Americans Take Home 46 Medals from World Masters in Seefeld


It’s been a bumpy few years for the Masters World Cup, the flagship race series of the World Masters Cross-Country Ski Association.

The 2019 championships were held in Beitostølen, Norway, and were a success and a delight (source: I raced in them, and found them delightful). The 2020 championships, in Cogne, Italy, were all systems go as of February 24, 2020, then were quietly canceled four days later as northern Italy became an epidemiological war zone and the emerging scope of the pandemic became clear. The would-be 2021 championships, in Canmore, Alberta, were ultimately postponed to 2022. No Russian athletes competed in Canmore last year; the competitions are FIS races, and a ban on Russian and Belarusian nationals was already in effect.

F5 silver medal relay team – including, in no particular order, Trina Hosmer, Suzanne Corkran, Sharon Crawford, and Carolyn Tiernan – 2023 World Masters, Seefeld, Austria. (photo: courtesy Alison Arians)

In 2023, racing continued in Seefeld, Austria, with the 41st edition of the Masters World Cup earlier this month. Athletes could enter up to three individual races from a slate of six races total — short distance, middle distance, and long distance, one each in classic and skate — plus potentially a relay, if they qualified to represent their nation. All races were mass start. Field sizes ranged from fairly small (the youngest and oldest ends of the field typically had single-digit entrants for each five-year age range, and the women’s fields were far sparser than the men’s) to fairly large, with as many as 59 starters in the 7km skate race for men aged 60 to 64 (M7).

Conditions in Seefeld seem to have been decidedly vernal, with daytime temperatures during race week frequently above 50° F and courses heroically rearranged at the last minute due to snow conditions and limited terrain availability.

F2 gold medal relay team – from left, Alison Arians, Lindsey Bengtson, Shannon Brockman, and Natalie Dawson – 2023 World Masters, Seefeld, Austria. (photo: courtesy Alison Arians)

“Gray slush and standing water made for a hard slog,” read one participant’s publicly available Strava title (this for a race where they made the podium!). “Relay on ice,” another activity was captioned, for a race held early in the morning following an overnight freeze. “A ribbon of snow/ice in Seefeld,” another participant proclaimed. Racing in the second half of March + central Europe + climate change = maybe something less than a winter wonderland.

Warm temperatures forced a last-minute change to the event program, including shorter courses and shorter races. The shortened courses featured 24 meters of climb per kilometer for the “5km lite” course (4.16km, 98m TC), 26 meters of climb per kilometer for the 5km course (4.83km, 124m TC), and 26 meters of climb per kilometer for the 7km course (6.23km, 163m TC).

“It was by no means taken for granted that the MWC could be held, but the Bavarian ski club [host club SC Monte Kaolino Hirschau] did everything to provide the best possible conditions for the participants from 25 nations despite the most difficult snow and weather conditions,” event organizers wrote after the fact.

Athletes were very appreciative of these efforts. Speaking to the challenging conditions, Alison Arians noted via email, “The racers who were there were very grateful to the herculean efforts of the race volunteers to make all the races happen! Certainly not a given, with the warm conditions and minimal snow. We had a wonderful time and so appreciate the folks who worked mightily to hold the race series.”

From left, Sandra Wagenführ (Switzerland), Alison Arians (USA), and Birgit Eischer (Austria), F5 15km skate podium, 2023 World Masters, Seefeld, Austria. (photo: courtesy Alison Arians)

At the end of the week of racing, Germany topped the medal table, with 72 medals total, followed by Finland with 63 and Italy with 56. The U.S. was fifth, with 46 medals, 17 of them gold. Alison Arians of Alaska and Jan Guenther of Minnesota each took home four gold medals.

Below are all 46 American medalists from the week of racing. Full results are linked in at the bottom of the article. Other strong results of note that were just off the podium include perennial contender Barry Makarewicz’s multiple fifth-place finishes in the deep M7 division (roughly 55 finishers per race), Kent Murdoch’s sixth in M7, Jan Buron’s fourth and fifth in M6 (ca. 35 finishers), and Seth Downs’s two fourth-place finishes in M5 (40 finishers).

Shannon Brockman, left, and USST development coach Greta Anderson, 2023 World Masters, Seefeld, Austria. Anderson, whose official job title has her working with athletes at least a decade too young to compete at World Masters, was on site to watch some of the races after OPA Cup Finals wrapped up in nearby Toblach, on the theory that development happens at every age. (photo: courtesy Shannon Brockman)

Finally, here is a gallery of all the rest of the photos that I have from last week. Disclosure, these images are very heavy on my friends from Anchorage, since, well, that’s who I had contact information for and could most easily ask for photos from.

I previously put out a call for more World Masters photos on the Nordic Insights Instagram story, to no avail. If you’ve read this far and have photos of non-Alaskans racing last week, I would love to include them here. Please be in touch: info (at) nordicinsights (dot) news. Thanks.


March 19, short distance

7km skate

F1: Lettie Stratton, third

F3: Lindsey Bengtson, third

F5: Alison Arians, first

F7: Kelly Allison, first

F8: Muffy Ritz, third

5km skate

F9: Peggy Wiltberger, second

F10: Sharon Crawford, third

5km classic

M10: John Wood, second

M13: Charles French, first

F9: Carolyn Tiernan, first; Suzanne Corkran, second

F10: Trina Hosmer, first

March 20, middle distance classic

15km classic

F8: Mary Heller Osgood, second

10km classic

F9: Suzanne Corkran, second; Gretchen Lindgren, third

F10: Trina Hosmer, first

F11: Audrae Coury, second

March 21, middle distance skate

20km skate

M5: Seth Downs, third

15km skate

F3: Lindsey Bengtson, third

F5: Alison Arians, first

F7: Jan Guenther, first; Kelly Allison, second

F8: Muffy Ritz, third

10km skate

F9: Peggy Wiltberger, first

F10: Sharon Crawford, second

M11: Bob Gray, second

March 22, relay day! (4 x 5km relay, classic–classic–skate–skate)

Women 40–49ish (Natalie Dawson, Shannon Brockman, Lindsey Bengtson, Alison Arians): first

Women 60–69ish (Mary Heller Osgood, Muffy Ritz, Kelly Allison, Jan Guenther): first

Women 70+ (Trina Hosmer, Suzanne Corkran, Sharon Crawford, Carolyn Tiernan): second

M5 (Jan Buron, Richard Feldman, Thomas Wood, Seth Downs): third

March 23, long distance skate

20km skate

F3: Natalie Dawson, first; Lindsey Bengtson, second

F5: Alison Arians, first

M7: Barry Makarewicz, second

15km skate

F7: Jan Guenther, first; Kelly Allison, second

F8: Muffy Ritz, third

10km skate

F9: Carolyn Tiernan, first; Peggy Wiltberger, second

F10: Trina Hosmer, first

M11: Bob Gray, second; Odd Osland, third

March 24, long distance classic

15km classic

F7: Jan Guenther, first

F8: Mary Heller Osgood, third

10km classic

F9: Suzanne Corkran, third

M3: John Wood, third

Results (all races) | Official event photos (will be available here soon)

— Gavin Kentch

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