Our story begins in the winter of 1520–1521.

Vasaloppet started in 1922, but really it is much older than that. The first Vasalopp was carried out as early as 1521 by Gustav Eriksson. During his flight from the Danish king he stopped in Sälen and returned to Mora to lead the uprising against the occupation forces. Gustav Eriksson eventually united the realm and became Sweden’s first king, better known under the name Gustav Vasa. In other words, Sälen is not only the starting point for the world’s largest exercise race; it is also the starting point for the history of our whole country.

Here you can read more about the history of Vasaloppet, as well as exciting facts, records, lists and trivia. We see these pages as the start of ”Vasaloppet’s digital museum”. Enjoy!



The story of how it all began.

The first Vasaloppet

Anders Pers, from Mora, is the father of Vasaloppet. It was from his thoughts that the world's biggest ski race was born. He wrote about the contemporary interest in skiing and linked it to Gustav Eriksson Vasa's flight on skis from Mora towards Norway in 1521.

Start and finish

Vasaloppet's start area in Sälen and the finish portal in Mora are some of sporting Sweden's most famous environments. Here you will also find some famous memorials, statues and obelisks.


Here you will find all historical winners of our competition races.


On March 5, 2017, we asked all participants in Vasaloppet to start the race wearing a red cap, to honour the memory of our great hero, Nils ”Mora-Nisse” Karlsson (1917–2012), who won more Vasaloppet victories than anyone in history. We celebrated because 2017 marked the centennial of Mora-Nisse's birth.

Kranskulla and Kransmas

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.

Blueberry soup

Surely nothing is associated more strongly with Vasaloppet than blueberry soup? Ever since 1958, Vasaloppet has served Ekström's blueberry soup at its checkpoints. Before then, blueberries were picked in Dalarna in the summer by the same people who would serve them at the checkpoints in the winter.

Vasaloppet’s Summer Week

It started in the winter of 2008 when the Vasaloppet board took on the new vision "The Vasaloppet Arena shall inspire activity all year round". The ski track between Sälen and Mora began to be regarded as a year-round arena, "the world's largest sports arena – 90 km long and 10 metres wide" and the words "all year round" were added. After several winters with little snow, Vasaloppet wanted to broaden its range and organize races in the summer.

Vasaloppet’s development

Vasaloppet's development from the 1920s up until today.

100 years

They say that history is written by the winners. In the case of Vasaloppet it would be more accurate to say that it was written by those who followed. The 1,700,000 participants who, sweaty and exhausted, completed different distances between Sälen and Mora, and inspired millions of TV viewers and casual exercises to get out on the nearest trail with the hope of one day skiing, cycling or running in forefathers’ tracks for future victories. In 2022 the Vasaloppet movement turned one hundred years old.

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