Just when you thought the ski season was over, Norway hosted one of the world’s biggest ski marathons, the 38 k Skarverennet, on Saturday morning. About 12,220 skiers competed in the race that runs from Finse to Ustaoset, high in the mountains.
Therese Johaug won in 1:41:33, defeating Norwegian teammate Marit Bjoergen by 19.8 seconds. Martine Ek Hagen took third, one-tenth behind Bjoergen.
Johaug took it out hard up a long incline out of Finse, and Bjoergen never truly challenged her. Johaug’s victory is her sixth in a row on the Skarverennet, making her the undisputed queen of the race.
On the men’s side, last year’s runner-up Chris Jespersen bested Petter Northug by five seconds, clocking in at 1:31:24. Jespersen led for the last 8 k to hold off Northug, who had worked his way through the field from 1:19 back to come within striking distance of Jespersen.
In contrast to the women’s race, which was a 1 through 11 Norwegian sweep, a few international men snuck into the top of the results. Russia’s Eugeniy Dementiev finished third in a close finish with defending champion Jean Marc Gaillard (FRA), both posting official times of 1:32:32.
The region around Finse and Ustaoset had experienced unpleasant wind and snow in the days leading up to the marathon, but the weather gods obligingly cleared the skis in time for the start on Saturday, making for perfect end-of-season conditions.
Audrey Mangan (@audreymangan) is an Associate Editor at FasterSkier and lives in Colorado. She learned to love skiing at home in Western New York.