Development of WMA

Transfer of Presidency from Bill Gairdner to Dieter Heckmann

The Canadian winter ski resort Morin Heights has invited in February 1980 104 masters cross-country skiers from the U.S., Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Canada to participate at the first “World Masters XC Championships”. In Uppsala/Sweden in February 1982 already 350 masters skiers have competed at the 2nd event.


Foundation for the yearly organized and Masters World Cups called events has has been layed by the Canadian Bill Gairdner in Uppsala when he proposed the founding of a worldwide masters association. All participants have accepted his ideas.


Representatives of 14 skiing nations met in Zürich on June 13, 1982 and concluded the foundation of “The World Masters Cross-Country Ski Association”, called WMA.

Most important facts determined during foundation meeting were:

  • WMA is composed of the Presidency as well as one National Director per member nation. 
  • Essential decisions will be made during the Annual Meeting being held once a year. 
  • Bill Gairdner, Canada, was elected as first President. 
  • Next Presidents were Dieter Heckmann, Germany/Switzerland, from 1992-2006 and Thomas Heckmann, Germany, from 2007-2014. 
  • In 2015 John Downing, USA, became elected. 
  • The basis of the co-operation with F.I.S. is written down in a mutually signed Affiliation Agreement.  

  • Own competition rules - accordingly adjusted to ICR of F.I.S. -  became established. 
  • The name "World Masters XC Championships" became replaced by  "Masters World Cup".

Starting signal for the 1st official Masters World Cup has been given in Telemark/Wisconsin, USA in February 1983 for 520 participants from 20 skiing nations.

After their retirement Bill Gairdner and Dieter Heckmann became nominated as Honorary Presidents, while longtime Vice Presidence and Technical Co-ordinator Sepp Schelbert, Switzerland, as first Honorary Member of WMA.  

Increasing number of participants show the significant interest in the Masters World Cup events.

Many wellknown winter sport resorts, e.g. Oslo, Seefeld, Kiruna, Lake Placid, Lillehammer, Rovaniemi, Quebec City, Toblach, Syktyvkar and Klosters have hosted Masters World Cups.

Awarding of an event is being made 3 years ahead through the Board Members of WMA. 

One of the main goals of the masters movement and WMA - in addition to the physical exercise on skies and fair contest in the tracks - is to contribute also the understanding among nations.