From Owies to Wowies

Posted by Jeff Wilhelm, Garrott Kuzzy, Lumi Experiences on May 2nd 2024

From Owies to Wowies

From Owies to Wowies, by Jeff Wilhelm

Sign up by next Sunday, May 12 for guaranteed Marcialonga entry!

Marcialonga registration for the general population opens next month and all 8,000 spots typically fill within minutes. Getting a spot in the 2025 Marcialonga might be even more competitive than in the past as skiers from around the world aim to ski it when it’s scheduled to run as usual. The 2026 Marcialonga dates are uncertain, since the course goes through Cavalese’s Val di Fiemme ski stadium, the 2026 Olympic venue for cross-country skiing.

As an official Tour Operator of the Marcialonga, Lumi Experiences has special access to guaranteed entries for guests on our Dolomitenlauf & Marcialonga (waitlist-only) and Marcialonga & König Ludwig Lauf trips. If skiing the Marcialonga is on your list, I highly recommend skiing it in 2025 when you can ski through the future Olympic stadium as the infrastructure is developing in preparation for the Olympics.

There’s one more week to receive guaranteed entry in the Marcialonga when you save your spot on Lumi’s 2025 Marcialonga & König Ludwig Lauf trip by next Sunday, May 12. In the following post, Lumi guest Jeff Wilhelm reflects on his and his wife Peggy’s 2024 Marcialonga & König Ludwig Lauf trip experience… check it out!

Don’t you love how our devices order us around? “MOVE!” “GET MORE REM SLEEP!”? By the end of the activities described here, my Garmin informed me: TRAINING READINESS: ZERO! REST 120 HOURS!” That summarizes the Lumi Experience week: 3 marathons in 6 days and now – total KAPUTT-NESS! Let me explain how our Lumi tour made this happen!

Marcialonga: pronounced MARCH – EE- A LONG A, as in “march a (freaking) long way!” This is an amazing 70km race through the Dolomites’ Val di Fiemme. The course winds through medieval villages, wending through narrow streets and past ancient churches, up through the quaint town of Canazei, then down and past the Predazzo ski jump venue and through the Lago Tresoro Nordic and Biathlon area, all 2026 Olympic venues. The citizen crowds exuded effervescent energy and conviviality, enthusiastically cheered us on, hanging out windows and waving crazy wooden clicking ratchets that looked like a Rube Goldberg washboard (used to celebrate Easter) and yelling “Bravi, Bravi, Bravi”! Truly a unique experience. The course was icy with some technical turns. I was taken out twice, was involved in two pile-ups, and once fell all on my very own without apparent reason. But I did finish, and with a smile on my face.

In my previous blog I wrote about the attention and care Lumi trip leaders gave to my non-skiing wife who is a person with disabilities. All the hotels had spas and one a swimming pool of which Peggy made daily use. At the Marcialonga, the trip leaders offered to follow my race progress on the race app, and then escort Peggy from our hotel to the finish so she could watch my glorious progress over the race-ending climb up the Cascado. She declined, saying “Jeff will be so happy to tell me all about it later!” Which is true. Still, the continuous support was always appreciated. After hearing about my race, Peg’s assessment: “You went from Owies to Wowies!”

By the day of the Marcialonga, we knew that the König Ludwig Lauf had been canceled due to unusual hurricane-like rains north of the Alps. One of the great advantages of the Lumi trip was Garrott’s problem-solving: he definitely expressed a Bob the Builder/Growth Mindset: “Can we fix it? YES WE CAN!” With unanimous enthusiasm, we pivoted to ski the famous Dobbaccio to Cortina classic marathon. Lumi booked us a bus for 3 am the next Saturday to head back to South Tirol, at no extra cost to us. “I know you all came to ski” was his comment. After a walking tour of Innsbruck, we spent three plus wonderful days in Seefeld, Austria, a Nordic nirvana, with the trails right across from our Mountains hotel. We skied into the mountains and stopped for coffee or a meal at remote meadow guesthouses.

When a König Ludwig Lauf dispensation was granted on Thursday night, the whole group skied the König Ludwig Lauf on a 300m track (70 laps, anyone?) to earn the coveted passport stamp. We could see the ribbon of ice that was the true course, and it looked beautiful, winding through forests and alpine meadows amongst the mountains. Most of the group decided to stick with the so-called “Cortina plan”, and arose at 3 am to bus back down into Italy, skiing what must be the world’s most visually spectacular race course surrounded by the towering Dolomiti peaks.

When I passed Valentina, one of our two Lumi trip leaders, I yelled to her: Wie weit noch? (How much further?) She yelled back: Je schneller, desto weniger! (The faster you ski, the less it will be!) We skied into the Nordic stadium, over three hills and into the finish.

3 marathons in 6 days, baby: achieving 135km of racing in that span. And now: my watch tells me I need 119 more hours of complete rest! I have to improve that training readiness! More marathons await!

Three marathons might be excessive for a ski vacation, but on the 2025 Marcialonga & König Ludwig Lauf trip -- get two Worldloppet passport stamps in 10 days on this fully-supported trip. Sign up by Sunday, May 12 for guaranteed entry in the Marcialonga and to save $100 per person!

Alternatively, leave the ski racing to your favorite World Cup skiers on Lumi’s Tour de Ski trip. Cheer them up the infamous Alpe Cermis hill climb in the same village of Cavalese and get out for lots of skiing on our guests favorite trails in Italy yourself, in both Passo Lavazé and Seiser Alm.

See you on the trail,