the following licenses: FIS license, a license issued by a national Federation (e.g. international competitors), a CCC Racing license or a Cross-Country Canada Supporting Member’s License (day license). The Gatineau Loppet will offer prizes to both the top three men and women of this new 55 km classic style race. First place will receive $1,200, second $600 and third $200.

For any questions concerning the licenses, prizes or elite program, please visit the Gatineau Loppet website at www.gatineauloppet.com .

2013 TD Bank NENSA Marathon Series Announced

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November 08, 2012 – The TD Bank Marathon Series is comprised of five cross country skiing events across New England with distances ranging from 21k to 50k. Skiers of all skill levels are invited to participate; these events are fun for the elite racer as well as the recreational touring skier. Come and enjoy some of the finest skiing in New England!

Join in the TD Bank NENSA Marathon Series and test your endurance! Those skiers who participate in the timed class of 4 out of 5 events will receive a special Marathon Challenger Award! It doesn’t matter what distance you ski, just that you get out to enjoy these events. Awards will be presented at the Sugarloaf Ski Marathon in March. Hope to see you out there!

To see information about the five events in the series, click HERE.

Worldloppet and FIS Marathon Cup News

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October 24, 2012 – Here is the latest newsletter from Worldloppet and the FIS Marathon World Cup. Worldoppet recently attended the Forum Nordicum in Val di Fiemme, and the organization is primed for an exciting 2012/12 season. Read on for all of the details.

Forum Nordicum
Worldloppet present at the Forum Nordicum in Val di Fiemme (ITA) From 15 to 18 October, the annual gathering of all Nordic ski journalists, the FORUM NORDICUM, was held in Val di Fiemme, the host of the 2013 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. This meeting brings together Nordic ski journalists, both international federations, the FIS and the IBU, World Cup and other winter sport event organisers, ski companies and other companies, related to Nordic winter sports!

A perfect place to present Worldloppet and its races to a wider audience of interested ski journalists. Not to forget, that it is in Val di Fiemme, more precisely in Predazzo, with a view to the jumping hills, that Worldloppet has its head quarter! Val di Fiemme is also home to Marcialonga, one of the Worldloppet races which functions also as FIS Marathon Cup and which runs from Val di Fassa through to Val di Fiemme with its finish in Cavalese.

Worldloppet’s Secretary General, Angelo Corradini had the pleasure to inform the assembled journalists, that the interest in marathon skiing is still constantly growing.

Almost 126,000 skiers participated last season in Worldloppet races all over the world and the demand is still rising! The Marcialonga, Birkebeinerrennet and the Vasaloppet were all sold out in minutes!!! That the interest is not only high in Europe can be seen in the fact that also the American Birkebeiner is sold out already!!!

This race will be a FIS Marathon Cup this season and has therefore risen the interest of many skiers in the US and Canada to participate in this race with the best in the world doing the same course at the same time (only maybe not in the same time)! The US also still holds first place concerning passport holders (1,633)! They are followed by Germany (1,462) and Italy (1,078).

Last year, Worldloppet could congratulate 242 new Worldloppet Masters. They have completed 10 Worldloppet races in the long distance with at least one race oversees.

After the Worldloppet presentation it was time to give the floor to Gloria Trettel form Marcialonga, who then took a tour through 40 years of Marcialonga and informed about this year’s race. Marcialonga, since the biggest and most famous marathon ski race in Italy, is also very present at the new exhibition “Ski Past” which has just recently been opened in Trento, the capital of the region Trentino.

It is housed in an old street tunnel in Trento, which was converted into an exhibition area a couple of years back. The exhibition, the first one of its kind in Italy, looks on the past of skiing in general and in Italy especially, specially focusing on Nordic skiing. All guests of the Forum Nordicum including the Worldloppet delegation had the unique opportunity to have a sneak preview of the exhibition hence its official opening was scheduled for just a few days later.

One of the ski firms hosting an evening during the Forum Nordicum invited the Aukland brothers to come over and represent their brand. It was a unique opportunity for most of the journalists who normally are present at World Cup events and less at Worldloppet and FIS Marathon Cup races. It is not often that Worldloppet skiers are invited to these evening since normally the interest is higher in World Cup racers.

Another evidence that the interest in Worldloppet and long distance skiing is rising. A lot of interesting questions arose and both, Jörgen and Anders Aukland, showed that they are not only great skiers, but also into marathon skiing with their full heart and great ambassadors for long distance skiing, explaining the gathered journalists the specialty of long distance racing.

Some pictures of the Forum Nordicum can be found on Worldloppet’s Facebook page HERE.

Worldloppet Executive Committee meeting in Cavalese
At the occasion of the Forum Nordicum taking place in Val di Fiemme, Worldloppet’s Executive Committee held its autumn meeting in the same place, enjoying the possibility of taking part in the Forum Nordicum at the same time.

It was a perfect opportunity to spread the word about Worldloppet, market the idea of Worldloppet and marathon skiing and discussing races, development and projects with different persons and parties. The committee discussed several different points and the following was decided: Epp Paal from the Tartu Maraton was appointed new Race Coordinator. She will be present at many FIS Marathon Cup races as well as at several Worldloppet races throughout next season to support the organisers in ensuring the same level of performance (organisation, food stations, track preparation, starting order, result service etc.) at all races.

Epp will bring valuable experience on-site as she has gained solid knowledge working for the Tartu Maraton for more than ten years. In establishing her post, Worldloppet takes a step forward to ensure high quality races at all levels which is very important for the marketing of marathon skiing and the TV production on site. Alongside this topic, the relation and cooperation between Worldloppet and Ski Classics was discussed as well.

Since the Worldloppet Ski Magazine will not be printed this year as decided at the AGM, the online version will soon be available for downloading on the Worldloppet web page. Since this will only be an overview of the most important fact about each race, other possibilities for a magazine were discussed during the meeting. Further inquiries will be made for a printed format and will be presented during the next AGM to all member races.

Another important step for marathon skiing was that the Executive Committee decided to open the gates for more races and here for “exotic” races like the Fossevatn Ski Marathon on Iceland, the Marcha Blanca in Argentina or the Merino Muster in New Zealand. They are now invited to state their interest in joining Worldloppet and to come and present themselves at the next AGM (Annual General Meeting) which will take place in June 2013 in Hayward, USA, hosted by the American Birkebeiner.

New Worldloppet trailer & new Worldloppet web page
During the presentation of Worldloppet and its races, the new Worldloppet trailer had its world debut. It was exclusively shown to the gathered journalists and was very well received. The 3 minute film, put together by Marc Schauberger form the König-Ludwig-Lauf, shows what Worldloppet and its races is all about: About elite racers in the first starting row as well as about all the popular skiers without whom the race wouldn’t be the same! About the challenge against oneself, the skiing together with thousands of others and experiencing most incredible landscapes around the world.

The trailer will soon be available at the Worldloppet Facebook page and on the Worldloppet web page.

And this one will come to you soon in a complete new outfit!! The relaunch of the page is scheduled for before the season kicks off and will include several new features and a FIS Marathon Cup corner which is specially dedicated to the elite racers of the FIS Marathon Cup. All fans will wind it a great source of all kinds of information around their favourite athletes and also journalists will enjoy it for gathering information around this elite cup!

More information on the exact date of the launch will soon be diffused!

Important dates & information
– November 2012: Launch of the new Worldloppet web page
– December 16: La Sgambeda, 42km, FT, First FIS Marathon Cup of the season 2012/13

Worldloppet – The World of Marathon Skiing!!!
More information: www.worldloppet.com
Visit also the official Worldlooppet Facebook Page HERE.
Never miss an info about the world of marathon skiing. Follow us on Twitter HERE.

Gatineau Loppet Celebrates 35th Edition – Feb. 15-17

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October 05, 2012 (Gatineau, QC) – Summer is not over and the first flakes have not yet fallen but the Gatineau Loppet’s organizing committee is ready to celebrate the 35th edition of Canada’s biggest cross country ski event which will be held from February 15 to 17, 2013. Cross-country skiers are excited by the completely new course that will go through the municipalities of La Pêche, Chelsea and Gatineau.

Two new linear 38 km and 55 km classic style courses will link Lake Philippe to Mont-Bleu High School in Gatineau. The president of the Gatineau Loppet, Mr. Yan Michaud, is “extremely pleased to offer this 35th anniversary gift for ski lovers in the region and abroad.” These new courses were tested last winter by Mr. Richard Weber, Canadian Explorer and cross-country ski master. He was thrilled with the quality of the courses and strongly encourages skiers to try them in 2013. Please note that, in addition to these new courses, races of 2, 5, 20 km classic style and 10, 31 and 51 km freestyle will still be scheduled from Mont-Bleu High School.

The organizing committee would also like to announce the official launch of registration starting today. A discount of up to 40% on all races will be offered to participants that register before September 28, 2012. Also, through a partnership with les Services récréatifs DEMSIS, participants of the Gatineau Loppet will get a 15% discount on the price of the winter pass of Gatineau Park if they register between October 15 and December 1, 2012.

The organizing committee wishes to mention the partnerships with Ville de Gatineau, National Capital Commission (NCC), Winterlude, les Services récréatifs DEMSIS, Chelsea Pub, Sport Échange Outaouais, Conférence régionale des élus de l’Outaouais (CRE- O), the Centre local de développement de Gatineau (CLD), the Ministry of Education, Leisure and Sports (MELS), École secondaire Mont-Bleu, La Relance Outaouais, Holiday Inn, Ramada Plaza Manoir Casino and Buff Canada.

For more information, visit the website of the Gatineau Loppet at www.gatineauloppet.com.

American Birkie News – 8,900 Skiers, New Wave Updates and Closings

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October 02, 2012 – We’re now at 8,900 total skiers registered for the Birkie, Kortelopet, and Prince Haakon races combined, to be held February 23, 2013. Our total, combined cap for these three races is 10,000 skiers, so if you plan on being part of our 40th annual celebration, now is the time to register! Last year registration closed on November 21, and we expect an even earlier closing this year.

Celebrating its 40th year, the American Birkebeiner, February 21-23, 2013, is the largest and most prestigious cross country ski marathon in North America. Spanning more than 50 kilometers from Cable to Hayward, the Birkie is part of the Worldloppet series of 15 international races, and part of the lives of citizen skiers from around the world.

Wave Closings & Updates
Skate:
– Wave 2 is closed
– Wave 3 is closed
– Waves 4 and 9 are 95% full

Classic:
– Waves 1, 2, 3, and 4 are 95% full

Find out more at www.birkie.com

Canadian Ski Marathon Video

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May 08, 2012 (Gatineau, QC) – Check out this video and see what it’s like to participate in the annual Canadian Ski Marathon, North America’s oldest and longest Nordic ski tour,  held since 1967. The fully supported event features 160km of trails along the Canadian Shield and is conquered by participants of all ages.

Marcha Blanca, Ushuaia Loppet and More Planned for Argentina in 2012

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April 11, 2012 (Argentina) – The Andino Ushuaia Ski Club, Marcha Blanca Race Organization, and their partners are pleased to announce Argentina’s inaugural International Month of Cross Country Skiing scheduled for August 2012 near Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Four events comprise the schedule, including a weekend of ski instruction intended mostly for local skiers, a “Mini Marcha Blanca” for skiers aged 13 years and under, the 26th Annual Marcha Blanca 21/7km freestyle race, and the 2nd Annual Ushuaia Loppet 42 km freestyle ski marathon.

Race Director Pablo Valcheff says, “The Mes internacional de esquí de fondo (International Month of Cross Country Skiing) is intended to continue on the success of the last few years while also growing at a sustainable rate.” Last winter’s Master Classes gave hundreds of Fueguino skiers the chance to improve their skiing and spend a day on skis in the Valley of Tierra Mayor, both at Centro Invernal Tierra Mayor and at Cerro Castor. The Ushuaia Loppet will again trace the Marcha Blanca course twice in the opposite direction. The Marcha Blanca passes the quarter century mark in 2012. And the Mini Marcha is a chance for kids to enjoy an event of their own.

Apart from the events associated with the Marcha Blanca, the Club Andino Ushuaia is developing a roughly 1.5 km sprint course at the Francisco Jerman Nordic Ski Area just 10 minutes north of Ushuaia. The trails will be widened and the hope is to begin running FIS compliant sprint races there as soon as possible.

More information is available at www.marchablanca.com or www.clubandinoushuaia.com.ar

Telemark Resort Eager to Partner With American Birkebeiner

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March 29, 2012 (Cable, WI) – In an effort to partner with The American Birkebeiner, Telemark resort has laid out the following win-win proposal to keep the start and many of the Birkie functions solidly located at its original home at Telemark Resort.

Some of the challenges the Birkie is facing is the uncertainty of access across several parcels of private land including the Cable/Union airport as well as several parcels of private land north of McNaught road. The financial security of Telemark Resort has also been a concern given past closures and ownership changes.

Telemark believes that the two can help offset each other to provide a secure future. Telemark has the trails, meeting/expo space, parking and infrastructure, while the Birkie has the event with its 9,600 participants and the millions of dollars they bring to the area.

A successful partnership between Telemark Resort and the Birkie also translates to the success of other events in the area that use Telemark Lodge (Fat Tire for example) currently and potential events that can come to the area (IPC World Cup for example). A successful Telemark Resort also translates to more jobs, increased tourism in the area and more traffic for local businesses. It’s not just a win-win partnership between Telemark Resort and the Birkie, but a big win for area, businesses and the residents.

Telemark is amenable to any or all of the following solutions:
– Allowing guaranteed easements to all existing trails on Telemark property for the weeks of Birkie, Birkie Tour, Birkie Trail Run and future events as necessary.
– Providing Birkie Trail access to the public 365 days of the year with no fees.
– Offering similar easements on other Telemark lands for construction of an alternate start area closer to Telemark resort, and new trail to connect to the existing Birkie and/or Classic trails.
– Offering permission and support to continue improvement and redesign of trails across Telemark property.
– Telemark to construct a heated expo center, (possibly old Coliseum pad or Hytte location) which could greatly increase Telemark’s ability to handle Birkie Expo, Registration, bib pickup and more in addition to the 25,000 sq. ft of meeting space currently available at Telemark.
– Offering Birkie land options to construct maintenance/storage building(s) in close proximity of Telemark Resort and/or Birkie trails.
– Providing office, secretariat and headquarter space during events or year round at no charge.
– Provide a permanent space for a Birkie museum at no charge to preserve history and legacy of the events.
– Providing additional parking space for participants which will help for the growth of the event and actively work with The Birkie in finding solutions to traffic congestion, bussing routes and reducing skiers walk distances.

Telemark is proposing the Birkie to agree to the following:
– Staging of the Birkie, Korte, Haakon start, the Birkie Expo, registration, Bib pick-up to be returned to Telemark Resort.
– Finish for the Korteloppet, Haakon, Birkie Trail Run and Birkie Tour to remain at Telemark.
– Lease the new expo center for the week of the Birkie and/or other Birkie events for a 10 year renewable term.
– Provide Telemark Resort reasonable marketing access to Birkie participant database for promotions and non-competing events.
– Annual event usage fee for Telemark Resort to remain the same.

In summary, Telemark feels it is important to create a solution that is good for the community as a whole. With the right approach along the lines of what is detailed above, the ski community and the Bayfield County businesses and residents will benefit and the legacy of the Birkie being located at Telemark will be preserved.

Worldloppet & FIS Marathon Cup Season Wrap – 2012-2013 Events Announced

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March 28, 2012 – It was December 2011 – the first FIS Marathon Cup of the season was drawing closer and only two things were missing in most parts of central Europe: The snow and cold temperatures! Despite Livigno’s (ITA) relatively high altitude in the Alps, only approximately 3km of track could be prepared in the valley – not nearly enough for a 42km FIS Marathon Cup.

Therefore, the first competition had to be cancelled and 2011 ended without a FIS Marathon Cup, but with the beginning of 2012, things got into full swing.

Jizerská Padesatka
Even though the temperatures were not as cold as they could have been, enough snow was on the ground for the 50km Jizerská Padesatka race in classic style – and more came from above during the race, which made the conditions not the easiest one for racers, spectators and organisers alike. However, the first FIS Marathon Cup of the season 2011/12 was finally held and the athletes on the podium would be seen there many more times during the season. Surely, Stanislav Rezac (CZE) laid the foundation of his victory in the overall FIS Marathon Cup with this first place on home soil. Behind him, Jimmie Johnsson (SWE) and Joergen Aukland (NOR) completed the podium. On the women’s side it was Sara Svendsen who could gain the victory in front of Tatiana Manimaa (EST) and Jenny Hansson (SWE).

Dolomitenlauf
One week break and the FIS Marathon Cup really took of with no more free weekend for the following eight weeks! A hard programme for the athletes if they wanted to race each race, however, several decided to concentrate on certain races instead. The first of the eight competitions was the Dolomitenlauf (AUT), which was held, once again due to lack of snow in the valley, in Obertilliach, close to the boarder to Italy.

Perfect sunshine, relatively warm temperatures and difficult waxing conditions awaited the athletes for this first race in skating technique. As the, now shortened to 42km, track was partly running through the shade partly under the warm sun, it was really challenging to find the correct wax in order to be fast in all parts. It was the Italian Fabio Santus, who seemed to have had the best skis, however it was only a glimpse of the eye that parted him from the second Aliaksei Ivanou (BLR), who was followed by the German Tim Tscharnke, who was ordered “a fast long distance training session” by his coach and was therefore inscribed to the Dolomitenlauf. On the women’s side, it was Valentina Shevchenko (UKR) who won in front of Seraina Boner (SUI), who, at this moment, still had to fight with her back, and another Swiss, Seraina Gasparin, who missed the Mass Start at the Biathlon World Cup in Anterselva (ITA) and who therefore thought to take the opportunity to participate in a long distance race.

Marcialonga
One week later, it was time for the traditional and famous Marcialonga in Val di Fiemme, the host of the 2013 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Joergen Aukland (NOR), the winner of this prestigious 70km race in classic technique, showed, what is sometimes possible, even if you are still almost a minute behind the leaders after km 40!!! His brother Anders couldn’t resist his hard fighting brother in the end and finished second in front of Stanislav Rezac (CZE). On the women’s side it was the start for the first of several “Team Exspirit” podiums. Susanny Nyström (SWE) won in front of her team mates Jenny Hansson (SWE) and Seraina Boner (SUI).

König-Ludwig-Lauf
One week later, at the König-Ludwig-Lauf, cold temperatures had come over Middle-Europe and also had this 50km race, which passes the famous castle Linderhof (built by the Bavarian king Ludwig II between 1869 and 1886), firmly in the hand that even the perfect sunshine did not help much to heaten up the athletes during the race. In this “Bavarian frost chamber”, it was Stanislav Rezac (CZE) who resisted not only the cold but also his adversaries, Jerry Ahrlin (SWE) and Joergen Aukland (NOR) who became second and third. For the ladies, the podium was the same as in the Marcialonga: Nyström (SWE) in front of Hansson (SWE) and Boner (SUI).

La Transjurassienne
The weekend after, it was still cold, but it was not the cold which let the racers suffer but the strong wind which made the organisers of the 76km skating race La Transjurassienne decide to cut the part into Switzerland since it was the part where the wind blew the hardest….some athletes even described skiing towards Bois d’Amont as to think that they stood still even though they knew they were moving. With a bid smile on his face and later with a big bell around his neck, it was Alikasei Ivanou (BLR) who won this, despite the strong wind, wonderful race through the French Jura Mountains in front of Sergio Bonaldi (ITA) and Martin Koukal (CZE). On the women’s side it was Valentina Shevchenko (UKR) who won in a very impressive manner the race over 54km, with over 6 minutes advantage over Stephanie Santer (ITA) and Tatiana Manimaa (EST).

Tartu Maraton
The week after, it was time to head up North, to Tartu and the 63km long Tartu Maraton, skied in classic technique. Only two weeks away from the legendary Vasaloppet – the main goal of the season for a lot of racers, it was Jörgen Brink who showed that he got in form for the big event. The Swede won in front of Daniel Richardsson (SWE), who had just come to Tartu the night before the race, after a long voyage from the Cross Country World Cup in Sklarska Poreba (POL), and Jimmie Johnsson (SWE). On the girl’s side, for the third time in this winter, it was the same Podium: Susanne Nyström (SWE) wins in front of Jenny Hansson (SWE) and Seraina Boner (SUI).

Finlandia Hiihto
Further up North, it was time for the 50km Finlandia Hiihto (classic technique), which was, very surprisingly – also for himself – won by Martin Koukal (CZE), who is more known to be a specialist in the skating technique. In an impressive finish he put the two Italians Sergio Bonaldi and Marco Cattaneo to the places two and three. On the women’s side it was Valentina Shevchenko (UKR) who showed that she is also fast in classic races. Tatiana Manimaa (EST) got second and Stephanie Santer (ITA) third.

Vasaloppet
Then, it was time for the world famous Vasaloppet. Petter Northug Jr. should have started but did not due to sickness. However, it seemed that the appearance of the sister and brother of the Duchess of Cambridge, Pippa and James Middleton, made more headlines than the actual winner of the 88th edition of this famous 90km long race in classic technique. However, it was Jörgen Brink (SWE), who could win this prestigious event – and that already for the third consecutive time and this year in a new record time!!! In an
incredible finish sprint he could claim the victory in front of Daniel Tynell (SWE) and Stanislav Rezac (CZE).

Engadin Skimarathon
Only one week later, the FIS Marathon Cup got back to central Europe for its last skating race – the Engadin Skimarathon! Great conditions made the track very fast that the organisers already thought about a new record time, but the athletes decided against. However, it was the young Swiss Roman Furger who could put himself in front of Curdin Perl (SUI), who had arrived during the night before the race, directly from the Cross Country World Cup in Oslo (NOR). Third on the podium was, after an impressive finish sprint, the Italian Cristian Zorzi. On the women’s side, it was the French World Cup racer Anouk Faivre-Pikon, who claimed the victory in front of Seraina Boner (SUI) and Natascia Leonardi Cortesi (SUI).

Birkebeinerrennet
Hosting the final of the FIS Marathon Cup, the traditional Birkebeinerrennet with its special rule that each racer has to carry a 3.5kg backpack filled with certain things, remembering the baby Haakon Haakonsen, the future king of Norway, which was rescued by two Birkebeiner men on skis from those who wanted to kill him. This year, it was Anders Aukland (NOR) who could win this last stop of the FIS Marathon Cup, in front of two fellow countrymen: Roger Aa Djupvik and Espen Harald Bjerke.

After 10 races, three in skating technique and seven in classic style, the season 2011/12 is concluded. The winner of the overall FIS Marathon Cup on the men’s side was certain already for some time before the final, however, on the women’s side, the fight went on until the very last race. Stanislav Rezac (CZE) secured the victory on the men’s side with 405 points whereas Stephanie Santer (ITA) could claim the victory in her first FIS Marathon Cup season with 511 points!

Worldloppet: its Races and the 2011/12 Season
However, the Worldloppet winter 2011/12 did not only consist of FIS Marathon Cup races! Many of the places where a FIS Marathon Cup race took place held also other races, shorter ones or in a different technique, which belong to the Worldloppet circuit and for which Worldloppet passport holders can get a stamp in order to become a “Master” after ten fulfilled races – ten different of course and one in each continent of course! However, there are four races which do not have FIS Marathon Cup races and these are The
Kangaroo Hoppet (AUS), which takes place in August as it is winter in Australia at that time, the Gatineau Loppet in Canada which is followed by the American Birkebeiner (USA) – a race which will become a FIS Marathon Cup race next season! Last but not least, it’s the Bieg Piastow, which is, as the three others, a member of the Worldloppet circuit!

All Worldloppet races could be held in great conditions and growing numbers of participants in each race, anywhere in the world, shows the trend of the last years. Healthy living, including not only healthy food but also outdoor activities, is more popular as ever before and brings more and more people onto the skis. High numbers of older participants also show that this kind of life makes you also fit up into high age and is equally a huge motivation for others to join in in the world of marathon skiing!

2012/13 FIS Marathon Cup Calendar
– 16.12.12 – LA SGAMBEDA – 42km FT
– 13.01.13 – JIZERSKÁ PADESATKA – 50km CT
– 20.01.13 – DOLOMITENLAUF – 60km FT
– 27.01.13 – MARCIALONGA – 70km CT
– 03.02.13 – KÖNIG LUDWIG LAUF – 50km CT
– 10.02.13 – LA TRANSJURASSIENE – 76km FT
– 17.02.13 – TARTU MARATON – 63km CT
– 23.02.13 – AMERICAN BIRKEBEINER – 50km FT
– 10.03.13 – ENGADIN SKIMARATHON – 42km FT

News from Worldloppet & the World of Marathon Skiing
Not only the numbers of participants in Worldloppet races is growing but also the number of races in the world. And they all would like to become a part of Worldloppet and the world of marathon skiing. Worldloppet is of course very happy about this development, as it shows that the continuous work around the world of marathon skiing is paying off.

The following races have announced their interest: Svalbard (Spitsbergen) Marathon (NOR), Fossavatn (ISL), Marca Beret (ESP), Marca Blanka (ARG) and the Arctic Circle Race (GRL).

The executive board of the Worldloppet had come together in Rybinsk (RUS) on the occasion to visit the Demino Skimarathon (March 18), taking place on the Cross Country World Cup venue, which also has announced its wish to become a member of the Worldloppet family. The calendar for the next season was discussed and finalised for the FIS Marathon Cup. The next meeting will be the AGM (Annual General Meeting) held in Tartu (EST) in June where not only the next season but also other important steps for Worldloppet and the world of marathon skiing will be discussed and be voted for.

Exact numbers of passport holder (new & old) will be given out later this spring as many applications are still coming in April. Detailed information on the participant rates of each race and in total will be distributed at the same time.

Important Dates & Information
– Next Worldloppet race: August 25, Kangaroo Hoppet (AUS), 42km skating technique
– Worldloppet AGM: June 14-17, Tartu (EST)
More information: www.worldloppet.com
Visit also the official Worldlooppet Facebook Page HERE.

BirkieGuide.com Releases 2012 Data

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March 27, 2012 – I’ve again assembled the data from the Big Race out in Wisconsin in to a bunch of nerdy-but-interesting data on BirkieGuide.com. Feel free to share it around. After a couple too many nights not getting to bed on time, I’ve finally gotten the ducks in order (I hope) and launched everything on to the statistics site. So if you are bemoaning the early spring and want to launch yourself deep in to mostly meaningless statistical “analyses” from the race, by all means, go ahead and do so.

Let us know if there’s anything else you’d like to see. I can make no guarantees — it’s time to spend my evenings doing something more productive, like training and core — but if you have an interesting idea, have at it.

A couple of highlights:
– Most of the data is back from last year, and most of it in an easier-to-navigate fashion
– We did some comparisons with last year

New data include:
– split time correlations
– a really interesting page showing that top skiers ski at a much steadier relative pace than everyone else (my favorite new data)
– information correlating weather conditions and Birkie sign-ups (it also has MSP snowfall data back to 1900)
– And a whole lot more…

You can find all of it at HERE and of course find the homepage at www.birkieguide.com.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2011/12 Contest Final Standings and Winners Announced

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March 26, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to announce the winners and final standings for the inaugural SkiTrax Fantasy FIS Marathon Cup 2011/12 International Contest after an exciting marathon season that wrapped up with the 54km CL Birkebeinerrennet in Norway on March 17.

Team marko16 finishes in first place with 976 points and takes home the 1st Prize – a OneWay package including Premio 10 WCup Skis, Diamond Storm Premio 10 Poles, and SNS Premio Pilot Bindings. (value $1,350). The maximum number of points after the Birkebeinerrennet is 1,092 points.

Second prize goes to Team bondin from France winning a fabulous Nipika 4-night package for 2 people in a luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160). Finally team Sampo from Minnesota won the third prize, a pair of Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449).

Congratulations to all winners and thank you to the many teams from around the world for participating in the inaugural SkiTrax Fantasy FIS Marathon Cup 2011/12 International Contest.

We’d also like to thanks to all of our great sponsors, including One Way, Nipika, Alpina, Halti, Fischer, Cross Country Canada, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Auclair, and Buff.

For the final full contest standings after the Birkebeinerrennet click HERE.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Winners

– marko16 – Marko Liiva – Otepaa, Estonia
1st Prize – OneWay Premio 10 WCup Skis, Diamond Storm Premio 10 Poles, SNS Premio Pilot Bindings. (value $1,350)

– bondin – Alex Moiroud – Montalieu, France
2nd Prize – Nipika 4-nights for 2 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)

– Sampo – Jonathan Rova – Grand Marais, MN
3rd Prize – Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449)

– demino worldloppet – Dmitry Artamonov – Moscow, Russian Federation
4th Prize -Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)

– Jetlow – Justin Tetlow – Washington, DC
5th Prize –  Fischer RCS QF poles  (value $225)

– littlebig – Nadine Moiroud – Montalieu, France
6th Prize – Cross Country Canada e-Store Gift Certificate (value $200)

– Team Northug – Antoine Briand – Sept-Iles , QC
7th Prize – Fresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)

– rgsnow – Guillaume Ruet – Fleurie, France
8th Prize – Rottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $120)

– Alberta Gold – Darrell Goldsack – Red Deer, AB
9th Prize – Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)

– anty ski – Andri Milov – Pärnu Estonia
10th Prize – Buff Headware (value $40)

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

 

Norwegian Birkebeiner Success with New Atomic Technology

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March 19, 2012 (Norway) – A new course record was set this weekend at the highly prestigious Norwegian Birkebeiner. Anders Aukland of Norway skied the hilly 54km course with a winning time of 2:21:26. Norwegians swept the Men’s podium with Roger Aa Djupvik in second and Espen Harald Bjerke in third. Switzerland took first for the women’s event with Seraina Boner winning in 2:46:54 followed by Stepanie Santer of Italy in second and Jenny Hanson of Sweden in third.

The Aukland brothers, Anders and Joergen, have been extremely successful this year in Europe’s top classic Marathons. A key component of that success has been training specifically for long distance classic events. Year round, their training has been aimed at endurance over speed with an emphasis on classic.

The Aukland brothers have also learned how to take advantage of their new Atomic’s SDS technology. This was especially evident at the Birkebeiner. Anders calmly skied with the main pack on the flats and casually double poled as the other athletes had to push themselves to maintain the pace. The highly elastic inserts in the kick zone of the new Atomic Classics allow the grip wax to ride well above the snow even though the ski has a low camber height.

When the pack reached the hills toward the end of the Birkebeiner, a well rested Anders dropped the other skiers and climbed the hills with a tempo they could not match. The same inserts that keep the kick wax well above the snow during glide easily compress as soon as just a little downward force is applied during the kick. Anders and the other Atomic athletes have found that the best strategy for them is to go easy and glide with the pack in the flats and then take advantage of how the ski climbs and drop the rest of the guys in the ascents. It has continuously paid off this year at the long classic events.

The Norwegian Birkebeiner is always limited to a field of 16,000 skiers. Entries were sold out in 18 minutes this year. It is always classic only and the Birkebeiner is one of the most technical of all the Worldloppet courses. Victory here is considered the most prestigious test for classic equipment.

Results and race report HERE.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2011/12 Contest Standings after Vasaloppet

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March 10, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to announce the standings for the SkiTrax Fantasy FIS Marathon Cup 2011/12 International Contest after the the 90km Classic Vasaloppet in Sweden. The inaugural FIS Marathon Cup contest continues to be exciting – it’s still anyone’s contest to win!

The top three positions remained the same, with Team marko16 defending first spot with 693 points, while bondin maintained second at 668 points. Team Sampo trails in third spot with 647 points. Note the maximum number of available points after the Vasaloppet is 798 points. The next race is the penultimate race in the series, the 42km FR Engadin Skimarathon in Switzerland on March 11th.

View the full contest standings after Vasaloppet HERE.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Prizes

* 1st Prize OneWay Premio 10 WCup Skis, Diamond Storm Premio 10 Poles, SNS Premio Pilot Bindings. (value $1,350)
* 2nd PrizeNipika 4-nights for 2 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)
* 3rd Prize
Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449)
* 4th Prize Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)
* 5th Prize  Fischer RCS QF poles  (value $225)
* 6th PrizeCross Country Canada e-Store Gift Certificate (value $200)
* 7th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)
* 8th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $120)
* 9th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* 10th PrizeBuff Headware (value $40)

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including One Way, Nipika, Alpina, Halti, Fischer, Cross Country Canada, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2011/12 Contest Standings after Finlandia Hiihto

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March 06, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – We are excited to announce the standings for the SkiTrax Fantasy FIS Marathon Cup 2011/12 International Contest after the the 50km Classic Finlandia Hiito in Finland and apologize for the delay. The inaugural FIS Marathon Cup contest continues to be thrilling as the top teams change weekly – it’s still anyone’s contest to win!

Team marko16 has jumped into first spot with 598 points, with bondin in second and only 11 points back (587). Team Sampo trails by another 10 points for third spot with 577. Note the maximum number of available points after Finlandia Hiihto is 710 points.

View the full contest standings after Finlandia Hiito HERE.

Note: We discovered errors in the standings after Tartu Maraton and have since corrected them with apologies. Pls view the corrected contest standings HERE.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Prizes

* 1st Prize OneWay Premio 10 WCup Skis, Diamond Storm Premio 10 Poles, SNS Premio Pilot Bindings. (value $1,350)
* 2nd PrizeNipika 4-nights for 2 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)
* 3rd Prize
Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449)
* 4th Prize Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)
* 5th Prize  Fischer RCS QF poles  (value $225)
* 6th PrizeCross Country Canada e-Store Gift Certificate (value $200)
* 7th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)
* 8th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $120)
* 9th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* 10th PrizeBuff Headware (value $40)

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including One Way, Nipika, Alpina, Halti, Fischer, Cross Country Canada, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

FIS Marathon Cup News – Brink, Skofterud Victorious at 88th Vasaloppet

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March 05, 2012 – Perfect conditions made this year’s Vasaloppet the fastest ever! Jörgen Brink from Sweden, won the Vasaloppet, for the third consecutive time and broke the record by19s, which is therefore now 3:38.41! By breaking the record, Brink got himself a brand new Volkswagen! Brink finished first in a fantastic sprint, which left four skiers to wait for the photo finish to decide who gained the famous victory this year. Then it was clear, Brink was once again the number one. Behind him, Daniel Tynell (SWE), who has won the Vasaloppet twice, took second, and Stanislav Rezac (CZE) the leader of the overall FIS Marathon Cup, grabbed third place.

However, for a long time it looked as if the winner would be Joergen Aukland (NOR), who got away from the pack around 15km before the finish, but the ones left behind worked well together and caught the Norwegian soon after his attempt to break away. In the end, the younger one of the two Aukland brothers starting in the Vasaloppet today, got only 10th – 14s behind Brink.

On the women’s side, it was was a bit less spectacular at the finish. Vibeke Skofterud, who already holds several Olympic and World Championship medals with the Norwegian National Team, claimed the victory in her first ever start in the Vasaloppet. Behind her, it was a another Norwegian, who took second place: Young Laila Kveli skied a fantastic race and finished ahead of Seraina Boner of Switzerland. Early in the race, it didn’t appear to be Skofterud’s day, as the Norwegian lost one of her poles. Thinking the race was already over for her after that, she still felt good and just went for it – a move which definitely paid off. Especially as she also broke the old record time which also made her the owner of a new Volkswagen car! The new record time for the women is now at 4:08.24.

Blue sky, temperatures around -10 at the start, and only a slight breeze awaited the over 14,000 skiers who started the 90km in classic style. The most traditional and world renowned Vasaloppet not only welcomed elite athletes, but also such personalities as His Royal Highness, Frederik, Prince of Denmark and the sister and the brother of the Duchess of Cambridge, Pippa and James Middleton. Cesar Baena, who already competed for this country Venezuela in the Nordic World Ski Championships, was equally on the start and finished the race in just over 6 hours.

Rezac Still Leads Overall Men’s FIS Marathon Cup, Nyström New Women’s Leader
Stanislav Rezac (CZE) is now leading the overall FIS Marathon Cup with 405 points in front of Joergen Aukland (NOR, 282 points) and Jimmie Johnsson (SWE, 275 points).

Susanne Nyström (SWE), fifth today, still received enough points to regain the leader’s bib from Stephanie Santer (ITA), who didn’t ski the Vasaloppet. Nyström now leads the overall with 410 points ahead of team mate Jenny Hansson (SWE, 382 points) and Santer (381 points).

The next FIS Marathon Cup race will be the Engadin Skimarathon (SUI), 42km skating technique, on March 11.

Elite Results HERE.
Full Results HERE.

Comments from the Top Three

Jörgen Brink (SWE):
I felt good all the way, my plan was to get a good position and keep it. With only a few kilometers left I felt that I still had power left in my arms and the goal was to be the first on the home-stretch. It was a hard fight in the end and the more am I happy that I was able to secure the victory! Especially, as it is already my third consecutive win!! It’s absolutely fantastic!!! Sure, I prepared this race very well, but you never know what will come, therefore I am really satisfied!

Daniel Tynell (SWE):
Two years ago it felt like I was losing the first place, this year it felt like I won a second place. It feels so good to be back and I am really satisfied with my race today. It was a hard fight in the end and I am happy that I was able to gain this second place!

Stanislav Rezac (CZE):
Next year, I am going to win! :-)

Vibeke Skofterud (NOR):
It was a great feeling to win and I’m going to take it with me for sure! Well, it’s simply amazing! I lost a pole right at the beginning of the race and Jenny Hansson passed me with such a speed that I thought that the race was over for me! However, I felt very good and therefore I just tried to go for it and to enjoy the race which I did. It’s just fantastic that it then even worked out for the victory!!!

Laila Kveli (NOR):
It’s for sure one of the goals of the season to be good in the Vasaloppet and if you then really are, it’s just great! I am really happy and very satisfied with my second place! It’s just amazing! My best race so far in the FIS Marathon Cup so far this season and that in the Vasaloppet – that’s just great!

Seraina Boner (SUI):
I am really happy with my third place. The Vasaloppet is a very special race and you prepare especially for it, however, you never know if it will work as you wish. Therefore I am really satisfied with my race today. The track was very fast and I really enjoyed skiing.

More photos from the race HERE.

FIS Marathon Cup News: Finlandia Hiihto 50k Classic – Koukal and Shevchenko Win

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March 01, 2012 – (Lahti, Finland) – Normally, the skating technique is his favourite one and he would never declare himself a classic specialist, however, it was in a classic style race, that he won his first FIS Marathon Cup: Martin Koukal (CZE), World Champion from 2003 over 50km skating, crowned himself winner of the Finlandia Hiihto which is also 50km long but is skied in classic technique. The two Italians Sergio Bonaldi, who had already been second in the skating race La Transjurassienne two weeks ago, and Marco Cattaneo, placed second and third, battling had in order to leave their team mate Florian Kostner on the fourth spot.

The big favourite of today’s race, the leader of the FIS Marathon Cup, Stanislav Rezac, like Koukal from the Czech Republic, couldn’t place better than fifth. Like at the Dolomitenlauf or at La Transjurassienne, Team Skinfit Racing took its chances in the absence of the Norwegian and Swedish classic specialists and secured the top podium place in both races: With Koukal on the men’s side and with Valentina Shevchenko (UKR) on the women’s one! The Ukrainian once again knew only one thing: that she was skiing lightning-quick! She left Tatiana Manimaa (EST) and Stephanie Santer (ITA) to get second and third. Once again, the very hilly terrain of the Finlandia Hiihto helped Shevchenko to play her card, pushing hard on the uphills but enjoying racing at the same time.

With temperatures hovering around -3°C during the race, only a light breeze and no snowfall, made for perfect conditions. Over 3,000 racers took to the start in Lahti this morning, ready to explore the track to Hollola and back to Lahti.

Rezac Continues to Lead overall FIS Marathon Cup, Santer is New Women’s Leader
No changes in the men’s ranking of the overall FIS Marathon Cup: Stanislav Rezac (CZE) leads now with 345 points in front of Joergen Aukland (NOR, 256 points) and Jimmie Johnsson (SWE, 235 points). On the women’s side the leader bib goes back to Stephanie Santer (ITA) who leads now with 381 points in front of Susanne Nyström (SWE, 365 points) and Jenny Hansson (SWE, 332 points).

Elite Results HERE.
Full results HERE.

The next FIS Marathon Cup race will be the Vasaloppet (SWE), 90km classic, on March 4.

Comments from the top three:

Martin Koukal (CZE):
It’s amazing! My first FIS Marathon Cup victory and it’s in classic technique! In the beginning of the season, I had a lot of self confidence but I got back to earth right after the first couple of races and changed my goals for the season. So I am more than satisfied now with this result. I had great skis throughout the whole race, but especially in the end.

We spent almost a week here after the Tartu Maraton and I got to know almost the whole track of the Finlandia, therefore I knew that it would be possible to go without wax and do just double polling. The last kilometres were a fight, the last steep uphills were very painful, but I knew that I had to survive these kilometres if I wanted to be in front for the finish. It worked all fine and I could even choose the line for the finish when we came to down into the stadium. I will now rest a bit at home and prepare the Engadin Marathon. It doesn’t look too bad for me now in the overall FIS Marathon Cup, so that’s the focus now for me for the rest of the season!

Sergio Bonaldi (ITA):
I am very happy with my second place! A top 6 position today would have been great so I am even more satisfied with this podium! I didn’t have any wax so I was double polling the whole way which was a good decision I think. We were five guys in the last kilometres but suddenly there was a Finnish athlete coming to us, so we were six for three podium places. I tried to get in front before we came into the stadium in order to fight for the first spots. This worked out fine and I could finish second!

Marco Cattaneo (ITA):
I had hoped for the podium today, that’s for sure! I didn’t have a great season so far and this podium is really a satisfaction for me! We were five guys who went together but were caught by the following ones for several times before we could really go during the last kilometres. I hoped for the finish sprint and I am really happy that I could secure the third place.

Valentina Shevchenko (UKR):
I am really satisfied and happy. I had perfect skis – a big thank you to my service man!!! I only had one tactic and that was “just go”! I didn’t see any other of the girls but I got the info from our service crew how much of a gap it was between me and them so I could control the race very well. I really liked the track…it’s pretty hilly and that’s what’s good for me. Mostly I went with some other men, but also alone some time. This victory and my place in the overall FIS Marathon Cup is very important for me and the team this year. I won’t go to the Vasaloppet but will prepare the Engadin Marathon and hope to play a role again there.

Tatiana Manimaa (EST):
I knew from the beginning, that Valentina will be the winner today. However, I tried to give my best and I am very happy that I could finish second! I had great skis and I really enjoyed racing today. I will now go back home to ski a 38km race tomorrow in Estonia. It was my first time to race the Finlandia today and I really liked it so I think it won’t have been the last!

Stephanie Santer (ITA):
I am satisfied with the third place – but even more, to have the leader bib of the overall FIS Marathon Cup back! Valentina just took off right away and I only saw her once again at around 10km. I didn’t see Tatiana so I was just focusing on myself, skiing along with elderly Finnish men, which was pretty funny as the were really racing for some two kilometres, but were then suddenly “stopping” before taking off again. So I went kind of from group to group until the finish. I am happy to have been able to secure the podium.

Let’s see which race is next… but normally I plan to skip the Vasaloppet and race again in the Engadin
Marathon.

Photos from the race HERE.

More information on the race HERE.

American Birkie Comments from Elliott, Brooks, Liebsch and Gregg + PHOTOS

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February 29, 2012 – SkiTrax caught up with the top men’s and women’s finishers after the biggest XC ski marathon in the U.S. – the American Birkebeiner in Cable, WI. Read race recaps from 50k FR winners Tad Elliott and Holly Brooks, as well as comments from runners-up Matt Liebsch and Caitlin Gregg.

Full results HERE.

Tad Elliott – 50km FR Men’s Winner
I was looking for a marathon to participate in on the weekend when the World Cup took a break and noticed that the American Birkie was the same weekend. It has been a dream of mine to win the Birkie but I was a little nervous about the travel back and forth from Europe. I asked my Dad what he thought and he was nervous about the travel as well saying it might be best to stay in Europe.

I asked my Mom what she thought about the travel and the Birkie. She got really excited and said that I should do it and make it happen. She raced the Kortelopet a few years ago and loved the atmosphere and racing in Wisconsin. Right then I knew I would be making the travel to WI.

I emailed Salomon asking if they could help me out getting to the Birkie and taking care of me while I was there. They booked my ticket, hotel room, entrance, and made sure I had transportation. The Salomon staff are my friends and also my support staff. Without the help of Bill Sterling, Josh Korn, Andy Gerlach, and Pete Zeller, I would not have been able to do as well as I did.

Zach Caldwell even came out to wax my skis for the race. He chooses all of my skis with Salomon and puts race grinds on them. The amount of testing and work he put into my skis for the Birkie was amazing. Without Zach, my results would not have been what they were. The overall support was absolutely incredible. I felt like it was a team effort for me to win, a lot of people worked very hard so I could have this opportunity. My dream came true.

The race itself was awesome. Huge thanks to the groomers who made the course a blast to ski on after all of the new snow. At the start, my track came together with another track and Morten Petterson and I were going to get pretty well acquainted – he slowed and let me in – classy guy. We laughed and the race was on.

My skis felt a little slow at first in the new cold snow. Once I hit “OO” [about the 1/2 way point] where Zach had tested my skis at 5 a.m. they sped up significantly. I could tell that had the best skis in the field – right when I needed them. A French skier and Nish [Graham Nishikawa] were off the front with a 1:07 lead at one point. I was stressed that we would not be able to bring it back. Matt Liebsch kept me in line and said that together we could bring it back, but not before 33km. True to his word, at 33km Matt and I worked together to bring them back.

After that, the paced slowed a little and I attacked with 11km to go and was able to get a gap alone. From then on I was committed to the finish. Across the lake, I kept looking back thinking that I would be caught with only 500 meters left in the race. Once I hit the wiskers in the finishing lanes and looked back, I knew I had won.

I celebrated pretty hard and was extremely happy. It was the perfect day for me. I was so pumped and I’m still stoked. At the finish I borrowed a stranger’s phone to call my parents. I don’t think I’ve heard my mom that excited in a while. She was really pleased.

The best moment of the day for me though was sharing the podium with two other Americans who are also my friends. I have stayed at both of their houses in the last month while training and racing. Just a rad experience all around.

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Holly Brooks – 50km FR Women’s Winner
Today was awesome – I really couldn’t have wished for a better day. Just last week I remember hearing the race was “on the rocks” and amazingly, the conditions today were PERFECT. The temperature, the snow, the grooming. Heck, the sunshine even came out for the race finish – and of course the great spectators!

As for the race itself, there was a large group of women that skied together until “OO” – myself, Caitlin [Gregg], Nicole Deyong, Rebecca Dussault, and a Russian skier were taking turns at the front. Shortly thereafter I was taking a feed and Caitlin made a decisive move, weaving through skiers from the men’s elite wave.

I wanted to finish my GU so she lost me for a bit and I had to work to reel her back in. In the process, we gapped the rest of the girls. When I realized that we had a lead on the others, I told her and said that we should work together to make sure they didn’t catch us.  So we traded leads, pulling each other towards Hayward. It was a blast skiing the race with Caitlin – she’s a good friend and a great skater. Now we’ve each won the Birkie once!

I was leading off the lake and made the 90 degree corner onto Main Street… I had been in this situation before in 2009, only to be caught by Rebecca D at the line (2nd by an inch!). This year, I definitely had a flashback to the race three years ago, and I was determined to NOT lose the sprint!

I took the sprint by a hair but made sure to not “pull a Morilov” and celebrate before fully crossing the finish line!  Funny thing was that both my husband Rob, and Caitlin’s husband Brian, were waiting at the finish line to see who’s wife would win! Brian had a great race as well, landing third on the podium – a good day for the Gregg family!

All in all, I’m really glad that I made the trip out here to race the Birkie and I’m ecstatic that I can “check this off the list” after three years of jokes about my boot being too small or the fact that I shouldn’t have clipped my toenails that day!

Check out the Anchorage Daily News for a great story on the race.

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Matt Liebsch – 50km FR Second
This was an amazing Birkie and I was so happy that I got to be on the podium with two of my best training partners and friends. There was great depth and it was a very competitive field this year at the Birkie.

I broke a pole this time at a very in-opportune time in the race. I knew we were getting to the point where moves were going to be made. Tad [Elliott] went off the front followed by Brian Gregg. I tried to get into the 3rd spot and put my pole between Lars [Flora] and myself and we both fell. Santiago Ocariz saw what happened and took his pole off and gave it to me. With that I was able to get back into the race.

The Birkie course was wonderful and it’s always a race where I strive to have one of my best results in. I want to thank all the volunteers, board members and people who work so hard to make this an amazing event. This year’s Birkie will be one of my most memorable!

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Caitlin Gregg – 50km FR Second (defending champ)
The Birkie race was fantastic! It was a great way for me to test my fitness. The pace in the women’s race was very very slow for the first 30km. I was feeling great and only a few of the ladies were taking turns at the front so I decided to make a run for it. Holly [Brooks] was the only skier that followed and soon we were a few minutes off the front.

Holly and I worked together and maintained our gap until Main Street. The final sprint was awesome and we both skied our heart’s out. In the end Holly got me by 0.4 of a second. It was very close but also a ton of fun! Holly has been racing very well on the World Cup circuit and it was great to be able to ski with her so much during the race.

After the race I realized I had four bridesmaids in the Birkie this year and two were on the podium! The whole weekend of events was incredible and I am so happy that I get to share the Birkie experience with so many family members and close friends!

West Yellowstone 33rd Annual Rendezvous Race / Youth Ski Festival – Mar. 3-4

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February 22, 2012 (West Yellowstone, MT) – Snow is falling in West Yellowstone, Montana, and skiers of all ages are invited to participate in the 33rd annual Yellowstone Rendezvous Race on March 3, 2012. Race organizers have been busy marking the course and making final preparations for the event. The skiing has been great all winter.

Part of the American Ski Marathon Series, the Yellowstone Rendezvous Race is a cornerstone of cross-country skiing in West Yellowstone. Join hundreds of ski enthusiasts in this historic race. This year the race is proud to once again have Yellowstone National Park Lodges as its corporate sponsor. There are six different race divisions offered for skiers of all ages. Marathoners can enter the 50 kilometer freestyle race, which consists of two laps around the perimeter of the Rendezvous Ski Trail system. Racers can enter the 25 kilometer classic or freestyle events, and the 10 kilometer race is a great choice for those preferring a shorter distance. The 5k and 2k races are geared for kids.

Register before February 27th to save on entry. Race registration deadline is Thursday March 1st at 12 noon. Please visit www.rendezvousrace.com for more information, and find us on facebook for the latest updates on the race.

On Sunday, March 4th, the West Yellowstone Ski Education Foundation will host their annual Youth Ski Festival where kids 13 and under can participate in a variety of ski games including relays, musical chairs and more! Bring the family and experience winter this year. Day-of registration. Please visit www.rendezvousskitrials.com for more information.

Classic Focus at American Birkie Demo

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February 21, 2012 (Cable, WI) – There has been a worldwide surge in classic racing the last two years.  Major marathons, such as the American Birkebeiner, used to focus on skating with classic receiving a secondary status.  That status is undergoing a major change at Marathons throughout the world.  Skiers are discovering the joy of classic and Marathons with both techniques are witnessing parity in numbers.  The end result of this growth is that manufacturers are putting extensive R & D into classic gear at an unprecedented level.  Arrive at the Telemark Lodge in Cable, Wisconsin this Friday, February 24, and you will have the opportunity to test some major innovations in classic gear.

The most innovative classic product you will get to test is Atomic’s new Worldcup Classic SDS. With the help of the Aukland brothers from Norway and Denise Herrmann of Germany, Atomic’s new classic ski has taken Gold, Silver and Bronze at the primary Marathons this year such as the Konig Ludwig in Germany and the Marcialonga in Italy.  The new technology has a highly elastic ABS insert in the kick zone combined with high rebound graphite laminates. The low-camber kick zone rides well above the snow during glide, but it takes only a little pressure and the kick zone easily comes down for fantastic grip.  Try it on some of Telemark’s famous World Cup trails and you will be taken aback by how fast the ski glides while still providing grip for unequaled climbing.

Atomic has also been highly innovative with its new Worldcup Classic boot.  Nordic race boots may not have the hard outer shell of an alpine boot, but they still have an actual outer shell and inner liner.  Atomic’s new WC Classic boot is unique in that the lacing connects to the outer shell for excellent closure around the foot.

Worldloppet and World Cup athletes have been extremely pleased with the new lacing system.  They have instantly switched to the new boots even when they have received them just days before a major race.  Atomic likes to point out that their boots have won more Olympic and World Championship medals for the US Ski Team than all other brands combined.

Fischer Sports Sponsors Vegard Ulvang’s Participation at the 39th American Birkebeiner

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February 20, 2012 (Auburn, NH) – Fischer Sports, the world’s leading cross country ski manufacturer, today announced it is sponsoring six-time Norwegian Olympic medalist Vegard Ulvang’s participation at the 39th American Birkebeiner. Ulvang, who raced on Fischer skis throughout his exceptionally successful career, will serve as Research Ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society at the Birkie to support fundraising for the organization. Skiers will have the opportunity to meet and ski with Ulvang throughout the three-day event taking place in Hayward, Wis., February 23-25.

“From his race-winning legacy to his leading role today with the International Ski Federation’s cross-country committee, Vegard brings a wealth of experience and passion to Birkie participants and the public alike,” said Peter Ashley, vice president of the Fischer Sports U.S. Nordic Division. “We are excited to support Vegard’s special participation and fundraising efforts at North America’s most popular cross country skiing event.”

Ulvang will be available to skiers and the public through numerous appearances. Highlights include a Fischer poster signing event at the Birkie Expo on Friday, Feb. 24, from 10-11 a.m.; the Birkie Torch Lighting; the Worldloppet breakfast; an appearance at New Moon Ski & Bike; and the Birkie 50K skate race. Ulvang will also host a live presentation titled, “800 Miles to the South Pole … on Skis,” during which he will provide a first-hand account of his recent expedition celebrating the centennial of Amundson’s South Pole expedition in 1911. A complete listing of Ulvang’s appearances is available online HERE.

The Birkie’s popular Ski for the Cure pin will once again be available for $20 at the expo and online at www.wisMS.org. Those wearing the pin on their Birkebeiner or Kortelopet race bib when crossing the finish line will be eligible to win randomly selected prizes, including a pair of Fischer skis autographed by Ulvang.

Vegard Ulvang has a long history of winning on Fischer skis, including three Olympic gold medals at the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, as well as silver and bronze medals at the 1988 and 1994 games. He won the Holmenkollen 50K in 1989, 1991 and 1992, and the World Cup in 1990. Since 2006, Ulvang has served as executive director of the International Ski Federation’s cross-country committee.

The Birkie is North America’s largest cross country ski marathon, with more than 11,000 participants across its events. This year’s fundraising will once again be led by Skiers for Cures in support of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Last year the program raised more than $62,000 for the same organization, bringing the total three-year Skiers for Cures donation to the cause to more than $220,000.

www.fischersports.com

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2011/12 Contest Standings after La Transjurassienne

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February 20, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to announce the standings for the SkiTrax Fantasy FIS Marathon Cup 2011/12 International Contest after the the 76km FT La Transjurassienne in France. The inaugural FIS Marathon Cup contest is proving to be exciting, with leads swapping weekly and no clear leader pulling away. It’s still anyone’s competition! Team legrandbo has assumed the lead with 428 points and is followed by anty ski in second with 418 points. Team Broken Poles is in third place with 399 points. Note the maximum number of available points after La Transjurassienne is 571.

View the full contest standings after La Transjurassienne HERE.

Stay tuned for contest standings after the next event on the FIS Marathon Cup calendar, the 63km Tartu Maraton in Estonia, held this past weekend. And note you may be eligible for bonus points from the Gatineau Loppet held this weekend as well.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Prizes

* 1st Prize OneWay Premio 10 WCup Skis, Diamond Storm Premio 10 Poles, SNS Premio Pilot Bindings. (value $1,350)
* 2nd PrizeNipika 4-nights for 2 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)
* 3rd Prize
Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449)
* 4th Prize Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)
* 5th Prize  Fischer RCS QF poles  (value $225)
* 6th PrizeCross Country Canada e-Store Gift Certificate (value $200)
* 7th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)
* 8th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $120)
* 9th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* 10th PrizeBuff Headware (value $40)

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including One Way, Nipika, Alpina, Halti, Fischer, Cross Country Canada, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2011/12 Tartu Maraton – Team Modification Now OPEN

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February 15, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to announce that team modification is now open for the FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2011/12 Contest – the twist. Contestants can modify their team until Feb. 18 at 10pm EST prior to the 63km CL Tartu Maraton in Estonia on Feb. 19.

Contestants may only swap one of their team’s four main skiers – either male or female – not their Outlaw Skier. All points earned to date by the skier that’s out are retained, and only points earned by the new skier from Feb. 18 going forward will be counted.

Note: you only have one chance to make the swap – once completed you will not be able to change your selection so please be sure of your choice before making the change.

To swap a skier on your team, click HERE.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Prizes

* 1st Prize OneWay Premio 10 WCup Skis, Diamond Storm Premio 10 Poles, SNS Premio Pilot Bindings. (value $1,350)
* 2nd PrizeNipika 4-nights for 2 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)
* 3rd Prize
Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449)
* 4th Prize Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)
* 5th Prize  Fischer RCS QF poles  (value $225)
* 6th PrizeCross Country Canada e-Store Gift Certificate (value $200)
* 7th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)
* 8th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $120)
* 9th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* 10th PrizeBuff Headware (value $40)

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including One Way, Nipika, Alpina, Halti, Fischer, Cross Country Canada, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

City of Lakes Loppet Rocks Despite Snow Woes – Liebsch, Gregg Top Fields

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February 06, 2012 (Minneapolis, MN) – The City of Lakes Loppet on Sunday drew nearly 600 racers, despite an organizer’s nightmare that forced relocation of the event just one week before the date. Because recent snowfall weakened the ice resulting in puddles on the original Chain of Lakes route, the event was moved to a man-made snow loop in Theodore Wirth Park in north Minneapolis.

After snatching the men’s victory at the Boulder Mountain Tour in Idaho on Saturday, Matthew Liebsch (Team Strongheart/Team Birkie) continued his winning streak the following day in the freestyle discipline at the City of Lakes Loppet in Minneapolis, finishing the 17km race in a time of 37:06, with second place, Brian Gregg (CXC) right on his tail in second, only one second behind. Eric Wolcott placed third with a finishing time of 38:33.

Caitlin Gregg (CXC) took home the women’s title in a time of 40:32 with more than two minutes to spare over her teammate in second place, Jennie Bender. Natalia Yakimova picked up the final podium spot for third place.

Full results for all events HERE.

Canadian Ski Marathon 2012 – Feb. 11-12 Register Now!

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January 31, 2012 (Montebello, ON) – I am very proud to report that despite recent freezing rain and warm weather, the traditional trail – Gatineau-Montebello-Lachute – is in excellent condition. The full trail has been groomed creating a hard base with some parts of the trail boasting 45cm of snow.

… With plenty of snow expected in the forecast, groomers will do another pass next week to further pack down the trail for optimal conditions during the marathon. Other updates to the trail include;

– Section 7: Thanks to the generosity of the land owners east of St. Sixte, the trail is back in the fields, thereby avoiding the 2 km of skiing the sandy, salty snow bank along highway 317.

– Section 6: The Highway 50 underpass west of Montebello has been completed, eliminating the need to cross any autoroute construction sites.

– Section 5: The rocky pieces of trail north of Montebello, especially notorious in the last 2 years, has been completely rebuilt using a hydraulic shovel. The ups and downs are still there, but the rocks are gone and the previous hair raising turns are much safer.

– Section 4: The trail has been relocated to avoid the hill with the hairpin turn going down to the Kinonge River valley. It is still a big hill, but with sweeping turns and a new wide bridge at the bottom.

Plans are already in the works for more trail improvements in 2013 so we can all test our personal limits on a challenging, but safe, trail.

We are also happy to announce that CSM Section 5 (Montebello to Kanauk) is open now for people to try out before the marathon. You can pick up passes at the Hotel Ski Shop.

Finally, please reach out to all unregistered skiers who may be sitting on the fence. Don’t let the “It didn’t or I didn’t(s)” stop them from having an incredible February CSM experience.

Help us fill up the Montebello with sweaty skiers telling amazing CSM stories – don’t wait, book your Montebello room today!

www.csm-mcs.com

Bill Syrros
President, CSM

14th Annual Noquemanon Ski Marathon Recap – Naryshkina, Ocariz, Brothers and Niemi Top Podiums

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January 31, 2012 (Marquette, MI) – Nearly 1,400 participants took part in the 14th annual Noquemanon Ski Marathon presented by Marquette General Health Systems. The headline event – the 50km classic – started in Ishpeming, home of the National Ski Hall of Fame. It was Santi Ocariz (CXC) who crossed the line first in Marquette after 2:31:20.9. In the women’s competition, Natalia Naryshkina won with a time of 2:56:34.9.

Michael Brothers (Alpina/Madshus) logged the fastest 50km freestyle in 2:20:35.5, while Paulette Niemi collected the women’s crown in 2:41:00.4.

Skiers also had opportunities to test themselves over shorter distances, such as the Bank Half-Marathon, a 24km race that uses the second half of the Noquemanon course, sharing the finish line outside of the Superior Dome. Andrew Bruning (CHS Boys) and Monica Markvardsen (NMU Ski Team) won the men’s and women’s 24k freestyle races, respectively, while classic counterparts Erik Soderman and Jordyn Ross, both from NMU Ski Team as well, took top spots in their categories.

Full results HERE.

31st Annual Craftsbury Marathon Results – Clare Egan and Nils Koons Top 50km CL Fields

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January 30, 2012 – The largest Nordic ski event in the east, the 31st Annual Craftsbury Marathon, took place on Sunday. Hundreds of participants of all ages challenged themselves on 25km and 50km classic routes that traversed the spectacular Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

Ada Peters finished first in the women’s 25k competition, with Steven Mangan grabbing top honours in the 25k men’s event. In the 50k distance, it was Clare Egan (GRP) who came out on top in the women’s race, and Nils Koons (Rossignol) secured victory over the men’s field.

The 2012 edition of the TD Bank Craftsbury Marathon was a blend of old and new. Typifying this was the return of the new “old” course: the point to point! The Center partnered with Highland Lodge to bring back the popular point to point course traversing some of the most scenic ski terrain in New England. Extensive trail work has vastly improved the trail, removing bumps, sharp corners, steep chutes, and poor drainage on the connector. The trail work also allowed grooming of the entire course this year with Craftsbury’s team of PistenBullys.

Overall results HERE.
Age group results HERE.

Results (brief)

25km Women
1. Ada Peters
2. Julia Harrison
3. Karina Packer

25km Men
1. Steven Mangan
2. Silas Talbot
3. Hans Halvorsen

50km Women
1. Clare Egan
2. Sage Morrison
3. Robyn Anderson

50km Men
1. Nils Koons
2. Eli Enman
3. Scott Lacy