We are ready!
By Vasaloppet's CEO Eva-Lena Frick: It's Saturday morning, time for a winter premiere. One that's been delayed far too long due to broken bones and troubled knees. Conditions have been excellent this whole winter. Masses of snow and nice, cold weather. Firm, fine ski tracks run through the arena from Sälen to Mora.
Speak to those with decades of experience and you’ll find that the snow supply has never been as good as this year. At the time of writing all snow production is paused, and we’re crossing our fingers in hopes that the cold is here to stay. The whole Vasaloppet Arena is open, the tracks (both for classic and skate style) are of the highest calibre, the snow is several decimetres deep and everything is ready for the participants to arrive for this Winter Week.
I wax my skis from the blue can and glide out into Vasaloppet’s terrain. Loads of skiers are already here – young, old, locals and visitors from distant places. After a few kilometres, three skiers join the track from the left and it turns out there’s a ski orienteering competition going on in the area with several hundred participants.
In the showers and during lunch afterwards I meet people from places around Sweden that I have, earlier in my life, called “home”. Pontus, Emma, Ellen, Arvid, Anita, Pelle, Ingrid and Henrik are some of them.
I’m struck by how many wonderful encounters I’ve had, and keep having, through the fantastic world of athletics. All my experiences through the years, both setback and success, that have shaped who I am as a person.
During lunch, a sprinting World Cup final for women runs on the television. IFK Mora SK has two girls there, in Swedish national team uniforms. I’m proud to be part of an organization that fuels the sports club movement and helps make it possible for these girls, among many others, to compete in world class events. Vasaloppet also contributes to skiing activities all over Sweden. For example, via an agreement with the Swedish Ski Association, economic funds are channelled to all Swedish ski districts based on how many participants each district has in our winter races.
Vasaloppet is an engine for Swedish cross-country skiing in many ways. Together with the Ski Association we also work towards allowing more facilities in the country to offer artificial snow in order to stimulate a continued growing interest in skiing. Both to offer a delightful way of improving people’s quality of life, and provide challenges for recreational athletes, but also so Sweden can continue being one of the world’s foremost ski nations in the future.
When I turn back home after a great first day in the tracks my heart feels warm and I’m so glad to have this sport as a home in life, both in my spare time and at work.
Tjejvasan turns 30 years old this Winter Week. Congratulations! Through the years this race has sparked lifelong interest in skiing for many girls. For me the third edition, in 1991 (it was cancelled in 1990), was a finish line in itself, the last race I participated in as an active elite skier. I remember doing it with great joy, like all the other participating women have since 1988!
A warm welcome to Vasaloppet’s Winter Week 2018! It’s almost time, and we are ready!
Eva-Lena Frick, CEO Vasaloppet
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.
Sun 4 Mar: Vasaloppet. 90 km. Start Sälen. (FULL 170319)