Racing for hours at a time is an entirely different kind of challenge than racing a 5 or a 10k and especially in the United States, the longer of these challenges tends to receive far less attention on the professional level.
However, the Central Cross-Country Ski Association (CXC) is making plans to move ahead with the creation of an elite Worldloppet team. Athletes on the team would compete in the American Birkebeiner and Vassaloppet, the Norwegian Birkebeiner, and the Swedish Vassaloppet among other events.
“The CXC Worldloppet Team will not only provide an opportunity for our top athletes to race overseas, but will also provide a great opportunity for our fans, especially CXC Masters Team members, to rub shoulders with our best marathon athletes,” explained CXC Executive and Athletic Director Yuriy Gusev.
The Worldloppet Team roster will be comprised of current CXC athletes, to be selected based on results after the American Birkebeiner. Coaching for the Worldloppet Team would simply become another title for CXC Elite Team coaches Jason Cork and Gus Kaeding. “It will not be any additional work,” Gusev noted, “because most of the athletes will be the same.”
For skiers who don’t make the World Championship team, the Worldloppet Team will provide a fantastic opportunity to race internationally in Europe.