Swedish Vasaloppet – the challenge – 6 March 2005

FasterSkierMarch 4, 2005

Vasaloppet – the very word has a kind of magical resonance. But it's a magic charged with more than a hint of challenge, of a test of courage, of blood, sweat and, maybe, tears.

Vasaloppet can be placed with many other customary male virility symbols – gladiatorial combat, elk hunting, ironman, and so on – but, of course, there are many women on the course, and their numbers are increasing every year. Women who press themselves to the limit in their quest for a good result and time over the 90km from Salen to Mora. Preparation, focus, fully-charged batteries..with many miles behind you, Vasaloppet will be the winter's highpoint. Rhythm, breathing, speed… This is not a race for the untrained! Vasaloppet – the challenge of the year!

Vasaloppet is the oldest, the longest, and the biggest cross-country ski race in the world. It's an international competition over 90 km in classic style open to both men and women.Come, join us, and be part of it all, as participant or spectator at the mass start at 8.00am on the first Sunday in March – every year!

418,672 women and men have successfully completed this 90km track through the woods from Salen to Mora. The great challenge attracts all sorts of skiers, from the true recreational skier aiming only to make Mora before the 8.00pm closing time, to the finest elite skier, there for victory and honor. That the glory and honor is backed up by cash prizes, spurt prizes, and valuable special prizes makes the competition even more tempting and prestigious. The course record, which stands at 3.38.57, was set in 1998's Vasaloppet by Peter Gransson from Asarna. In a thrilling duel, he won over Mora's Staffan Larsson on the finishing line.

Vasaloppet is the culmination of an intensive week of skiing in Dalarna, a week which would be completely impossible without the thousands of working hours which all the voluntary helpers and officials freely give. More than 3000 people, from all age groups, work continually to improve the arrangements, and to get in a little money for the activities of their own club or association. Vasaloppet thereby makes a valuable contribution to the smaller clubs and associations, making possible youth work for some 40 clubs in the Siljan and Slen areas.The first Sunday in March, every year, is a red letter day! Around 14,000 expectant, nervous, trembling skiers stand there seeded into ten groups, with some 350 elite skiers at the front, in this kilometre long, richly coloured crowd. First timers are mixed with veterans with more than 30 races under their belts, enthusiastic cock-a-hoop youths must see themselves surpassed by experienced pensioners, fresh as a daisy women speed away from sweaty, snivelling men, and the whole blended into a glorious experience where each and every skier who glides in under the motto “In the footsteps of our forefathers for the victories of tomorrow” is a winner.

Source: Vasaloppet website


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