Source: Norwegian Newspaper Aftenposten
Cross country skiing wants a World Championship in their most extreme event, long distance marathon racing. There are now serious discussions making long distance marathon racing a World Championship event in years without Olympics or regular Worlds. The next possibility for that is in 2008.
The Swedish 90-kilometer classic style Vasaloppet is the most likely candidate for such an event. Jurg Kapol of FIS has been in Sweden lately preparing for Vasaloppet's inclusion in the World Cup in 2006 according to Skidsport.com. Mr. Capol even skied the entire race distance (90 km) during the “Open Track” on Tuesday.
It’ especially Norway, Sweden, Finland and Estonia that’s currently pushing for this.
“We think that a World Championship status will bring more focus and attention to the long distance events. The Marathon cup is lacking attention since the quality of the top skiers hasn’t been good enough. We can do something about that,” says head of the cross country committee Hermod Bjorkestol.
The Marathon races are the big events in many countries. Vasaloppet is bigger than anything in Sweden. Engadin is the biggest race in Switzerland. The same goes for Transjurasienne in France and partly for Marcialonga in Italy.
The soul of cross country skiing was about skiing far. Using 3-4 hours in the 50-kilometer was common three decades ago. It’s now down toward two hours.
“We need to keep some of the old traditions and do something about the marathon races. There are powerful interests in this, you can see that from the participation and interests,” says Bjorkestol.
So you are (relatively) young and good in long distance events and want to compete in this race four years from now?
Start double poling this summer is Fasterskier.com’s suggestion.