Merino Muster

US Olympic Gold Medalist Diggins tries to defend Merino Muster vicotry

More than 250 athletes from at least 19 countries will be lining up next to US gold medallist Jessie Diggins on September 1st for the 24th edition of the Worldloppet Merino Muster.

Jessie Diggins & the US skiing team at the Merino Muster

Compared to last year, the starting field increased by 50 skiers. One of them is very familiar with the Snow Farm on the Pisa Range, the venue of the Merino Muster. It’s last two years winner from USA: The Olympic Gold medalist from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics this February, Jessie Diggins (27). Again she is training in New Zealand with the US ski team. Other members of the team, such as Julia Kern, Sophie Caldwell & Andy Newell are also signed up for the Merino Muster. Among them we also find Simeon Hamilton, who is Merino Muster Champion from 2017.


Hot fight between Diggins & Dabudyk predicted

But to defend her victory for the second time in a row, it won’t be easy for Diggins. Another great skier is on her way to the Cardrona Valley. Her name is well known among the family of Worldloppet. It’s Aurelie Dabudyk from France. Three times in a row, she won the FIS Worldloppet Cup overall, last weekend she got 2nd at the Kangaroo Hoppet & now she strives for her first Worldloppet victory this season! 

Worldloppet skiers & Kiwi junior skiers on 42, 21 & 7 km

Peripatetic Worldloppet marathoners Josef Kral and Ivana Kralova, of the Czech Republic, have also entered. Worldloppet masters are athletes who have completed a Worldloppet accredited marathon in 10 or more countries. Kral and Kralova have pursued their cross country passion in 14 times in different nations and have previously raced the Merino Muster. Many Worldloppet masters & those who want to become one, travelled to New Zealand for collecting a stamp to their passport. For now these nations have entered the Merino Muster 2018: New Zealand, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Finland, USA, Japan, Liechtenstein, India, Russia, Canada, Estonia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Norway, Poland, Israel.

In addition to the 42 km main race, there are also race with a distance of 21 km and 7 km. At least 21 junior Kiwi cross country skiers will race in age group categories in the 7km Straggle Muster. The 7km race is also popular with local athletes of all ages and abilities. 




42km Merino Muster men: Simeon Hamilton, US, 1 (1:40:33); Brian Gregg, US, 2; Phillip Bellingham, Australia, 3. (recording times within one second of each other).

42km Merino Muster women: Jessica Diggins, US, 1 (1:51:42); Hannah Dreissigacker, US, 2; Britta Clark, US, 3.


21km Snow Rake men: Campbell Wright, NZ, 1 (56:05): Azzimani Samie, Morocco, 2: Gary Colliander, US, 3.

21 km Snow Rake women: Caitlin Gregg (51:22), US, 1;  Eileen Carey, US, 2: Julia Kern, US, 3.


7km Straggle Muster men: Angus Cagney, NZ, 1 (19:45).

7km Straggle Muster women: Olivia Jones, NZ, 1 (22:36) 

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