Vasaloppet continues to penalize participants for littering
Several participants had a penalty of 15 minutes added to their time after littering where not allowed during their participation in a 2017 Vasaloppet race. This rule also applies in 2018 and monitoring has now been strengthened with an increased number of inspectors, using better equipment.
“Implementing a time penalty for littering was a successful move that significantly reduced littering during both our winter and summer events, and we will continue this policy,” says Tommy Höglund, Sport Manager.
Littering went down 90 percent in the Vasaloppet Arena during all Winter Week 2017 races, excluding Vasaloppet. Monitoring is strengthened further this year with an increased number of inspectors along the track, equipped with better cameras. In order to apply the time penalty there must be photographic evidence and Vasaloppet must be 100 percent certain when identifying participants.
“We will place inspectors in strategic locations where we, from experience, know that participants tend to litter. The rule applies to all participants during all races and, for example, a time penalty in Vasaloppet could lead to a participant moving down one start group in their seeding for 2019,” says Tommy Höglund.
The Vasaloppet Arena is a nature reserve and the course runs over land owned by 900 different landowners. Littering is forbidden according to Swedish law and Vasaloppet has for several years worked towards a zero-tolerance approach to littering in the arena, but it has not had the desired effect until the 15 minute time penalty was introduced last year.
“Environmental thinking is important to us and we’re working hard to reduce our impact on the climate. Part of this means upholding a zero-tolerance policy against littering in the arena, and we want our participants to take this issue seriously and help us, which, happily, the wide majority of participants do. We all need to pull together to preserve our fantastic arena for coming generations,” says Tommy Höglund.
Vasaloppet is making several efforts to make it easier for participants to dispose of litter in correct places. Seven littering zones are placed in appropriate locations between the seven checkpoints and clear signs and symbols will show where you may throw your litter. When it comes to elite skiers, special dialogue is held again this year and Vasaloppet is requiring that each team takes responsibility for, and picks up, any of their waste that is thrown along the track. All teams that Vasaloppet has been in contact with strongly support this position.
During Vasaloppet’s Winter Week 2018, throwing litter will be permitted in three different ways:
- 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