Norwegian Season Wrap-up: Vasaloppet Victory And What Else?

FasterSkierJuly 13, 2004

The Norwegian 2003-04 ski season is ready for the archives. The season’s final event – Skarverennet, the year’s biggest race as far as participation, is coming up. This is the ski community’s answer to a cross between the annual Las Vegas Grateful Dead and Rockabilly gathering.

This skate race will again attract the usual 10-15,000 participants. The only real (high) value we can hope to achieve from this race might (at the very best) be the birth of a “super gene baby” as a result of some of the “after skiing” activities following the race. and other sports’ media has long ago concluded that the season’s result were “just about medium”. The directors and coaches have as usual come forward and announced that “they have a plan” and that “things are moving forward”.

The male veterans raced ok — nothing more. Those who have been looking for new skiers to follow up Alsgaard, Daehlie and Ulvang’s success are disappointed.
Sprint success can, according to most Norwegians, not make up for a large number of normal distance World Cup races where Norwegian male racers “parked”, and had nothing to do with the final outcome of the race.

The generation shift seems to go smoother on the women’s side. It’s not hard to imagine that Stemland, Steira, Bjorgen and Company will be able to fill the void left by Bente Skari.

Our male long distance skiers did well — and then some. As a conclusion this season might, from a ski historic perspective, be remembered as the season when after a 30-year drought a Norwegian succeeded in winning the Swedish Vasaloppet. And that was even with using something as un-Norwegian and un-sportsman like behavior as tactics!

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