v stands for vasaloppet

A-Z 2013

Day 25; V stands for Vasaloppet – in a memory of a Royal escape.

“Cross country skiing is great if you live in a small country.”
Steven Wright

• Start: 61°6′32″N 13°17′50″O
• Finish: 61°0′25″N 14°32′44″O

All people from all countries may participate in VASALOPPET, with age limit 19 years (you should complete at least the year) and an idea of the course is to attract more people to ski. Only classical style allowed. Vasaloppet conducted on the first Sunday of March every year.

vasakarta 1 - jogg se

Vasaloppet is an endurance race on skis and is the world’s longest cross-country race. The distance is 90kilometer (roughly 55.92 miles) and goes from Berga By in Sälen to Mora in Dalarna, Sweden. The race is conducted annually, with the premiere race in 1922. Over 15,000 skiers participate in Vasaloppet and another 60,000 in the other races during Vasaloppet Week. Vasaloppet motto is “The fathers tracks for future victories” and is written on a portal across the finish line in Mora.

Vasaloppet conducted in memory of Gustav Vasa’s escape to Norway in 1521, as described in the Gustav Vasa’s adventures in Dalarna. Chronicle accuracy is disputed by some historians. Television and radio broadcasts from Vasaloppet usually followed by millions of listeners and viewers.

Vasaloppet’s history began in 1520. Sweden was then in union with Denmark. Dissatisfaction with the Danish king was great, not least of Gustav Eriksson as having opposed imprisoned in Denmark. But the 24-year-old Gustav escaped. After ashore south of Kalmar began a long and adventurous march northward. In the villages along the road called Gustav peasants to revolt against the Danish authorities, but the people would rather have peace. The hope was to Dalarna, where the people are known to be tough and rarely joins in the authorities and kings decision. Gustav was chased through Dalarna by Danish pursuers, but the people protected him from King Christian soldiers.

In 1521 Gustav began its assault with Dalesmen in the lead. It took two and a half years before the war was over, and Sweden, a free country. On June 6, 1523 elected Gustav Vasa as Sweden’s king at a parliamentary session in Strängnäs. Now he is a symbol of the world’s biggest ski race – Vasaloppet!

Vasaloppet is the world’s oldest, biggest & longest ski race. The first race was in 1922 and the classic 90 km distance from Sälen to Mora was for a long time the only race. Today Vasaloppet winter week has eight different races over ten days, with various distances to suit all ages. Since 2009 we also arrange events in the summer for cycling and running. Altogether our events in 2012 attracted a total of over 80,000 entries. Vasaloppet is jointly owned by Sälen’s IF & IFK Mora. All surplus income from our events goes undeducted back to the owners’ sports activities and to some 50 other associations who provide us with 3500 functionaries.

Kranskullor and kransmasar
Just before the first Vasaloppet winner was due to arrive in the finishing straight one of the organisers from IFK Mora suddenly asked “Could you place this laurel wreath on the winner?” “Of course I’d like to do that”, replied the young unknown Therese Eliasson who, in honour of the day, was all dressed up in the beautiful local Mora costume.
Therese Eliasson was a great success, gilding the competition like a queen at a ball! Alm, the strong hero from the deep woods of Västerbotten, and the imposing Mora girl, side by side at the finish – this was a sight which warmed many hearts. There could not be a better end for a Vasalopp – so, at least, thought the organisers who since that first year have, in good time, picked out a kranskulla* from Mora and its neighbourhood.*(A kulla is a girl from Dalarna, a krans is a wreath; so kranskulla very literally translated would be “wreath girl” which is not so very happily poetic in English – “garland girl” might do, but kranskulla is best left untranslated!)
To become a Kranskulla or Kransmass – you have to fill 3 criterions.

  1. The person must be Dalecarlian respective Dalesmen and unmarried.
  2. The person must have sporting merit, either their own or within the immediate family.
  3. The third clause says that if either of the first two conditions are not met, it is enough to be “dashing and goodlooking”

Since 1954 during the race the skiers are provided with drinks like, coffee, Ekströms blueberry soup, Knorr bullion, bananas and bread. Blueberry soup is what everybody connect Vasaloppet with first of all – it’s a brand by name Ekström that provides the soup and it about 55 000 liter every year.

There is some money to be won – this year they changed the rules that At the finish, the sum already the same for both sexes, 10.000SEK/$1.567/£1.022/€ 1.198 – before the first woman over finishing line only got half the amount, 5.000SEK. Changed after a massive protest – following a radio program. So it’s not really the winning money that makes people to participate in this mad race.

Cut off times
In order to continue in Vasaloppet must pass the various checks before they lock times that are set for them. If there are extreme weather conditions, you can race management change times.

Some Vasalopp history;
1922: The first Vasaloppet
139 skiers had entered, 119 actually started and only two abandoned the race. Fastest between Sälen and Mora was surprisingly the 22 year old Ernst Alm from IFK Norsjö in Västerbotten. Alm won in a time of 7 hours 32 minutes and 49 seconds. As he finished a laurel wreath was placed over his head by the first kranskulla, Therese Eliasson from Mora. . In second place, just 5 minutes after Alm, was Oskar Lindberg, also from IFK Norsjö.
1923: First woman in Vasaloppet
Margit Nordin from Grängesberg made skiing history as the first woman to complete Vasaloppet. Her time was 10 hours 9 minutes and 42 seconds. Margit was acclaimed at the finish as the gifted skier she was, but shortly afterwards it was decided that women were not eligible to take part in the race.
1950: The biggest winning margin
Mora-Nisse was in great form and there was no one even close to challenging him. His winning margin over the second man, Martin Karlsson from Hofors, was all of 21 minutes!
1954: First foreign winner
At his fourth attempt the Finnish ski orienteerer won Vasaloppet. Although he was not one Finland’s absolute top skiers, his staying power and technique meant that Vasaloppet suited him perfectly. His winning margin was all of 10 minutes!

1982: First disqualification
The Frenchman Jean-Paul Pierrat made his mark again but, this time, in a more negative sense. Pierrat was first over the finishing line, but was disqualified by the competition jury after a protest. Pierrat had changed skis during the race. Lasse Frykberg, IFK Mora, who had been second, was declared the rightful winner.
1987: The coldest race
The thermometer showed around -30°C at the start in Berga by when the starter, Erik Åhs, sent the skiers on their way. Anders Larsson, from Bondsjöhöjden, won this coldest ever Vasaloppet in a time of 4 hours, 20 minutes and 20 seconds.
1990: Cancelled
A hard day for the Vasaloppet organisers. Extremely mild weather had turned the snow into water on long stretches between Sälen and Mora. For the first time in recent history Vasaloppet had to be cancelled.
2009: CykelVasan
The very first CykelVasan was run on August 16 this year. Matthias Wengelin, Cykloteket RT and Hanna Bergman, Falu CK, were the first two historic winners.
2012: Record of starts 54,200
A record number of registered entries (63,142), a record number of starts (54,220) and even a record number of finishes. When the Mora finish was closed on Sunday evening March 4 some 52,689 skiers had reached their goal during Vasaloppet’s winter week.
2013: Record number of female participants – 1972 women. And 42 nationalities was competing

Since 2009 the CykelVasan been running – it’s the Vasaloppet on bike – and it happens in the middle August every year and they are serving blueberry soup then too.

And there is Barens Vasalopp – Kids Vasalopp – The Children’s Vasaloppet atmosphere is at least as high as in Vasaloppet. Up to 100 000 children participating
each year. The controls are the same, cheeks as red and excited everyone gets diploma or medal at the target. Children Vasaloppet aimed at children of all ages and can be arranged by pre-schools, Schools and Ski Clubs. It’s simple – no timing, no results lists and any distance goes.

This year Vasaloppet claimed a casualty, 60 year old man collapsed and died under the race. A total of  17 people has died because of heart failure during the race. It’s not a race for anyone.

tomas ledin - simonsresor se

Tomas Folke Jonas Ledin, born 1952 in Östersund, Jämtland County, is a Swedish singer, songwriter, guitarist and record producer. One of us most popular and loved artists since 1972 – during ABBA’s 1979 world tour was Tomas singing in their choir. In 1983 he married Marie, the daughter of ABBA’s producer and manager, Stickan Anderson.
1991 founded Ledin concert tour “Rocktåget” (Rock n’Roll Train) every summer touring around Sweden with our most famous pop and rock artists – a show that is a massive hit and always sold out season after season. He has released 43 single and 30 albums.

This is a DJ pimped version of one of his most popular songs, with Tomas singing: “En del av mitt hjärta” (A part of my heart) from 1990. It was on the Swedish Chart for 27 weeks and vote to the song of the year.

“A part of my heart”

“what are you doing these days?
why you never hear from you?
it was far too long since we saw each other

it was those first words she said
when we ran into each other
out and about earlier today

You will remain in the same flat?
what do you do?
she bubbled with questions
I answered
then she interrupted me
with her wonderful smile

you to know that I miss you
there are feelings that never ends
you should know that I have not forgotten
there are images that never blur
I’ve woken up in the middle of the night the silence
and wished you slept beside me again
part of my heart will always beat for you”

Photo provided by and thanks to;
Gallery 1; svensktspel.nu/beon.ru/wikimedia.org/vasaloppet.se
Gallery 2; cseumpch.com/wikimedia.org/stallsrumulen.se
Gallery 3; mynewsdeck.som/aftonbladet.se/hd.se/vasloppet.se
Gallery 4; orebro.se/cicion.com/silver.se/procordia.se/svt.se
Gallery 5; aftonbladet.se/hd.se/vasloppet.se/origo.hu/svt.se/
Gallery 6; happymtb.org/vasaloppet.se/ica.se
Gallery 7; mynewsdesk.com/gp.se/idrottonline.se/barensvasalopp.se
Others; jogg.se
Feature image: kikan-webblog.se & Tomas: simonsresor.se

20 thoughts on “v stands for vasaloppet

  1. This is interesting post again for me, especially who has no idea about snow and skii:) Actually we have some snow sport centers in the country but I don’t like… I also afraid to walk on ice or snow… 🙂 But makes me excited to watch these winter sports… Thank you dear I learned something again about your country. And sad to know some people died in this race. Seems not easy race. Love, nia

    • 60.000 people do the race every year and some think they are more fit than they really are. I love snow, but afraid on ice if it’s on a lake. Thank you so much for the … the comment and for your support through this challenge.

    • has never been water skiing – been cross country I did all the time as young. What I love about the Vasalopp is that it’s based on true event. People come from all over the world to do the race. Over 60.0000 this year. That is something that unit world for a week every year.

  2. Viveka!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE YOUR COUNTRY! I think I could try cross country skiing and love it. Tried downhill once and will never ever do that again! But your country and history and community…love it!

    • Jenny, … I’m surprised that not more people know about it … 60.000 people do the race during one week .. and they come from all over the world.
      Thanks for visiting me back … I hope you will find something else that will interest you about Sweden.
      Check out letter S!!! My favorite post.

  3. My, gosh, my dear – such another great post! No way in the world would I enter this event, much too lazy ;-). But I think it quite amazing how many people to and that they “survive” this!!! xo 🙂

    • You can do cross country skiing .. in designer ballerina shoes and I don’t think LV does any suitable boots neither. *laugher … I couldn’t do it neither, also too lazy.
      All, but 17 has survived through the years.

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