The Masters World Cup: Fun For Every Adult Skier
Every season the American Cross Country Skiers (AXCS) expends a great deal of promotional time and other resources encouraging more U.S. adult skiers to take part in the annual Masters World Cup events. Towards that end, AXCS is offers this glimpse at what the Masters World Cup (MWC) really is like...and why YOU should sign up for the MWC in the coming years!
First off, put aside any worries about "qualifying" to take part in the Masters World Cup and even wondering if non-racers are welcome on these trips. No qualification process of any kind is required to take part in the MWC other than being 30 years or older as of the December 31st prior to a given MWC. For AXCS trips all we require is that at least one person in every booking party be an AXCS member. That's it -- really!
Every year AXCS takes a super wide range of abilities to the MWC and every year folks have a blast no matter what their results happen to be. And -- increasingly AXCS has also been enjoying the company of members that attend the MWC trips with zero intention of entering the MWC races simply because the trip is an affordable, highly-organized way to experience skiing in wonderful spots across Europe with a bunch of other U.S. masters.
When we say wonderful ski spots, we aren't kidding. These destinations aren't just "somewhere with snow". These are true Vacation Destinations in every sense -- Lillehammer, Norway; Moscow, Russia; Brusson, Italy; Autrans, France; Falun, Sweden. You get the idea.
The Masters World Cup travels to all these places, making a stop in a different country every year. Typically locations are selected by the World Masters Association 3-4 years ahead of the event date so there is plenty of time for skiers to plan your vacation schedules ahead of time. Although there are some masters that are lucky enough to attend the MWC pretty much every year, a more likely participant is someone that would take part every 2-4 years. Certainly when we are fortunate enough to have the MWC events on this side of the Atlantic, participation can be even more frequent!
Usually around 20-25 nations are represented in any given year at the MWC with roughly 1,000 total racers giving the event a true international flavor. The host nation typically has the biggest contingent, but it is not unusual to see triple digit contingents from several other countries (including the USA) depending on the event location. No matter how you cut it, few citizen events in the world can match the diversity of nationalities year in and year out.
Every year there are three individual distance races you can choose from with a choice of either classic or freestyle technique plus a 4 x 5km mixed technique relay. Every race is run in a wave start by age group and the net result is a series of mini-mass starts ranging from just a handful of skiers up to 100-120 skiers for the largest male waves. Compared to even large local races, these starts are very compact and user-friendly for all abilities. There are indeed some seriously fast skiers in just about every wave. And there are also plenty of average and even well below average skiers in every age/gender category. With the wave starts spread out over several hours, it isn't unusual at all for a casual racer to basically have a perfectly groomed trail almost all to themselves some of the time. Even when the "top dawgs" from another class come up from behind, typically there is more than enough room to let that pack (rarely bigger than a dozen or so even early on) go by. All-in-all a big difference from major marathons that can have several thousands of skiers competing for every inch of trail for hours on end.
Social events, sightseeing, and experience local shopping/dining options round out the trip in a way that few domestic and even international events can match. At many locations, U.S. skiers easily have as much fun enjoying their "off days" with ski tours that often end up longer some race days! AXCS also has proven to be quite good at finding hotels in the 3-4 star range that are comfortable for U.S. skiers without being super expensive. Whenever possible, AXCS selects hotels with a big location upside whether that means skiing out the door and/or easy access to shopping/dining/entertainment areas.
It Sounds Very Cool, But What About Cost and Logistics?
With the annual American XC Skiers (AXCS) non-profit travel package to the MWC, you spend a week and a half in Europe for thousands of dollars less than you would spend with an ordinary recreational tour group. You don't need to have extensive local knowledge, deal with countless phone calls and emails figuring out logistics -- you just sign up and the association guides you through every step. Plus, you get to spend your vacation with other U.S. skiers of similar ages and abilities. No one will roll their eyes if you start ruminating about which glide wax to use or how beautiful the view was from a certain section of ski trail. Relax -- here you are among friends.
U.S. skiers are always free to put together their own trips to the MWC, but for those interested in the convenience and simplicity of having everything laid out for them, the annual non-profit AXCS package represents the absolute best combination of value and organization available. If you do elect to set up your own travel logistics, please note that AXCS does require a "fair share" fee attached to every USA race entry which helps the association recover the significant costs of helping USA skiers take part in the MWC every year.
For more information about upcoming Masters World Cup events, email << axcs @ xcskiworld dot com >>, stay tuned to xcskiworld.com updates, and --- most importantly --- be sure to annually join AXCS every year to make sure you get complete information sent as part of the best membership benefit package in XC skiing!