BEITOSTØLEN, Norway — Team USA led the participation numbers while Russia topped the medal table in the 2019 Masters World Cup, the annual competition for skiers aged 30 and over that wrapped up in this mountainside hamlet on Thursday. Roughly 1,000 skiers from 26 different nations, from the predictable (Norway, Finland) to the unexpected (Thailand!), made their way to the Oppland region for seven days of competition and up to four races per athlete, three individual races plus potentially the relay.
To say that the competition had an effect on Beitostølen is an understatement. The resort community has an official population of only a few thousand; Mayor Kjell Berge Melbybråten, who was also the Chief of Stadium, welcomed visitors and noted that the town’s population was increasing by nearly thirty percent during the races. Athletes in matching team jackets walked the city streets, bought out the entire stock of yogurt at the SPAR grocery store, and washed their hands incessantly. It was like being at a scaled-down Winter Olympics, if everyone involved were older and slower.
But not that much slower. The need to set courses that would be suitable for the oldest athletes (an M13 skier, Charles French, competed this year; he was born in 1926, during the Coolidge Administration), combined with fast conditions for several of the middle days of competition, led to some eye-catching times. The fastest time for the 10-kilometer freestyle race was 21:48, which will win virtually any World Cup 10 k. Heck, the fastest women’s time, 25:44, would be competitive in some men’s World Cup races.
(It should go without saying that the Beitostølen courses were substantially easier than a homologated FIS course. This reporter finished the 10 k skate in Beitostølen in 24:29. He completed 10 k skate races on homologated courses earlier this season in 32:08 and 33:13, albeit in relatively slow snow conditions that each time slowed winner Gus Schumacher’s time to 26 minutes and change. This reporter is not a faster skier than Gus Schumacher.)
An M7 skier finished the 15 k skate in 37:34. An F5 skier covered the same distance in 43:51 (albeit after several hundred men had already tracked up the course; race organizers put men on the course first in nearly all of the races).
All that said, it snowed roughly a foot between the relays (last Tuesday) and the distance classic races (Wednesday), leading to markedly slower times in fresh snow and soft courses. Up to half the field either did not start or did not finish some divisions of Wednesday’s races.
The organization was generally impeccable throughout the competition, with some exceptions. The decision to forego bringing in additional portable toilets, and to host roughly 500 athletes per day at a venue with only five permanent toilets, fell somewhere between noteworthy and puzzling.
American medalists are listed below for all races over seven days of competition. Simple results are available here; live timing with detailed splits is currently available here. All races were held in a mass start format.
Middle distance classic (March 8, 2019)
F4 15 k classic, Shannon Brockman, 3rd
F7 15 k classic, Magdalena Bowen, 3rd
F11 10 k classic, Patricia Kaald, 2nd; Barbara Lewis, 3rd
M1 30 k classic, Paul Allison, 1st
M13 10 k classic, Charles French, 1st
Middle distance skate (March 9, 2019)
F2 15 k skate, Lindsey Bengtson, 1st; Sonja Johnsen, 2nd
F4 15 k skate, Molly Zurn, 2nd
F5 15 k skate, Laura McCabe, 1st
F6 15 k skate, Betsy Youngman, 1st
F9 10 k skate, Trina Hosmer, 1st
F11 10 k skate, Joanne Davis, 2nd
M8 15 k skate, David Johnston, 2nd
M10 10 k skate, Bob Gray, 3rd
Short distance classic (March 10, 2019)
F3 10 k classic, Inge Scheve, 3rd
F5 10 k classic, Laura McCabe, 3rd
F6 10 k classic, Betsy Youngman, 1st
F7 10 k classic, Magdalena Bowen, 3rd
F9 5 k classic, Trina Hosmer, 1st
F11 5 k classic, Patricia Kaald, 2nd
M1 10 k classic, Phillip Violett, 2nd
M13 5 k classic, Charles French, 1st
Short distance skate (March 10, 2019)
F2 10 k skate, Lindsey Bengtson, 1st; Sonja Johnsen, 3rd
F8 10 k skate, Carolyn Tiernan, 3rd
F11 5 k skate, Joanne Davis, 1st
M8 10 k skate, David Johnston, 1st
M10 5 k skate, Odd Osland, 3rd
4 x 5 k relay (classic–classic–skate–skate, March 12, 2019)
F1/F2, Team USA (Donna Difolco, Emily Lovett, Cynthia Decker, Lindsey Bengtson), 2nd
F5/F6, Team USA (Betsy Youngman, Magdalena Bowen, Tricia Swartling, Laura McCabe), 1st
F7/F8, Team USA (Muffy Ritz, Mary Heller Osgood, Dorothy Childers, Katie Meyer), 3rd
F9/F10, Team USA (Trina Hosmer, Nancy Bauer, Sharon Crawford, Carol Monteverde), 3rd
M1, Team USA (Phillip Violett, Rune Harkestad, Gavin Kentch, Karl Walczak), 3rd
M6, Team USA (Barry Makarewicz, Odd Bersvendsen, Milan Baic, Kent Murdoch), 3rd
Long distance classic (March 13, 2019)
F3 30 k classic, Inge Scheve, 3rd
F6 30 k classic, Betsy Youngman, 1st
F9 15 k classic, Trina Hosmer, 1st
F11 15 k classic, Patricia Kaald, 2nd
M1 45 k classic, Phillip Violett, 2nd
M13 15 k classic, Charles French, 1st
Long distance skate (March 14, 2019)
F2 30 k skate, Lindsey Bengtson, 1st
F4 30 k skate, Molly Zurn, 3rd
F5 30 k skate, Laura McCabe, 1st
F8 30 k skate, Ginny Price, 2nd; Carolyn Tiernan, 3rd
F11 15 k skate, Joanne Davis, 2nd
M1 45 k skate, Matthew Rossman, 3rd
M6 45 k skate, Barry Makarewicz, 2nd
M10 15 k skate, Bob Gray, 2nd
Gavin Kentch is a lifelong Alaskan. He skis with the Alaska Pacific University Masters team in Anchorage, plays with his two adorable daughters, and occasionally works as a solo attorney. He has a cat named Marit. He was probably on snow this year before you were.