SkiTrax - - Contents - By J.D. Down­ing

by J.D. Down­ing

As a new sea­son is about to un­fold, let's take a look at what's on the hori­zon for XC ski Masters here in North Amer­ica, as well as over­seas.

Canada Masters: The 2015 Cana­dian Masters Na­tional XC Cham­pi­onships will be held in Forestville, Que. on Feb. 18-20, 2016. Pre­lim­i­nary event in­for­ma­tion shows 13km, 27km and 60km race op­tions over two race days. Full in­for­ma­tion is avail­able at­re­al­lop­

AXCS Na­tional Masters: The U.S.A. Na­tional Masters 2016 is re­turn­ing to Royal Gorge, Calif., wel­com­ing skiers from coast to coast for an­other great long week­end on March 19-20. A 10km Clas­sic on Satur­day will be fol­lowed by Sun­day's freestyle-tech­nique Cal­i­for­nia Gold Rush that will use a new 42/28/14km course de­sign. In­for­ma­tion and sign-up links are avail­able via www.xc­ski­

Masters World Cup (MWC2016): This year's Worlds, for the first time, vis­its the beau­ti­ful forests, lakes and hill­sides of Vuokatti, Fin­land on Feb. 5-12. Fea­tur­ing more than 150 kilo­me­tres of trails in the gen­eral Vuokatti area, this is a true skier's par­adise, rem­i­nis­cent of sev­eral of the most pop­u­lar North Amer­i­can ski des­ti­na­tions.

Amer­i­can or Cana­dian Masters who are still in­ter­ested in at­tend­ing should im­me­di­ately con­tact the Amer­i­can XC Skiers (AXCS) of­fice at xc­ski­ Cana­dian skiers should also con­tact the Cana­dian Masters Cross-coun­try Ski As­so­ci­a­tion (www.cana­ for ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion on the MWC2016. What about up­com­ing XC Masters events be­yond this year? AXCS will stage the Na­tional Masters 2017 in Min­neapo­lis, Minn. as a “pre­view” of the MWC2018 in the same spot ap­prox­i­mately one year later (more on that be­low). The op­por­tu­nity to of­fer a pre­view for a “home” North Amer­i­can Worlds us­ing the in­cred­i­ble City of Lakes Lop­pet events was sim­ply too good to pass up.

For 2018, both the U.S.A. and Cana­dian Na­tional Masters will be based within the MWC2018 events in Min­neapo­lis. Masters lead­ers on both sides of the bor­der have long rec­og­nized that it is fool­ish to of­fer a com­pet­ing Na­tional event in years that the Worlds comes to North Amer­ica. We all want as many North Amer­i­cans as pos­si­ble at the “home” Worlds, so the log­i­cal choice has been to use Masters World Cup re­sults to also rec­og­nize top do­mes­tic skiers.

As for fu­ture Masters World Cups, we are look­ing at a sim­ply fan­tas­tic se­ries of Worlds over the next sev­eral years. Fol­low­ing what both Cana­dian and Amer­i­can rep­re­sen­ta­tives are cer­tain will be an amaz­ing 2016 Worlds in Fin­land, the eyes of Masters around the world will turn to Klosters, Switzer­land for the MWC2017, with ten­ta­tive dates of March 3-10, 2017.

Lo­cated a cou­ple hours south­east of Zurich, Klosters is es­sen­tially a twin vil­lage to fa­mous Davos, Switzer­land, pro­vid­ing an im­pres­sive list of nearby ad­ven­tures for any visi­tor both on and off the snow. Fur­ther, or­ga­niz­ers have sched­uled the MWC2017 so that as the Worlds wrap up, there will be a chance to stick around for a cou­ple days to take part in the En­gadin Ski Marathon, with its course just a short train ride away!

For Amer­i­can skiers, AXCS will be an­nounc­ing the non-profit travel pack­age to the MWC2017 in Spring 2016, so re­new your mem­ber­ship to­day at www.xc­ski­

Then, in 2018, the world will be com­ing to North Amer­ica. Ex­act dates for the MWC2018 are still pend­ing due to the Su­per Bowl, which is also tak­ing place in Min­neapo­lis in Win­ter 2018. The best guess at this point is that the MWC2018 will be Jan. 19-26, im­me­di­ately fol­lowed by the City of Lakes Lop­pet week­end, with the Su­per Bowl a week­end later.

Min­neapo­lis, Minn. will ar­guably be one of the eas­ily ac­cessed Worlds in his­tory, with daily di­rect flights from des­ti­na­tions through­out North Amer­ica as well as sev­eral Euro­pean gate­ways. Plus, thou­sands of Masters live within a com­fort­able one-day drive of the U.S.A.'S up­per Mid­west and cen­trally-lo­cated Cana­dian prov­inces.

With races held at Theodore Wirth Park just min­utes from down­town (you lit­er­ally see the sky­scrapers from sev­eral spots on the trails), the MWC2018 has the po­ten­tial to be the largest and most ex­cit­ing Masters Worlds in his­tory. Hun­dreds of lodg­ing op­tions ex­ist across the metro area, but the real fun will be stay­ing in the heart of down­town with its con­ve­nient light-rail con­nec­tions to dozens of metro attractions, in­clud­ing the Mall of Amer­ica, con­certs and NBA and NHL games.

Re­mem­ber that all the work and long years of plan­ning that go into fu­ture North Amer­i­can Masters events is only pos­si­ble with strong na­tional Masters or­ga­ni­za­tions. An­nual mem­ber­ship is the key to mak­ing sure ex­cit­ing and fun events keep hap­pen­ing year af­ter year. Join or re­new with your as­so­ci­a­tion to­day! In Canada, go to www.cana­; in the U.S.A., go to www.xc­ski­

For Amer­i­can skiers, it's not at all too early to note that you will be re­quired to have a na­tional Masters as­so­ci­a­tion mem­ber­ship in or­der to take part in the MWC2018. If you sign up for a three-year AXCS mem­ber­ship now, you'll not only re­ceive the best ben­e­fit pack­age in the XC ski world at the cheap­est dues pos­si­ble (less than $34 per year!), you'll also en­joy that mem­ber­ship up to and in­clud­ing the 2018 Worlds!

Also note that AXCS also fea­tures a me­dia-only in­ter­na­tional mem­ber­ship (in­for­ma­tion at xc­ski­, so Cana­di­ans can en­joy its tremen­dous me­dia ben­e­fits as an add-on to their Cana­dian as­so­ci­a­tion mem­ber­ship.

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