Dolomiten Lauf

Service in Dolomitenlauf Style

By Epp Paal, Worldloppet CEO –

You always remember your first times the most, whatever they are: the first school day, the first boyfriend or the first ski marathon. My first Worldloppet passport stamp was earned at Dolomitenlauf, where I headed to with two good friends of mine – the angel team- in January 2008.

This trip was a blast, we had lot of fun and made a bunch of new friends. But this story is not about the waxing conditions – even after 12 years, this is rocket science for me –  nor about how some people thought that we came to replace the mouse-mascots at the start, what we did not,  nor about how we managed to fill our car with petrol instead of diesel, which also happened. This story is about “how to meet customers’ expectations” 🙂

Being a less than an average skier, you always stop at every feeding station to enjoy the local menu, which varies a lot from country to country. From pickles in Estonia to gummy bears in Australia. And being a beginner, you try your beginners’ luck. At the arrival to the first feeding station, volunteers rushed towards us to treat us with drinks and snacks. To cheer up the volunteers, I asked for a gin-and-tonic. “Sorry, we do not have that” was the answer. Ok, tea will do then, we agreed friendly.

This did not stop me from making the same joke at the next feeding station. Still no gin-and tonic on the menu, very sorry. Too bad: the weather is nice, the sun is shining, only one really good cocktail is missing on this Sunday afternoon. Ok, please tell the race director, that that is an international standard and ask him to be ready for next year.

But for Austrians being good hosts is a matter of honor and they take it seriously. At the arrival to the third station I did not need to ask for anything. They were ready before I could open my mouth: one volunteer was running towards me with a bottle in his hand “We do not have a gin-and-tonic, but maybe Birnenschnaps will do?” It was heartwarming to see how people try to do their best for the skiers and, of course, how well the information flow runs between the feeding stations … Prost! It is not scientifically proved that this helped me to finish my first ski marathon, but the enthusiasm of these service station’s volunteers was something that made my day at that race.

This year, I skied my second time the long race at Dolomitenlauf and I can assure that nothing has changed in Tyrol.

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