American Birkebeiner Executive Director Ben Popp elected President of the Worldloppet International Ski Federation. The Worldloppet Member delegates voted this past week at their Annual Summit in Sapporo, Japan – the venue of Sapporo Ski Marathon. 

Hayward, WI (June 17, 2024) —  Ben Popp replaces Juha Viljamaa from Lahti, Finland, who has been the representing face of the Worldloppet organization and the global cross-country skiing community for the past 8 years. During the 2016 Annual Summit in Lahti, he was elected as President of the Worldloppet International Ski Federation and served for two terms.

The Birkie plays a big role for the Federation, as Wisconsin is the place of birth of the Worldloppet concept back in 1978.

With the election of Ben Popp as Worldloppet President for the upcoming 4 years, the relation between Worldloppet and the American Birkebeiner will be even stronger.

“Worldloppet is coming home to Wisconsin now. I am honored being the new president and I am excited to bring amazing opportunities to all skiers around the world.”, says Popp.

The Worldloppet is an international sports federation of cross-country skiing marathons, founded in June 10th 1978 in Uppsala, Sweden.

The aim of Worldloppet is to promote the sport of cross-country skiing, by focusing on popular skiing through the various ski races around the world. Only one and the best ski marathon from a country can be a member of Worldloppet.

Popp’s plan to move the federation forward is focused around four pillars: adaptation, unification, collaboration and growth.

Worldloppet currently unites 20 long-distance ski races from Europe, America, Asia and Oceania. 

18 Full Members and 2 Associate Members:


  • Jizerská Padesátka (CZE)
  • Dolomitenlauf (AUT)
  • Marcialonga (ITA)
  • König Ludwig Lauf (GER)
  • Tartu Maraton (EST)
  • La Transjurassienne (FRA)
  • Finlandia-hiihto (FIN)
  • Vasaloppet (SWE)
  • Engadin Skimarathon (SUI)
  • Birkebeinerrennet (NOR)
  • Bieg Piastow (POL)
  • Demino Ski Marathon (RUS) – membership suspended starting from March 2022 until further notice
  • Fossavatn Ski Marathon (ISL)


  • American Birkebeiner (USA)
  • Gatineau Loppet (CAN)
  • Ushuaia Loppet (ARG) – associate member


  • Sapporo International Ski Marathon (JPN)
  • Vasaloppet China (CHN)

Australia & Oceania

  • Kangaroo Hoppet (AUS)
  • Merino Muster Race (NZL) – associate member

For more information about the American Birkebeiner, please visit or contact the American Birkiebeiner Ski Foundation’s Marketing and Communications Department via email at For any further information or material from the Worldloppet Federation please contact: Gunnar Zlöbl, Worldloppet Communication Manager, +43 664 53 18 456

Posted June 17, 2024 at 9:46 am