Home of American XC Skiers


The 2018 Masters World Cup coming to Minneapolis, Minnesota next season will be an incredibly exciting opportunity for adult skiers from around the world to experience the excitement of a true international athletic event in the heart of a major city. As many USA skiers likely to take part in the MWC2018 will not have a great deal of familiarity with the Masters World Cup event, your national masters association (American XC Skiers -- AXCS) has prepared this FAQ to help as a guide in the coming months

Scroll to bottom to see a couple useful links.


Do I have to qualify to take part in the 2018 Masters World cup (MWC2018)?

Answer: No -- You do not have to qualify for this event in any way.

As long as you are at least 30 years old as of December 31, 2017 -- you are welcome to participate just like any big ski marathon like the American Birkebeiner.

However, please note that every USA skier will need a current American XC Skiers (AXCS) membership. A one year membership (including the best benefit package in ski sport!) is $40. But the best membership value is to get a 3-year AXCS membership that includes the 2017/18 season. Find more info and sign-up for AXCS membership here.


Is this event really for my ability level?

Answer: Unless you are a true beginner, we are betting you will have a blast taking part in the MWC2018.

Every year, USA skiers of an incredibly wide ability and performance range take part in MWC events all over the XC ski world. Sure, some folks are going to be really fast out there, but most skiers at the MWC take part for the fun, excitement, and unique event design unlike any other event for adult skiers you can find anywhere.

AXCS has written a ton about why the MWC is a great event for so many skiers here.


Who is eligible to represent the USA at MWC2018?

Answer: To be eligible to race for the USA you can be a citizen or a long-term (green card) resident. Same goes for any other nation on the planet you'd like to represent.

But note that in many nations you will not get the same level of service towards national delegations as that provided by American XC Skiers (AXCS). AXCS does a great job because we have a part-time paid contractor administrating our member services, we have one the longest-tenured National Directors within the World Masters Association (WMA), and our USA National Director also is currently the WMA President which helps smooth some international edges (especially given the current state of international "real world" politics when it comes to the USA).

Note also that we take skier's word on national eligibility at the MWC. So if you have your AXCS membership and sign up for the MWC2018 under the USA flag -- that's all it really takes. Since 2004 when he took over leading the MWC trips for the United States, USA National Director J.D. Downing has never once checked any documentation for proof of USA eligibility.


What events will be offered during the MWC2018?

Answer: Both classic and freestyle options will be offered in each of three race distances for your age/gender category. So every category will have a menu of six individual race events offered and then there are the national team relays where USA will be allowed one relay team per age/gender category (see below for a Q&A on how the relay will work).

You are limited to race options offered for your age/gender category at the MWC. For example, a 40-year old woman would be able to select from race distances of 15km, 10km, and 30km in both or either classic and freestyle techniques. But that same woman would not be able to select a 5km or 45km race option as those distances are not offered in her age/gender category. You can see your age/gender category distance offerings on the MWC2018.com website.

Note: A new World Masters Association (WMA) rule going into effect for the MWC2018 is that skiers should be able to pick any three races offered for your age/gender category. Up until 2017, the WMA rule has been that you had to pick only one technique for each race distance (i.e. a 35-year man could only pick either the 30km classic OR the 30km freestyle -- but not both). In 2018 the plan is that you'll be able to do both techniques for any race distance if you want to. This should give USA skiers a lot of flexibility in picking your MWC2018 schedule (something particularly important for younger masters with families and/or work demands).


How will the MWC2018 relays work?

Answer: The MWC relays are based exclusively on national teams so USA will only be allowed one team per age/gender category. With over 600 USA skiers taking part in the McCall, Idaho-hosted MWC2008, AXCS hopes for an even bigger collection of USA skiers in 2018. But with that size will come tough selections for relay spots. The AXCS National Director will make the decision on relay selections based on performances during the early MWC2018 races plus factoring in results at other recent MWC and National Masters events.

The relay itself is 4 x 5km with 2 classic and 2 freestyle legs for every category. Generally if you are one of the top two USA skiers (either technique) in your age/gender category, you have an excellent shot at being named to a USA relay team.

Note that WMA rules allow nations to drop skiers down in age (example: A 50-year old M5 skier could race in the 30-34 M1 relay), but nations cannot race skiers "up" in age (the same M5 could not race on the M6 relay team because he'd be skiing in an older category). There are other special relay rules that make team selection quite strategic in many years.

Selection of the USA relay teams is the sole responsibility of USA National Director J.D. Downing. All USA registrants will be given a chance before the MWC2018 begins to sign-up on a "USA relay interest & availability list". From that list, Downing will pick all the relay rosters plus the two allowed alternates. The official USA team selections will be announced roughly 24 hours prior to the relay day.


How will the MWC2018 race starts be seeded?

Answer: Race starts are first seeded by WMA-FIS points that are earned by skiers that took part in the MWC2016 or MWC2017 events. All other skiers that do not have current points are then placed in a random sort for start position. The MWC starts are very organized with every skier assigned a row and lane position that varies for each race based on who is signed up for each race. The "grid" for the starts involve 20 lanes per row with typically no more than 5-6 rows max for only the largest male categories.

Note that every MWC individual event will be comprised of only your age/gender category starting together. The only exception would be for really small categories (typically only the youngest or eldest categories) might be combined together. Most category wave starts are 20-100 skiers in total number -- so really quite manageable.

For truly elite masters that really want a good start position, USA National Director J.D. Downing will announce in Fall 2017 via AXCS membership media (so you have to be a member to see the goods! :-) a formal process for applying for discretionary seed points. Typically only male skiers between 40-74 years should overly concern themselves with seed rank. Most of the youngest, oldest, and female categories do not usually have large enough categories and/or enough performance depth for a really strong skier to worry much about getting around folks (in a "worst case" random seed) to have good enough starts to be in contention for medals if that's your goal.


Where can I find more info

Answer: Currently AXCS has a ton of planning preview information in print out to our nationwide membership. You can get this very same info by signing up for AXCS membership right now here.

In coming months we'll slowly posted more and more information for Team USA skiers on the pages of xcskiworld.com.

By late fall AXCS will be regularly updating these xcskiworld.com pages with Team USA planning details (we do a really good job with this process, you will be pleased) and that information flow will continue right into every day of the actual MWC2018 event week.

Right this second non-members and members alike can find more basic information on the official MWC2018 event website.