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Vuokatti MWC2016

2016 Masters World Cup: Vuokatti, Finland

MWC2016 Logo Inge’s wax guru’s inside report for Vuokatti.docx

UPDATE (Monday, January 18): The AXCS trip to the MWC2016 is now closed. Please follow the results of our 60-strong USA racer contingent on the official MWC2016 Event site from February 6-12.

Looking ahead, the MWC2017 trip to Klosters, Switzerland promises to be one of the most incredible Worlds ever with loads to do for racers and non-racers alike. AXCS will begin to lay out the association's plans for the March 2017 Worlds beginning shortly after our return from Vuokatti. Join AXCS today (if you aren't already a member!) to be first in line with information about all MWC coming trips.

Location & Best Travel Plan: Vuokatti, Finland International flights to Helsinki, Finland. Regional flight to Kajaani or Oulu. Bus from either of those airports to Vuokatti. (AXCS is still working on which regional airport works best, TBD)

Pronounced: Vo - kat - tee

AXCS Trip Dates: February 2-13, 2016 (Competition Dates: February 6-12, 2016)

Best Travel Plan: International flight to Helsinki, Finland. Regional flight to either Oulu or Kajaani (AXCS is working on the best option based on a myriad of factors). Bus from regional airport to Vuokatti. It is also possible to take a 6+ hour train from Helsinki to Kajaani, then a bus to Vuokatti.

How To Sign Up For The MWC2016 AXCS Trip

Official MWC2016 Event site

Official World Masters Association global site

General Info About The Masters World Cup: Fun for Every Adult Skier!

 


MWC2016: Nordic. Skiing. Paradise.

Featuring over 150km of some of the best skiing you’ll ever find; loads of beautiful forests, lakes, and rolling hills to explore; a great track record of natural snowfall and moderate February temperatures; a national training & racing center worth of infrastructure; and an amazing track record with big-time events...when it comes to our favorite winter sport, Vuokatti has it covered and then some.

A year-round resort complex and village, Vuokatti is part of the Sotkamo region in the South Kainuu province of central Finland. Several villages in the area have a population of 10,500 with tourism being a huge economic force with roughly one million tourist every year. The nearest city is Kajaani (35km) with the Helsinki metro area some 350 miles to the south.

The big draws to the area are the Vuokatti Sports Institute and Vuokatti Ski Center. The world’s first ski tunnel was built here (an amazing facility) followed by the world’s first snowboard tunnel. Outside are the aforementioned endless ski trails, international biathlon range, jump hills galore, and alpine/snowboarding slopes. Not to mention ice skating, dog-sledding, and even snowmobile safaris. The Sports Institute also has numerous indoor facilities open during the Worlds including a large swimming pool complex and multiple gyms.

Manmade local attractions also include the indoor Angry Birds Activity Park (think the coolest playground ever) and the Holiday Club Katinkulta with it’s massive spa and swimming complex.

The Vuokatti Sports Institute ski stadium is literally built on an artificial turf soccer stadium with an impressive array of permanent facilities. The ski trails are, in the opinion of your humble USA National Director, some of the most enjoyable we’ve ever had for a MWC event. The first 5km features a joyful romp of rolling terrain followed by a crossing of a small frozen lake, and then a simply spectacular loop up/down the side of a forested ridge. The diversity of terrain and visuals on the core 15km trails rivals any MWC venue in the world. If you love to ski -- you are gonna love this place.

But the absolute best thing about Vuokatti is the MWC race loops are just the beginning when it comes to ski options. An honest-to-gosh 150km of total trails are going to be at our disposal. Whether you want to race or not, there aren’t many places in the world that offer more great skiing options right out the door.

As usual, AXCS has done the ground work and reserved a very nice collection of lodging options for MWC2016 trip participants. We have a large collection of rooms at Break Sokos Hotel Vuokatti plus 4 nearby apartment cottages (2-6 people) also reserved. All lodging is within easy 5-8 minute walking distance over flat terrain to the ski stadium and/or local ski trailheads. So on convenience, it’ll be hard to beat this trip!

As always, getting very early preliminary reservations from interested USA skiers really helps in case we need to expand our room or apartment selection.

Access to Vuokatti is via a long one hour regional flight from Helsinki to one of several central Finland airports. Helsinki itself is easily reached from all major European gateways. The AXCS Office believes flights into Kajaani (shorter 45min bus transport vs. less flights & higher prices) are preferred over Oulu (longer bus nearly 3 hour bus or rental car transport vs. more flights at a slightly lower cost). However, skiers are welcome to make your own travel plans as you wish. Be aware that AXCS will focus on organized ground transport only from Kajaani -- but Director J.D. will help folks opting for Oulu as much as possible.

Organizationally this a top notch group. Hosts of the 2013 World Orienteering Championships, the annual 2,000 skier Vuokatti Hiihto, and too many Finnish FIS races to count -- these folks got it going on.

Bottom Line...

This is a skier’s trip. There is very little in the way of local shopping and dining. Vuokatti is really a very small village, but there is enough going in the Sports Institute resort area that you are hardly going to feel like you have nothing to do off your skis. But the skiing to be had for racers and non-competitors will truly amaze.

This trip is also flexible on dates. We can handle a bunch of arrival & departure scenarios with little added cost.

Suggested add-on adventures include exploring Helsinki on the way to/from Vuokatti or taking a ferry from Helsinki to either Stockholm, Sweden or Talinn, Estonia after the MWC. Talinn is interesting because the Tartu Marathon (Worldloppet) is the weekend after the MWC.

The AXCS Trip & Overall Financial Breakdown

Break Sokos Hotel Vuokatti is a large, modern hotel probably best rated as 3+ stars. Food quality in the restaurant is very good with typical Northern European fare. Most notable with early reservations is that we have two room types and price ranges to select from -- Standard & Superior.

Standard rooms have twin beds and the basic amenities.

Superior rooms have double beds, wood floors, balcony, office chair + work space, minibar, & electric kettle.

The apartment cottages that are reserved have various room configurations plus basic kitchen equipment.

Arrival/departure dates for the MWC2016 trip are very flexible as long as AXCS knows well advance if you’ll have unique travel dates. AXCS suggests leaving the USA on Tuesday, February 2 and beginning the return journey on Saturday, February 13.

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Lodging Package Details

Using a 10 night stay, the estimated cost on the AXCS reserved lodging package is as follows. Halfboard meals are breakfast + dinner. As always, all prices are subject to change as AXCS refines this trip. But the association always works to keep prices as low as possible!

Break Sokos Hotel Vuokatti Rooms

Single -- 1,410 EUR (includes 10 nights standard single, halfboard meals, all AXCS fair share fees)

Double Standard Room (per person) -- 960 EUR (includes 10 nights standard double, halfboard meals, all AXCS fees -- note, twin beds only!)

Double Superior Room (per person) -- 1085 EUR (includes 10 nights standard double, halfboard meals, all AXCS fees -- note, DOUBLE beds only!)

Vuokatin hovi Apartments
Note: We have only a limited number of apartments reserved and all are first-come, first-served on reservations. Here's another view.

2-4 person apartment -- 1,710-1,930 EUR (includes 10 nights reservation + all AXCS fair share fees)

4-6 person apartment -- 2,540-2,760 EUR (includes 10 nights reservation + all AXCS fair share fees)

It is possible to add a meal plan to an apartment booking at both Break Sokos Hotel as well as the Vuokatti Sports Institute. The USA hotel is roughly a 5min walk from the apartments we've booked. A grocery store is about a 15min walk away from the Sport Institute complex.

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Transportation
A sample of April 2015 air fares for the international flights using Helsinki (HEL) is: ANC -- $1450, SFO -- $1050, DEN -- $1050, MSP -- $1100, BOS -- $1000. As mentioned, AXCS has determined either Kajaani or Oulu (budget $200-300) will work as domestic airports, but Kajaani is the AXCS preference. From KAJ airport there will be a bus to Vuokatti (budget $80 roundtrip). From Oulu you might be looking at the cost of a rental car (and be prepared for up to 3hours travel one-way).

Race Entry (200 EUR)
This is now the standard MWC entry reflecting the significant added costs for organizers in recent years.

Travel Insurance ($50-150)
AXCS strongly recommends using Travel Guard or other travel insurance for MWC trips. Cost varies, but this is a very important protection for both unanticipated trip cancellation as well as emergencies while on the trip.

Bag Fees ($200-300)
Depends on your flights and airline status.

Once we are in Vuokatti the MWC2016 organizers will provide basic local transportation plus there is a low-cost local bus system (especially useful for long ski tours). You will not need a rental car.

Yes, the appropriate response right now is indeed “this sounds so cool, sign me up”. See below for details!!!

Any Questions of For More Information: Email or Call the AXCS office: axcs at xcskiworld dot com or 541.317.0217


I Want To Sign Up For The MWC2016 Trip -- What Do I Do?

Step #1.) AXCS is immediately accepting preliminary trip reservations for the MWC2016 AXCS lodging package. Email or call the AXCS Office to get your name on the first-come, first-served reservation chart & start the planning process for lodging, transfers, etc.. axcs at xcskiworld dot com or 541-317-0217

Note: When you call or email, mention if you want single or standard double or a superior double room. If you do not have a roommate in a standard double (2 twin beds) but want one, let J.D. know to put the word out for a roommate.

Step #2.) To maintain a spot on the preliminary reservation list, you will need to submit a $600US deposit (per person) payable to AXCS shortly after confirmation a reservation with the AXCS Office. See terms below. Final balance payment will be due in late fall 2015. AXCS will announce the exact final balance due date this fall and send individual “invoices” for each booking once we can get a firm handle on exchange rates and 100% of all trip costs.

MWC Trip Deposit Terms: The deposit holds your room/board space in your AXCS hotel for the number of nights you request. If you cancel on or by August 31, you will be refunded all but $50 of your deposit. For cancellations between Sept 1 - Oct 15, all but $75 of your deposit will be refunded. Refunds on cancellations starting October 16 will be subject to hotel policy + AXCS retaining a minimum $125 amount (a portion of which is tax deductible). AXCS urges all skiers to have travel insurance to protect your trip investment!

Deposit can be paid by the following methods:

a. Mail a check/money order payable to AXCS: PO Box 604 Bend, OR 97709.

b. You can use the PayPal button below (note that processing fees apply).

Payment Amounts

 

Step #3.) Email or call Diana Lynn Rau (The Travel Society) at 866.759.6867 -or- 970.887.3095 or Email: Dianalrau@cs.com to get a search going for your best airfares. Yes, absolutely you can do your own air booking -- but AXCS recommends using Diana.

Step #4.) Make sure your AXCS membership is current for 2015/16. All bookings with the AXCS package require at least one membership -- and everyone racing under the USA flag must be a member.

Step #5.) Talk to your ski buddies and urge them to go. MWC trips are a blast with friends and we always want the biggest contingent possible. This particular trip is going to be really fun for non-competing skiers so don’t be shy about talking up the MWC trip to friends that would just enjoy the great skiing, great organization by AXCS, and camaderie of a fun group of fellow USA masters!