37. Marcialonga memories and memorabilia

by Jim Beckner –

My wife’s name is Marcia. So when it came to considering which ten Worldloppets we would attend to garner our Masters gold pin it was a no-brainer that we would take in Italy’s Marcialonga. Gotta do it! As she declared, “If there’s a loppet which is my namesake I’d better ski it!”

So in January, 2006, we headed from Canada to Italy to ski the Marcialonga. A bit of an adventure getting to Bolzano with snowstorms that grounded and delayed our flights but eventually we were on the bus wending our way upwards through the road’s hairpin after hairpin – leaving Bolzano awash in palm trees and eventually finding ourselves in snow in the beautiful Val de Fiemme. Terribly keen to get our bib package and settle in we made our way to the hall in Cavalese to pick up our bibs and avail ourselves of any and all memorabilia akin to the Marcialonga event. Marcia is an avid collector of memorabilia from each event we have ever entered and this one was going to be extra special – each item would have her name on it! Excitedly eyeing up all the possibilities in the auditorium where the Marcialonga memorabilia was being sold, Marcia made her way to the gal behind the closest counter selling Marcialonga caps. “My name is Marcia”, she expectantly announced. “My name is Christa”, the girl replied, not the least bit impressed by the fact that this woman in front of her had the same name as the loppet. Quite disappointing that this gal did not really get it! A couple of kiosks later, having run into the same reaction to her introduction finally Marcia was met by a woman who exclaimed, “That’s wonderful! You have a very special name!  You are going to have to buy everything with your name on it!” And she did. . .  vest, cap, water bottle, scarf. . . the whole gambit! A very special haul of memorabilia!

We had signed up for the 70km Marcialonga event since we are keen to get the gold pin and knew we had to do the full distance in each Worldloppet in order to gain that gold pin. A wonderful course, wending its way through small villages and along the river bank. Lots of supporters along the route cheering us on. A spectacular day! And then we came to this rather daunting looking hill at the 67km mark. Tired from the day’s skiing and eager to reach the finish we were initially crushed by the thought of this climb. Then we were approached by a Toko wax tech who offered to klister up our skis to attack the hill and make the final 2.5km a breeze. He undid our ski bindings, took the skis and ran them along a revolving drum of klister, put them back in the track and we clicked in and charged up the hill, passing those unfortunate individuals who had not taken advantage of the Toko service.

Lots of great memories – and Marcialonga memorabilia!

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