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MWC2018 Minneapolis Team USA Information

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: November 20, 2017

Official MWC2018 Event Website -- here you'll find schedules, course maps, ground transportation info, and (coming by October 1) registration info .

USA MWC2018 Registrations "Thus Far" -- please note that paper registrations sent to the AXCS National Office still need to be added to this total...also note that it's possible that there is a time lag between fresh registrations (say in the past 48 hours) and this list. So if you just registered and you don't appear -- we don't know how long it will take for all names to appear. Do make sure to reload the page each time you check.

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AXCS RACER PREP SUGGSTIONS http://www.xcskiworld.com/mwc2018-axcs-racer-prep-suggestions

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EVENT REGISTRATION

2018 Masters World Cup registration is open and will remain so until midnight on January 6.

For anyone prone to waiting until the last minute, please note that you cannot register via print-and-mail forms until that last second date.

Here is a (strongly recommended) help page written for all English-speaking skiers that will guide you through the registration process... http://www.xcskiworld.com/mwc2018-event-registration-helpful-info

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BIB & PACKET PICK-UP DURING THE MWC2018

AXCS has fielded several questions from skiers wanting to know if they can pick up bibs/packets after the start of the MWC2018 on Saturday, January 20.

The short answer is YES -- the organizing committee is planning to offer daily bib/packet pick-up from Thursday, January 18 until the morning of the final races on Friday, January 26.

No matter when you arrive to the race venue or greater Minneapolis, you will have a way to get your bib/packet.

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HELP WITH REGISTRATION CHANGES

If any USA skiers decide to change a race you initially registered for, you will need to send an email message to USA National Director J.D. Downing with written directions as to exactly what events you want changed. It will not be possible to have these changes made via a phone call (AXCS needs a written record of your exact request).

Please email jd at xcskiworld dot com with change requests.

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HELP WITH RACE SEEDING

If you are new to the MWC, every race starts in waves organized by age/gender category. Only when 2-3 categories have significantly less than 20 skiers will categories be combined for a race start. Further, every skier is pre-assigned a specific start spot on a grid of rows/lanes. Your spot is determined by WMA-FIS seed points up to the max points -- then it’s a random draw for remaining spots. This makes for super organized starts compared to big ski marathons and even smaller citizen races!

It is crucial to remember that because the MWC2018 will have such a high percentage of North American skiers (both USA and CAN) that do not have WMA-FIS points, a random draw with these other folks could easily get you a first or second row position (remember, 20 skiers of lanes per row!) -- all without any seeding points attached to your draw. So a ton of people are going to have great start positions without doing anything.

If you raced at either the MWC2016 in Finland or the MWC2017 in Switzerland -- you automatically have WMA-FIS points that will automatically seed you once you register for the MWC2018.

If you missed those last two Worlds, by default you will be given the maximum 240 WMA-FIS points for seeding (low points means best seeds).

Now if you are a female skier (of any age) -- or -- a male skier either 30-39 years or 75+ years -- you generally do not need to worry about MWC race seeding. All these age and gender categories have race starts typically of less than 40 skiers starting at once. With 20 skiers per start row, you wouldn’t be further back than row 2. Really good skiers can always make that up in 1-2kms.

If you are a male skier 40-74 years and don’t envision yourself competing in the top third of your age category, you also do not need to worry about race seeding. Go out and have a blast. These are wide courses so you’ll have room to ramble no matter your speed.

It is really only the most competitive male skiers aiming for medal positions in the 40-74 year age range that might have goals compromised based on race start position. For those skiers, USA National Director J.D. Downing will accept emailed cases for race point seeding.

Your emailed request should be concise and focused on your top results from the past three race seasons. Results from National Masters and Masters World Cup events are given highest priority. Results from major ski marathons are second priority. Accepted seeding requests from skiers that have not done a recent MWC event will not result in points that are better than points earned by recent top USA finishers -- but you should have a reasonable guarantee of a good start position.

Please email jd at xcskiworld dot com with your seeding requests.

Finally, please note that the last opportunity to email a seeding request will be one week prior to close of registration (deadline: December 31, 2017).

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USA AWARD CEREMONIES & SERVICES

Because the (hopefully) massive Team USA will be spread out all of the Twin Cities, we will not have any in-person USA meetings except possibly before the relay.

Instead the USA Update Page (which you are reading right now) on xcskiworld.com will have daily information posted that should cover all topics to have a great event week. AXCS will also work on setting up a couple social media info avenues.

At the stadium, AXCS will have a posting board for USA-specific race and event information. We will also have a designated location for USA gear while you ski.

On Monday, Janaury 22 and Friday, January 26 there will be two USA National Masters medal ceremonies at the same location as the official MWC2018 ceremonies on those same dates. Because the MWC2018 doubles as the 2018 AXCS National Masters Championships, the USA Ceremonies will recognize the top three USA finishers in every MWC race event.

Exact times for these USA medal ceremonies will be announced before and during the MWC. AXCS promises these will be super fast and fun ceremonies to honor our top 3 USA skiers.

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TEAM USA RELAY SELECTION PROCESS UPDATES

The relay is a 4 x 5km with two classic and two skate legs. Per WMA rules, only one USA team can race in each age/gender category. No, we cannot field extra or unofficial teams even when the Worlds is in the USA.

We hopefully will have many hundreds of USA skiers on our contingent "roster" in total, so the reality is that relatively few USA skiers of all those registered will be selected for relay teams. But we hope everyone will support and cheer on the teams we field as we generally do really well when the Worlds are in North America. Relay team selection will be made by USA Director J.D. Downing Monday night, January 22 and announced by Tuesday morning, January 23.

The 2008 (McCall) and 2011 (Silver Star) Worlds showed us that you will need to be one of the top 5-6 USA skiers in your category to be in play for the official USA teams. Some relay teams pick themselves, some other teams involve brutal splitting hairs. Typically relay selections are based on performances in the first four individual races (mid-distance and/or short distance races). In rare situations, skiers that have established themselves as dominate age-group athletes in past MWC events may be considered for relay selection even if they have not posted MWC2018 results.

Skiers that have traveled with AXCS to MWC events in Europe will note that often relay teams are comprised using 1-2 strong skiers "dropping down" in age. This is done in Europe because we typically do not have enough depth to go for medals in more than a few age categories. However, when in North America we typically have the depth we need to form actual age group relays comprised nearly entirely of athletes in that age category. That is the strong AXCS preference and will only be adjusted in extremely rare situations.

Beginning in mid-December, a “relay availability” sheet will be posted on this page for every USA skier to fill out your interest and availability for USA relay teams if you are selected.

Stay tuned.

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LODGING INFORMATION FOR USA SKIERS

Official Lodging Booking Page
http://www.loppet.org/mwc2018/travel-guide/lodging/

As is the AXCS tradition with MWC events held in North America, the association will not offer a lodging and ground transport package for USA skiers like we do on all European-hosted MWC events. 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 today!) 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 webpage of all the downtown hotels that have signed official pricing contracts for MWC2018 skiers. USA skiers are welcome to go ahead and make your booking from this page anytime you like.

http://www.loppet.org/mwc2018/travel-guide/lodging/

All the official MWC2018 lodging options 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!).

All the official hotels will have a designated waxing area somewhere in the hotel. Usually this is waxing space will be in a parking garage or a low level conference room with protective covers. All skiers will need to bring your own waxing gear including profile benches. Usually what is provided is just basic tables to clamp to, power, and light. There will also be a communal waxing spot at Theodore Wirth Park that is mainly intended for pre-race wax prep, but can be used (in specific time slots) for advance ski prep.

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. Please note that the MWC2018 pricing is only good on reservations booked by December 29.

Are there any 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.

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RACE COURSE INFORMATION

See the official MWC2018 courses with WMA-approved profiles here.....
http://www.loppet.org/mwc2018/event-information/course-maps/

For folks that notice these maps show courses that are different than maps posted over much of the last 18 months, here's the scoop.

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 (offered for 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 had 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, as of late September meetings in Norway, plans have now been approved by the World Masters Association (WMA) that would allow the MWC2018 to use a 2 x 7.5km = 15km course for the "middle distance" category races. Further, a modified start list has been developed that will basically separate the middle distance races for all categories into spread out "like distance" time periods to really cut down on overlapping categories, reduce confusion with multiple cut-offs, and provide the nicest possible race experience for all skiers.

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 or brutal uphills -- yet avoiding the tendency of some "C" 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 5km 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, tree removal, and re-seeding taking place over the past several months. 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.

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GROUND TRANSPORTATION

If you drive to Minneapolis, please be advised that on all training and race days you’ll need to plan on parking at designated spots near the T. Wirth Park and taking a short shuttle with your gear. Also note that you’ll need to factor in downtown parking garages when you attend ceremonies.

For those flying in, AXCS believes most skiers will not need a rental car if you stay in the official downtown hotels. This will save you both the cost of the rental as well as parking fees downtown. You are always welcome to rent a car -- but just be advised that you don't necessarily need one.

For your inbound and outbound airport transfers you can book a private shuttle or taxi (make sure to factor in ski bags). You can save money on these transfers by sharing a shuttle or taxi with ski buddies traveling on the same flights or at similar times.

The really economical option is to take Light Rail from MSP airport (the station is minutes from bag pick-up) direct to downtown Minnepoalis for less than $3 per person! Note you will have a short (7-10mins) walk with your bags from the Nicollet Mall Light Rail station to the downtown hotels with this option.

Your daily trips to/from Theodore Wirth Park for skiing you can take care of with the official shuttle bus. This daily MWC shuttle will run from Thursday, January 18 until the night of Friday, January 26.

For anyone that sticks around for the “bonus” City of Lakes Loppet classic marathon on Saturday, Janaury 27, the Loppet Foundation is working on transport options to get you to/from start/finish.

Since you’ll be literally in the middle of a big city, you can easily walk to dozens of restaurants, entertainment options, and (via nearby stations) use Light Rail to get to the Mall of America and other city spots. Note also that Minneapolis has an elaborate walking skyway network of elevated indoor walkways throughout downtown. So whatever the weather is doing, you’ll be comfortable!