Already now all over Sweden people are donning their ski boots and polishing their cross-country skiis. Getting ready for winter, ski season, and the culmination of all of this into Vasaloppet.
As the biggest cross-country ski event in the world, Vasaloppet is something most Swedish people would brag about, and one of the main outdoor events for the winter season.
Vasaloppet, literally translated to the Vasa Race, is a Swedish annual cross-country ski race to commemorate the flight of former king Gustav Vasa I from Christian the Tyrant, and the route he travelled to get away in the year of 1520. It is also by this route that he met the people who would help him rebel against the tyrant king, put him on the throne and begin creating the kingdom of Sweden as it is today. So for no unclear reason, the Vasaloppet is one of the greatest annual events in Sweden, and stands strong within our tradition. Every school kid gets to hear and learn about the rise of one of our nation’s greatest kings, and how he escaped and the route he took to avoid what is known as the Stockholm Bloodbath.
Vasaloppet itself is the oldest, longest and boasts the largest number of participants of any cross-country ski race in the world. It’s been held annually since 1922 and is 90 kilometres long. Over a period of almost 100 years now the winning time has been shaved from 7 hours 32 minutes (1922) to 3 hours 38 minutes (2012).
Of course, it’s not only for athletes. There are many different versions of the race, open to anyone who enjoys the wintery outdoors. A youth race that ranges between 3 to 9 kilometres, one exclusively for women, and many more. There is plenty of incentive for people to don their ski-gear, brave the rough Nordic winter weather and start working hard in preparation of the beginning of March and the event of the year that is Vasaloppet.
The beginning of March and the end of winter, which right now as you know, is coming.