Facts, statistics, news and trivia for the 94th Vasaloppet
The 94th Vasaloppet will start in Sälen on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at 08:00. The 15,800 start places were fully booked in under five minutes, when released two weeks after last year's race. In total around 65,000 participants have registered for the ten races in Vasaloppet's Winter Week 2018. This is the 41st year that Vasaloppet will be broadcast live on Swedish Television. Here is some background information for the world's biggest cross-country ski race.
Gustav Eriksson’s adventure in Dalarna took place during the winter of 1520–21. In 1523 he was elected as King of Sweden. The first Vasaloppet took place on Sunday, March 19, 1922. Now the 94th Vasaloppet will take place, which is also the 22nd with a special competition class for women (started in 1997). Three races have been cancelled: 1932, 1934 and 1990. Since 1948 the race has always run on the first Sunday of March, except in 2015 when the race ran on the second Sunday because of the World Ski Championships in Falun.
The first live TV broadcast of Vasaloppet took place in 1966. This will be the 41st time that Vasaloppet (in part or in its entirety) is transmitted live, and it’s the 36th time that the Vasaloppet start is broadcast live on television. 1973 was the first year with a live broadcast in colour. Since 1992 Vasaloppet has been shown live every year. Vasaloppet and SVT’s current broadcasting agreement extends until 2020. Vasaloppet was first broadcast on Swedish Radio in 1925.
Since 1922 a total of 561,894 Vasaloppet skiers have completed the 90-kilometre Vasaloppet; put together they have covered a distance equal to 1,261 round the world trips or 65 journeys to the moon and back!
Counties and Countries
The ten biggest Swedish counties in Vasaloppet 2018, according to this week’s statistics, are: Stockholm 2,525 participants, Västra Götaland 2,514, Skåne 754, Dalarna 732, Jönköping 692, Östergötland 628, Uppsala 583, Västerbotten 498, Värmland 451 and Gävleborg with 439 participants.
Vasaloppet 2018 has participants from 49 different nations, counting Sweden. About 3,700 of the registered participants come from other nations than Sweden, most from Norway (1,271). Then come Finland (536), Denmark (475), Czech Republic (292), Germany (287), Switzerland (155), Italy (118), Estonia (108), Russia (88), Netherlands (73), Austria (63), Iceland (56), France (39), USA (34), Great Britain (23).
In total the Vasaloppet Winter Week 2018 has registered participants from 70 different nations, according to the latest statistics. A new record!
The Average Skier
The average age in Vasaloppet 2018 is 42.1 years and the average participant has previously skied Vasaloppet 3.8 times. For the fifth year in a row, over 2,000 women have registered for Vasaloppet, which means about 15 percent female participants out on the course this Sunday.
After a thrilling final spurt John Kristian Dahl, from Norway, won Vasaloppet 2017 (with a time of 3.57.18) and the ladies’ class winner was Britta Johansson Norgren (with a winning time of 4.19.43). The latest men’s class winner from Sweden was Jörgen Brink in 2012. The male winners these past five years have all been from Norway.
John Kristian Dahl has had cardiac problems in January, and has not competed in the latest Visma Ski Classics races. But he will make a comeback on Sunday. Two more male 21st century Vasaloppet victors can be found in the elite start group 2018: Anders Aukland, winner 2004 (born 1972), and Jörgen Brink, 2010, 2011, 2012 (born 1974). In the elite group there’s another well-known Vasaloppet profile: Stanislav Rezác, Czech Republic (born 1973), skiing his 20th Vasaloppet this year. (13 out of 19 times Rezác has been in the top 10, and in the top 3 six times, but no win.)
In 2017 there were three Swedish men and six Swedish women in the Vasaloppet top ten: Markus Ottosson was 4th, Jens Eriksson 8th and Oskar Kardin 10th. Britta Johansson Norgren was 1st, Sara Lindborg 3rd, Emilia Lindstedt 4th, Lina Korsgren 5th, Nina Lintzén 8th and Maria Rydqvist 9th.
The female winners these past five years are all in the elite group this year: Laila Kveli 2013 and 2014, Justyna Kowalczyk 2015, Katerina Smutná 2016 and Britta Johansson Norgren 2017.
The international cross-country cup Visma Ski Classics takes place this season for the eighth time. The top in Visma Ski Classics Champion right now are, men: 1) Tord Asle Gjerdalen, NOR, 990 points. 2) Morten Eide Pedersen, NOR, 880 points. 3) Andreas Nygaard, NOR, 788 points. 4) Oskar Kardin, SWE, 655 points. 5) Anton Karlsson, SWE, 621 points. 6) Stian Hoelgaard, NOR, 617 points.
Ladies: 1) Britta Johansson Norgren, SWE, 1250 points. 2) Katerina Smutná, CZE, 985 points. 3) Lina Korsgren, SWE, 845 points. 4) Sara Lindborg, SWE, 750 points. 5) Heli Heiskanen, FIN, 560 points. 6) Evelina Bångman, SWE, 534 points.
Vasaloppet is the eighth race in Visma Ski Classics 2018, after which three competitions remain: Birkebeinerrennet (54 km) in Norway on March 17, Reistadlöpet (50 km) in Norway on April 7 and Ylläs-Levi in Finland on April 14. The winner of each race in the cup gets 200 points, second place gets 170, third 140, fourth 120 and fifth 100. Thereafter 95, 90, 85, 80, 75 and so on down to 1 point for 50th place.
The awards ceremony for Vasaloppet 2018 takes place at 15:00 on stage at the Vasaloppet finish line. The first prize is a kiss, a garland, a trophy and 94,000 SEK (for both the winning man and woman). The first prize is now raised by 1,000 SEK every year, so the first prize at the 95th Vasaloppet in 2019 will be 95,000 SEK.
There are seven spurt prizes for both men and women: 10,000 SEK in Evertsberg (The Hill Prize) and 5,000 SEK at the six other checkpoints; Smågan, Mångsbodarna, Risberg, Oxberg, Hökberg and Eldris. Vasaloppet’s total prize sum for 2018 is over 550,000 SEK. (Visma Ski Classics also has its own spurt prizes for Mångsbodarna and Evertsberg.)
If a winner, male or female, breaks the Vasaloppet record time for their class they are awarded a 50,000 SEK record bonus.
The Vasaloppet medal is awarded to participants who finish within the winning time plus 50 percent. In 2017, 2,654 men were awarded the medal. For the men the medal time was 5.55.58 since Dahl’s winning time was 3.57.18. In 2017, 149 ladies received the medal. It was awarded to those who finished within Britta Johansson Norgren’s time of 4.19.43 plus fifty percent, which was 6.29.35. (At the very first Vasaloppet in 1922, everyone who completed the race were given a memorial coin. Using the winner’s time plus 50 percent as a cut-off has been a practice since the second race in 1923.)
Kranskulla and Kransmas
This year’s Kranskulla is Sara Wadman (Kranskulla no. 94) and the Kransmas is Joakim Kullberg (Kransmas no. 30), both from IFK Mora. Sara came 20th in Tjejvasan this past Saturday and Joakim is a football player.
56 men have won the 93 races. One time, in 1988, the victory was shared. Most Vasaloppet victories: Nils ”Mora-Nisse” Karlsson (9 wins), Janne Stefansson (7 wins), Arthur Häggblad and Jan Ottosson (4 wins), Oskar Svärd, Daniel Tynell and Jörgen Brink and John Kristian Dahl (3 wins).
Sofia Lind has most victories, four, in the women’s class (1997, 1999, 2004 and 2005). Sofia Lind was also the top woman in 1996, the year before Vasaloppet’s official ladies class was introduced.
Ernst Alm, who in 1922 won the very first Vasaloppet, is the youngest male victor. He was 22 years and 18 days old when he won (born 1900-03-01). The oldest Vasaloppet victor is Jörgen Brink who was 37 years, 11 months and 23 days when he won in 2012 (born 1974-03-10).
Youngest and oldest Vasaloppet winners among the ladies, since the official women’s class was introduced in 1997, are Sofia Lind (born 1975-09-04) and Svetlana Nagejkina (born 1965-02-02). Sofia Lind was 21 when she won in 1997 and Svetlana Nagejkina was 37 when she won in 2002.
Just eight male and three female winners have managed to defend their Vasaloppet title by winning two years in a row. The latest were John Kristian Dahl in 2017 and Laila Kveli in 2014.
Only four victors have won three or more Vasaloppet in a row: Nils “Mora- Nisse” Karlsson (a total of 9 wins, of which 7 were in a row), Janne Stefansson (7 total wins, 5 in a row), Jan Ottosson (4 wins, 3 in a row) and Jörgen Brink (3 wins). The highest number of years between a victor’s first and last win is 10 years (“Mora-Nisse” Karlsson 1943–1953).
The current record time for men is 3.38.41 (Jörgen Brink, 2012) and for women 4.08.24 (Vibeke Skofterud, 2012).
The largest winning margin in the men’s class was when Nils “Mora-Nisse” Karlsson won by 21 minutes and 17 seconds. The largest winning margin in the ladies’ class, since its official introduction in 1997, is from Vasaloppet 2003: Ulrica Persson won by 10 minutes and 5 seconds. The smallest margin between the male and female victors was in 2007 when Elin Ek was only 4 minutes and 49 seconds after the male winner Oskar Svärd. (Best total placement for a lady was Justyna Kowalczyk in 2015, who was 71st to cross the finish line. Britta Johansson Norgren was 89th that same year. Elin Ek was 92nd in 2007.)
In 2013 Jörgen Aukland became history’s first Vasaloppet winner to pole his way through the whole race without using grip wax (since skate was prohibited). In 2014 Laila Kveli became the first lady to win without grip wax.
Live Broadcasts around the World
Swedish Television (SVT) broadcasts Vasaloppet live on Sunday, March 4, on SVT1 and SVT Play 07:30–12:45, and in the winter sports programme Vinterstudion 14:10–16:00. Commentators: Jacob Hård and Anders Blomquist. Elite skiing reporter: Daniel Svensson. Reporter in Smågan and Mångsbodarna: Peter Jonsson. Meteorologist: Pia Hultgren. Skiing reporters Johanna Ojala and Brita Zackari, and the waxing shed with Mattias Svahn, will be broadcast exclusively on SVT Play 07.30–20.00. SVT’s reports and interviews will be posted continuously on SVT’s Vasaloppet page.
SVT Dalarna gathers their reports from the Vasaloppet Winter Week 2018.
Visma Ski Classics will be broadcasting Vasaloppet live online on March 4 with English commentary. Can be seen worldwide at a cost of 4.99 euro.
Vasaloppet’s own Vasaloppet.TV will be broadcasting a live video feed showing every participant crossing the finish line! The big screen production from the finish in Mora can also be seen online, as can interviews from Hökberg conducted throughout the day.
In addition to SVT, Vasaloppet 2018 is also live broadcast on: NRK (Norway), YLE (Finland), TV2 Sport (Denmark), TVP (Poland), Czech TV (Czech Republic), L’Équipe (France), FOX (Turkey, Israel, Greece, Malta, Cyprus), Freesports UK (UK), TV Arena Sports (Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia), beIN sports (Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen)
A 52-minute recap of the race will also be broadcast on Eurosport Europe (53 European countries).
Vasaloppet has different number series for different start groups. The men’s elite group have start numbers 1–300; the ladies’ elite have start numbers 500–540. Start group one has start numbers 1000–1499 etc. Ladies have yellow number bibs and start numbers 17000–19999, and Vasaloppet veterans (those who have skied over 30 races) have orange number bibs and start numbers 30001–30349.
The top skiers in the cross-country cup Visma Ski Classics also have coloured vests: the top man (Tord Asle Gjerdalen) and top lady (Britta Johansson Norgren) in the overall cup Visma Ski Classics Champion wear yellow vests. The leader of the sprint cup Visma Ski Classics Sprint (Anton Karlsson) wears a green vest. Leaders in the youth cup (lady/man up to 26 years of age) Visma Ski Classics Youth (Oskar Kardin and Evelina Bångman) wear pink vests.
This Monday during Öppet Spår, Göran Laurell from Lidingö became the 1000th veteran in Vasaloppet history. To call yourself a veteran you must complete a Vasaloppet and/or Öppet Spår according to Vasaloppet’s rules for 30 years (only one race per year counts). In Vasaloppet, veterans start in their own row, in start group 5 (closest to the wall).
29 veterans have skied 50 races or more. Bengt Eriksson, Sälens IF, has skied the most races; 60 in a row 1953–2013. Börje Karlsson, Landsbro, has skied the most “real” Vasaloppet races, 58, and this year he is skiing his 59th Vasaloppet. Last year he had to abort the race due to a crick in his neck.
In 2011 Torsten Löfgren became the first to ski 50 “real” Vasaloppet races in a row. He has skied 54 “real” Vasaloppet and one Öppet Spår. 256 veterans have skied between 40 and 45 races. Three veterans who have skied 49 races are registered for Vasaloppet in 2018 to complete their 50th race!
Some well-known people out on the course this Sunday, in alphabetical order:
Aron Andersson, adventurer, lecturer, inspirer. Using sit-ski
Paolo Barilla, Italian former race car driver with 10 F1 races, and pasta king
Andreas Dackell, Olympic ice hockey gold medallist 1994
André Gatu, Kransmas 2013
Carina Hammarstrand, always participates in all Winter Week races!
Johan de Jong Skierus, Sweden’s best sabre fencer
Axel Jungward, Original Kransmas 1988
Mikael Kulanko, always participates in all Winter Week races wearing a Superman costume!
Joakim Lindberg, National Team kayaker
Emil Lindgren, elite mountain bike cyclist
Johanna Ojala, SVT presenter and skiing reporter together with Brita Zackari
Johan Olsson, skiing legend with several Olympic and World Championship golds
Bingo Rimér, celebrity photographer
Erik Smedhs, Kransmas 2012
Stuart P. Stevens, American Writer
Gunde Svan, skiing legend with several Olympic and World Championship golds, coaching Team Preem
Paul Svensson, TV chef, restaurateur and cook book author
Emil Svensson, National Team kayaker
Brita Zackari, SVT presenter and skiing reporter together with Johanna Ojala
Kalle Zackari Wahlström, TV presenter and training profile, holding this year’s speech in Mora church
Every Vasaloppet skier loses an average of three kilos during a race, which means that about 22,000 Vasaloppet skiers are “missing” after the 93 races.
Your length shortens during Vasaloppet. The discs in your spine compress and the arch of your foot flattens. During a Vasaloppet, the skiers shrink by a combined 220 metres.
Vasaloppet skiers produce so much energy that it could light 221,000 60-Watt light bulbs. That’s the same as 884,000 low-energy lamps (15 W) or about 2 million LED-lights.
Ekströms blueberry soup has been served in Vasaloppet since 1958. Each participant in Vasaloppet’s Winter Week drinks about 0.8 litres of Ekströms blueberry soup. Together, in 2017, they drank 40,580 litres of blueberry soup, 34,700 litres of sport drinks, 12,600 litres of vegetable broth and 3,400 litres of coffee at the seven food checkpoints. Also consumed were 191,500 Vasaloppet buns. For all this, 700,000 paper cups are needed (which are, of course, recycled).
If a participant is caught littering along the Vasaloppet track (which is a nature reserve) they will receive a 15-minute time penalty. There are three approved ways to dispose of litter: “In the bins at the Vasaloppet checkpoints; In the marked littering zones between each Vasaloppet checkpoint; Where you as a participant know that a team leader or associate will pick up what you throw.” For elite skiers, special dialogue has been held and each team will be responsible for, and pick up, any waste that is thrown along the track by team skiers.
Vasaloppet’s competition jury consists of TD Claude Matthey (Switzerland), assistant TD Erik Björelind, RD Robert Peets (Estonia) and competition managers Bo Johansson and Annlouise Almqvist, who is Vasaloppet’s first female competition manager.
The lowest temperature at a Vasaloppet start in Sälen was -30 degrees C, measured in 1935 and 1987. The highest temperature, +4.5 degrees C, was in 2015.
Vasaloppet’s operations annually generate about 20–25 million SEK that goes back into the sports movement. About 50 percent goes to the owner clubs (IFK Mora and Sälens IF), about 30 percent is compensation to clubs who supply functionaries, and about 20 percent is in the form of fees to the Swedish Ski Association and Swedish Cycling Federation, which in turn is distributed to their sports clubs.
A Dalarna summer might seem distant right now, but in five months it’s time for Vasaloppet’s Summer Week which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Ten races with mountain bike cycling and running, Cykelvasan 90 and Ultravasan 90 among much more. See a complete list of races below.
In 2017 the Vasaloppet Summer Week attracted over 30,000 registered participants for the first time!
Vasaloppstrippeln means completing three Vasaloppet during one and the same calendar year. The participant skis, cycle and runs 90 km or 45 km. For “Vasaloppstrippeln 90” you must ski 90 km in Vasaloppet or Öppet Spår, bike Cykelvasan 90 or Cykelvasan Öppet Spår, and walk, jog or run Ultravasan 90. To complete “Vasaloppstrippeln 45” you must ski Halvvasan, bike Cykelvasan 45 and walk, jog or run Ultravasan 45.
The 95th Vasaloppet
Registration for Vasaloppet 2019 opens on Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 09:00 on vasaloppet.se. The 95th Vasaloppet will run on Sunday, March 3, 2019.
Even more facts about Vasaloppet 2018 can be found in Vasaloppet’s 132-page Facts Guide, which can be read online (in Swedish only):
Vasaloppets Faktaguide 2018
The Story of Vasaloppet, a new eight minute YouTube film in English
Events in the Vasaloppet Arena 2018:
Vasaloppet Winter Week 2018
Fri 23 Feb: Kortvasan. 30 km. Start Oxberg.
Sat 24 Feb: Tjejvasan. 30 km. Start Oxberg.
Sun 25 Feb: Ungdomsvasan. 9/19 km Start Eldris/Hökberg
Sun 25 Feb: Öppet Spår Sunday. 90 km. Start Sälen.
Mon 26 Feb: Öppet Spår Monday. 90 km. Start Sälen.
Tue 27 Feb: Halvvasan. 45 km. Start Oxberg.
Fri 2 Mar: Stafettvasan. 9–24 km. Five-person teams. Start Sälen. (FULL 171220)
Fri 2 Mar: Nattvasan. 90 km. Two-person teams. Start Sälen. (FULL 170319)
Sat 3 Mar: Blåbärsloppet. 9 km. Start Eldris. (FULL 180228)
Sun 4 Mar: Vasaloppet. 90 km. Start Sälen. (FULL 170319)
Vasaloppet Summer Week 2018
Fri 10 Aug: Cykelvasan Öppet Spår. 94 km. Start Sälen.
Fri 10 Aug: Cykelvasasprinten. 1 km. Lindvallen, Sälen.
Sat 11 Aug: Cykelvasan 90. 94 km. Start Sälen.
Sun 12 Aug: Cykelvasan 30. 32 km. Start Oxberg.
Sun 12 Aug: Ungdomscykelvasan. 32 km. Start Oxberg.
Sun 12 Aug: Cykelvasan 45. 45 km. Start Oxberg.
Sat 18 Aug: Ultravasan 45. 45 km. Start Oxberg.
Sat 18 Aug: Ultravasan 90. 90 km. Start Sälen.
Sat 18 Aug: Vasastafetten. 4,5–15 km. Running relay for ten-person teams. Start Sälen.
Sat 18 Aug: Vasakvartetten. 19.1–24.2 km. Running relay for four-person teams. Start Sälen.
Vasaloppet is the world’s biggest cross-country ski race. Vasaloppet’s Winter Week with its cross-country skiing and Summer Week with mountain biking and running attract a total of almost 100,000 registered participants every year. Since the beginning in 1922 over 1.4 million participants have passed the finish line portal in Mora. Vasaloppet is a non-profit making organization owned by IFK Mora and Sälens IF. An engine for public health and sports club activities, in forefathers’ tracks for future victories!