This page is designed to help inform and guide USA skiers planning on taking part in the MWC2018. Over the months leading up to the big party you will find continuously-updated information that should address many common questions either for newbies to the Masters World Cup events and/or specific to the fantastic spectacle that will be the MWC2018!
Latest Update: July 27, 2017
Official MWC2018 Event Website -- here you'll find schedules, course maps, ground transportation info, and (coming by October 1) registration info .
LODGING INFORMATION FOR USA SKIERS
Official Lodging Booking Page
As is the AXCS tradition with MWC events held in North America, the association will not be directly-involved in lodging and ground transport planning for USA skiers. With events on this side of the Atlantic, the sheer numbers (we hope) of skiers participating and the ease of doing your own thing here in North America negates the ability or need for AXCS to do all the travel planning and organizational stuff we do for all European-hosted Worlds.
What AXCS does strongly recommend is that USA skiers talk to your ski buddies (as in NOW -- seriously, pick up your phone!) and get yourselves organized into mini-groups of club and ad hoc masters team groups so that you have a group of friends and family supporters to make the MWC as much fun as possible. Organizing into small groups also will provide skiers that need to travel alone with the option to have a roommate, share a rental car, share waxing gear, etc. which logistically makes any ski trip easier.
The MWC2018 Organizing Committee (O.C.) has set up a special preview webpage of all the downtown hotels that have signed official pricing contracts for MWC2018 skiers. This page is intentionally not linked from the MWC2018.com website because of international restrictions with the various national delegations. But USA skiers are welcome to go ahead and make your booking from this page anytime you like.
These are big-time downtown hotels that are offering stunning deals on excellent quality high-rise hotel rooms right in the heart of Minneapolis. All the official hotels are within a short walk of the pick-up/drop-off location of the MWC2017 shuttle transport system that will loop every day from January 18-26 connecting you from downtown to the Theodore Wirth Park venue. Because of the shuttle loop system, if you are staying downtown you will not need a rental car (and thus can also save serious $ on parking as well!).
Another hot tip is the Hyatt and Millennium Hotels will be the location of nearly all ceremonies and the two (2!) special MWC2017 party celebrations that the World Masters Association is trialing in Minneapolis as a MWC event replacement for the ever-tedious, overpriced, boring, uncomfortable, you-rarely-get-what-you-wanted-to-eat, old school banquet (yes, you can tell your loyal AXCS National Director is entirely unbiased when it comes to replacing the banquet with two fun parties :-)!
Space in the downtown hotels is considerable so the risk of all hotels selling out isn't terribly high in the near future. However, it rarely hurts to plan ahead especially if you have a big local group coming to MWC2018 and you want everyone to be in a block of hotel rooms together.
What about other lodging options?
Given the greater Twin Cities is a major metro area, as you can imagine there are literally hundreds of alternative lodging options beyond the official O.C. hotels. You can find options using all the normal travel lodging websites.
Any skier from any nation is totally welcome to book lodging at other hotels wherever you want. So knock yourself out if you prefer alternative options.
If you are staying outside downtown, one big thing that you just need to remember is that you'll need to transport yourself (meaning your own car or rental car) to one of the remote parking lots surrounding Theodore Wirth Park (locations announced in the late fall) as short run shuttle locations for MWC training and event days. There is only very limited parking for officials at the Park itself. Also remember that to attend any of the MWC ceremonies or parties, you'll want to calculate navigating downtown parking garages and/or take Light Rail in/out of downtown.
RACE COURSE UPDATES
See the newest course designs here (profiles coming shortly so keep checking back in August)...
The coming Summer AXCS Digest (print issue coming late August exclusive to current AXCS members) will have a full update on this, but here's the latest info....
Due to complications well beyond their control, this spring the Loppet Foundation organizers were forced to pull back on the original plan to utilize two lakes in Theodore Wirth Park as part of the MWC2018 race courses. Turning lemons into lemonade, the O.C. figured out that they had sufficient snowmaking capacity and trail acreage to have the first four days of MWC2018 races all on the north/northwest golf course and adjacent trails. This plan had the benefit of concentrating all preliminary snowmaking efforts on a core loop of 10km (assuming at least some natural snow or optimal snowmaking conditions) or worst case a 7.5km while also removing the need for road crossings of the access Parkway for more than the two long distance race days (January 25-26).
Using a 3 x 10km for the 30km loop in the "middle distance" races (men's categories M1-M6) is fully allowed by current WMA rules. However, WMA rules have previously lacked procedures for how to manage the companion 15km race (M7-M9 and F1-F8 categories) plus how to re-jigger the start list so that there isn't a ton of overlapping between the categories. So answering those questions has to be addressed for this middle distance race plan to officially be put into motion.
In part because of the MWC2018 proposal, but also because more MWC venues may also need to use a shorter loop in future years due to climate change impacts, preliminary plans have now been developed that would allow the MWC2018 to test out using a 2 x 7.5km = 15km course for the "middle distance" category races. Further, a modified start list has been developed for review that would basically separate the middle distance race days into separate "like skier" clumps to really cut down on overlapping categories and provide the nicest possible race experience for all skiers.
The O.C. has presented a proposal to the World Masters Association and J.D. Downing (AXCS National Director and WMA President) is currently walking the proposal through the various international legislative hoops. If all goes well, the WMA will formally endorse the MWC2018 proposal for the January 20-21 "middle distance" races by late September at the WMA Annual Meeting in Beitostolen, Norway.
Important additional course notes...
The 5km "C" course specifically designed for the eldest MWC2018 courses is designed to be 100% on the guaranteed manmade snow loop and meets all required WMA specifications. This course will be used in the traditional MWC pattern of 2 x 5km = 10km (January 19-20); 1 x 5km on January 22; and 3 x 5km = 15km (January 25-26). Both the O.C. and AXCS National Director J.D. Downing feel this course is one of the better 5km "C" courses in recent years giving older skiers gentle rolling terrain free of hard downhills -- yet avoiding the tendency of some courses running on endless flat sections.
All classes skiing the 10km distance (either classic or skate) on Monday, January 22 will use the core 10km loop described above.
The entire MWC2018 relay on Wednesday, January 24 will use portions of the core 10km loop described above for both the classic and skate legs.
For the long distance races, the revised MWC2018 race courses on January 25-26 will add an additional 5km of trails on the south/southeast side of the Theodore Wirth Parkway which will provide a full 15km loop for categories racing 30km (2 laps -- M7-M9 and F1-F8 categories) or 45km (3 laps -- men's categories M1-M6). These extended courses will have two road crossings -- one using a golf course bridge and one at road level. Only if sufficient natural snow is NOT available will the long distance races have to be re-formulated to use the courses
Construction on the new and improved Theodore Wirth Park stadium complex is largely completed in terms of winter use with significant grading and tree removal being conducted in the past several months. Re-seeding for golf course use will occupy coming months will be the primary remaining tasks. The new improvements allow the Loppet Foundation to have a much more flexible stadium capacity for all sizes of events (including the MWC2018) right in the heart of the Park's artificial snowmaking system.
TEAM USA INDIVIDUAL RACE SEEDING AND RELAY SELECTION PROCESS UPDATES
This information will be posted in coming months and also will be described (at least in part) in the Summer AXCS Digest coming via postal mail to all current AXCS members by the end of August.