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25 February, 2016

Following the King: Vasaloppet

In celebration of the Swedish King, Gustav Vasa and his supporters, this 90km cross country skiing race is reputed to be one of the toughest in Europe. 

Starting at 8am on the first weekend in March in a field outside Sälen, the route takes in the beautiful countryside of Dalarna, including some pretty steep hills (up and down), a few lakes and some pretty dull, but welcome, flat sections before finishing in small, otherwise fairly sleepy, town of Mora.

I’ve not done this race, but I have been the chaffeur/support team for friends a few times and it really is quite spectatcular to see the 15,000 or so people ready to start at silly o’clock in the morning. This particular view can be enjoyed on TV from the comfort of ones home, if standing around in the cold/wet for a few hours doesn’t appeal 🙂

vasaloppet

Vasaloppet – Right before the start.

In addition to the entusiastic amateurs, the elite skiiers also take part. Whilst presumeably not the most lucrative race, it is certainly an issue of pride, especially for those from nordic countries, for the professionals to win the Vasaloppet.

Because of the historical nature of the race, only classic style is allowed. Depending upon weather conditions, the elites skiers arrive in Mora after about 4 hours.

In 2015 the first to cross the line had a time of 4hr 1min, which is approximately the same time as it takes to drive from the start to the finish!

The hundreds of volunteers handing out refreshments along the route are fantastic, especially those who cheer on the exhausted-looking skiers!

So, check out SVT Play on March 6th!

Written by Rona Strawbridge

Rona is a reformed couch potato who enjoys training in the gym, cycling, cross-country skiing and occasionally punishes herself with running. Whilst not particularly competitive, she enjoys a challenge to help her maintain her philosophy of exercising enough so she can eat whatever she likes. Her achievements to date include completing Vätternrundan and the halvklassiker.

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