The main decisions
From June 14 to 17, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Worldloppet was held in Tartu (EST) and hosted by Tartu Maraton. Every year, the delegates of each Worldloppet race gather in one of the places which hosts a Worldloppet race in winter.
This year, the AGM made several strategic decisions which point into the future of Worldloppet and the world of marathon skiing. First of all, Angelo Corradini, the Vice-President of Marcialonga and also the Secretary General of the 2013 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme was re-elected as Secretary General of the Worldloppet. He will head the world-wide marathon community for another four years. Corradini became the Secretary General of the Worldloppet in 2004 when he followed Madis Lepajõe (Tartu Maraton) in this position.
A very strategic decision and also a step ahead to make Worldloppet even more represented worldwide, was the inclusion of the Demino Ski Marathon from Russia to the Worldloppet family. The race is the 16th member of the Worldloppet and therefore also the 16th country represented in the Worldloppet. The main race is a 50km one in skating technique which will take place on March 16 in 2013.
Another strategic decision which was taken is related to the inclusion of the Demino Ski Marathon into the WL family: A new country group was formed! Poland (Bieg Piastow), Czech Republic (Jizerká Padesatka) and Russia (Demino Ski Marathon) now form the fourth country group. In order to represent the group in the executive committee of the Worldloppet, Kinga Jaworek from the Bieg Piastow was elected to do this. The young enthusiast of cross country skiing does not only work for the long distance race Bieg Piastow but also for the FIS Cross Country World Cup in Szklarska Poreba as well as for the town of the same name.
The next executive committee meeting will be held in October during the Forum Nordicum, the annual meeting of all Nordic Ski Journalists, which takes place in Val di Fiemme (ITA) this year.
Other matters and decisions
Of course the AGM is also always the place for reports, so the FIS Marathon Cup was – like all other Worldloppet races – an important topic. In general, one can say that the FIS Marathon Cup could show an increase in interest – especially of course if some World Cup skiers were on the start line, like skiing hero Petter Northug Jr. at the Marcialonga (ITA). In total, 10 races were held out of 11, as the first one, the La Sgmabeda (ITA) had to be cancelled due to lack of snow in the middle of December. With six different winners of five different nations in 10 races on the women"s side and 9 different winners from five different nations on the men"s side, the FIS Marathon Cup showed its high density of high class skiers. In order to get to know what the racers themselves think about the FIS Marathon Cup, a survey was conducted under the elite skiers. The remarks will be seriously taken into account in order to make the FIS Marathon Cup better every year! To improve the visibility of the FIS Marathon Cup, different options for TV productions and their diffusion on TV were shown and discussed. It was decided to follow the strategy not to try to get live coverage of all FIS MC races but to produce around 45minutes of highlights which then can be shown directly by all interested TV stations. Discussions are still ongoing, however, everyone agreed that this is the way to go in order to promote the FIS Marathon Cup. As not only this but also many other tasks around the FIS Marathon Cup cannot be done from the home office, the AGM decided that Worldloppet needs an own race director who does not however only come and support the FIS Marathon Cup races but who will also visit other Worldloppet races. A person has yet to be named for this position.
Of course, the separate elite Cup SkiClassics was also a topic of discussion, since the wish comes from everybody, to only have one elite Cup and not two, like it is now with the FIS Marathon Cup and SkiClassics (sometimes a Worldloppet race is a FIS MC as well as a SkiClassics race which brings confusion). However, no conclusion could be drawn in how to proceed in order to only have once elite cup in the future. Nevertheless, discussions will go on.
As one of the key aspects of Worldloppet, the Worldloppet passport and its sale was naturally of interest as well. In total, around 750 new passports were sold during last season, 85 alone at the Dolomitenlauf (AUT). Skiing around the world is already a lot of fun, but with the goal of visiting ten different races of which at least one race needs to be on a different continent to get a stamp into your passport in order to receive a diploma and a medal in the end is again another thing which motivates people around the world more year by year to take part in Worldloppet long distance ski races! This also shows the rising number of Gold Masters (10 completed WL long races) to 242 new masters in 2012 (list with names see below)!
In total, 125 588 races completed one Worldloppet race last winter! This is the largest number of participants ever achieved since the founding of Worldloppet in 1978 in Uppsala (SWE).
In general, decisions were taken in order to still improve the visibility of Worldloppet at all races as this complies with the general strategy of Worldloppet to be present as the voice of marathon skiing. In this area fells also the decision to get into in-depth conversations with world-wide marathon races which showed their interest in becoming a part of the Worldloppet family, like the Merino Muster in New Zealand or the Ushaia Loppet in Argentina. For Worldloppet in “written form”, there was the decision taken that the old Worldloppet Ski Magazine will be replaced this year by an online version. Additionally, different possibilities concerning a printed version for the season 2013/14 will be researched. The link to the online magazine for 2012/13 will be distributed in another newsletter, online under www.worldloppet.com as well as on the official Facebook page and on Twitter (please find links at the end of the newsletter).
Another important step was taken into the direction of improving the visibility of Worldloppet: The web page will undergo a total change. The relaunch will come right before the new season starts. The day of the relaunch will be announced through a newsletter, the web page, the Facebook page and Twitter!
Pictures of the AGM in Tartu (EST) can be found on the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.445671735457830.84949523.248398098518529&type=1&l=82aadc218d
News from the Worldloppet races
Reports of the last season were given and every race is now working hard for the coming winter. Some are even already in full swing due to their summer events like the Tartu Maraton (EST) with its biking, running and skating events or La Transjurassienne (FRA) with its Trail and its rollerski event. The Dolomitenlauf (AUT) could hold its annual bike race in very good conditions and also the Vasaloppet (SWE) and the Birkebeinerrennet (NOR) have their summer events coming up.
The La Transjurassienne has announced that its 54km event will now be 57km instead as the course will change slightly. The Bieg Piastow (POL) has announced its interest in becoming a FIS Marathon Cup in 2013/14. This will now be discussed, especially regarding the calendar. The same goes for the Kangaroo Hoppet (AUS) which expressed the interest of becoming a FIS Marathon Cup and to do a series together with the Merino Muster in New Zealand (which until now is not yet a member of the Worldloppet). The Gatineau Loppet. equally interested in joining the FIS Marathon Cup series, will present a new course track for the classic race this winter which will run from one municipality to the next. This will make the race even more attractive.