1922: The first Vasaloppet
139 skiers had entered, 119 actually started and only two abandoned the race. Fastest between Sälen and Mora was surprisingly the 22 year old Ernst Alm from IFK Norsjö in Västerbotten. Alm won in a time of 7 hours 32 minutes and 49 seconds. As he finished a laurel wreath was placed over his head by the first kranskulla, Therese Eliasson from Mora. In second place, just 5 minutes after Alm, was Oskar Lindberg, also from IFK Norsjö.
1923: First woman in Vasaloppet
Margit Nordin from Grängesberg made skiing history as the first woman to complete Vasaloppet. Her time was 10 hours 9 minutes and 42 seconds. Margit was acclaimed at the finish as the gifted skier she was, but shortly afterwards it was decided that women were not eligible to take part in the race.
1925: First live radio transmission from Vasaloppet
Radio broadcasting began in Sweden on 1 January 1925 and the radio service, with support from enthusiasts in the local Falun radio club, wanted to try a direct transmission from Vasaloppet. Sven Jerring was entrusted with reporting from the finish in Mora. Sven went on the air at 13.00 but just 30 seconds later the winner, Sven Utterström, reached the finish! Chaos ensued, but this was the beginning of an incredible radio epoch from Vasaloppet, with Sven at the microphone. He covered his last race in 1973.
1928: Shared victory, but no shared jubilation!
Sweden’s two best skiers, Sven “Uttern” Utterström from Boden and Per-Erik “Särna” Hedlund, were best friends and wanted to share the victory. They crossed the finishing line side by side but the competition jury judged Hedlund the winner. Utterström and Hedlund refused to accept the jury’s decision and angrily handed back their prizes.
1931: First Mora Winner
Vasaloppet celebrated its 10th anniversary when Mora’s Anders Ström, after a heroic spurt, gave IFK Mora its first Vasaloppet victory. Anders overtook Hilding Olsson in a finishing dash and won with a margin of only seven seconds.
1940: Häggblad’s fourth victory
Arthur Häggblad from IFK Umeå wins Vasaloppet for the fourth time. The always reliable Häggblad put on a burst of speed after Oxberg, and paraded before a thrilled public over the finishing line. Of course, this year Vasaloppet was overshadowed by the outbreak of war. However, it was decided to hold the race and the surplus income from Vasaloppet was donated to Finland Aid and to Swedish soldiers serving on the country’s borders.
1943: Mora-Nisse’s first victory
At the age of 25, Nils Karlsson, later known to everyone as “Mora-Nisse”, made his Vasaloppet début. He won and his sister Elsa, who was kranskulla that year, placed the victory wreath on her brother’s shoulders.
1944: Mora-Nisse narrowly misses a victory
A huge crowd waited at the finish expecting to see Mora-Nisse claim his second victory, and the local favourite was in the lead right up to the finishing straight. But there came a challenge from the little known Gösta Andersson, from IFK Umeå, which led to a terrific duel. Gösta chose to move out to the right where he got better glide. Mora-Nisse could find no reply, and had to accept defeat, just 1 second after Gösta Andersson’s sensational victory in a new record time of 5 hours, 18 minutes and 43 seconds.
1947: Shared medal
After a tough battle, Mora-Nisse Karlsson and Anders Törnkvist, fellow club members, decided to share the victory. Arm in arm, they skied over the finishing line – but the competition jury nevertheless judged Mora-Nisse the winner. “Anders is just as much the winner as I am”, said Mora-Nisse, and the pair of them went to a jeweller’s to get the prestigious winning medal cut in half!
1950: The biggest winning margin
Mora-Nisse was in great form and there was no one even close to challenging him. His winning margin over the second man, Martin Karlsson from Hofors, was all of 21 minutes!
1954: First foreign winner
At his fourth attempt the Finnish ski orienteerer won Vasaloppet. Although he was not one Finland’s absolute top skiers, his staying power and technique meant that Vasaloppet suited him perfectly. His winning margin was all of 10 minutes!
1961: New records
David “Dalle” Johansson from Delsbo was a sensational winner of the 38th Vasaloppet, a race which began with a record – 1,444 starters – and which also finished with a new record time. “Dalle” won with a time of 4 hours, 45 minutes and 10 seconds. For the first time, the race start was in Berga by.
1962: Janne Stefansson’s first victory
A classic race with three skiing “giants” as front runners – Sixten Jernberg, Assar Rönnlund and Janne Stefansson. Assar Rönnlund relaxed his grip before the Eldris checkpoint and at the finish Sixten Jernberg had to yield to Janne Stefansson. A tactical triumph for the Sälen skier.
1965: Janne Stefansson’s record time
4 hours, 45 minutes and 3 seconds. This incredible record time – on wooden skis! – was set by Janne Stefansson who won by a margin of over 6 minutes before Bjarne Andersson, IFK Mora.
1971: First Norwegian victory
Ole Ellefsäter won after leading for most of the race. He was barely two minutes before Bjarne Andersson, IFK Mora, who in fact had suggested to Ellefsäter that he should take part! After the race, the historic Norwegian winner praised the terrific support and service he had received during the race from the local club, IFK Mora.
1973: 50th anniversary
Vasaloppet’s 50th race was won by the Finn, Pauli Siitonen, but without him knowing it! Thomas Magnusson, from Delsbo, had a very good lead for most of the time, but had stopped for re-waxing in Hemus. Siitonen saw no sign of the Swedish star in front of him and thought, as he crossed the finishing line, that he was taking second place. His joy was in no way diminished when it became clear to him that he was, in fact, the winner of the 50th Vasaloppet.
1975: First German victory
Gert-Dietmar Klause, from what was then East Germany (DDR), triumphed, but displayed no particular joy at having won the world’s biggest ski race. He was very closely watched by the East German security police and made only the very briefest comment on his victory.
1977: First Russian victory
31 year old Ivan Garanin won Vasaloppet after a burst of speed by which he broke loose from the Finn Jorma Kinnunen in a final tussle. His time margin was 1 minute and 13 seconds, and in third place was Orsa’s Tommy Limby.
1978: First French victory
Jean-Paul Pierrat raised his arms to the sky as he came to the finish to win. A tactical triumph for Pierrat; a thaw had set it, and he kept a very cool head in difficult conditions. His burst of speed in Eldris helped, and he won two minutes before IFK Mora’s Tommy Jönsson.
1979: Ola Hassis breaks record
Ola Hassis, from Orsa, pinned some hope on glide wax with a little grip wax, but really relied on his very strong arms. This proved the deciding factor. In a tough fight to the finish there was no one who could overpower Ola, who won in a new record time of 4 hours, 5 minutes and 58 seconds.
1981: Lundbäck crowns his career
Sven-Åke Lundbäck won Olympic gold in Sapporo (1972), World Championship gold in Lahtis (1978), as well as 10 gold medals in the Swedish National Championships. When he now won Vasaloppet, it was the crowning moment of a fantastic skiing career, with victories in all the major competitions.
1982: First disqualification
The Frenchman Jean-Paul Pierrat made his mark again but, this time, in a more negative sense. Pierrat was first over the finishing line, but was disqualified by the competition jury after a protest. Pierrat had changed skis during the race. Lasse Frykberg, IFK Mora, who had been second, was declared the rightful winner.
1987: The coldest race
The thermometer showed around -30°C at the start in Berga by when the starter, Erik Åhs, sent the skiers on their way. Anders Larsson, from Bondsjöhöjden, won this coldest ever Vasaloppet in a time of 4 hours, 20 minutes and 20 seconds.
1988: A Shared Victory
The brothers Örjan and Anders Blomquist from IFK Lidingö carry kranskullan Karin Värnlund over the finishing line. This is a unique event in Vasaloppet’s history. A shared victory – for the first time! Per-Erik Hedlund and Sven Utterström tried in 1928. Arthur Häggblad and Hjalmar Blomstedt in 1935. Mora-Nisse Karlsson and Anders Törnkvist in 1947. But none were allowed to share the victory as the finish referees decided they could separate them. So in 1988, a unique page of skiing history was written when Örjan and Anders Blomquist succeeded in conciliating the competition jury.
A hard day for the Vasaloppet organisers. Extremely mild weather had turned the snow into water on long stretches between Sälen and Mora. For the first time in recent history Vasaloppet had to be cancelled.
1998: A new record time
Peter Göransson from Åsarna IK wrote himself into Vasaloppet’s history with a record time of 3 hours, 38 minutes, and 57 seconds. He won a few centimetres before Staffan Larsson, IFK Mora, who had led the race until one metre before the finish.
Staffan Larsson was back in the hunt again after the previous year’s disappointment. This time Staffan was totally uncompromising, and came to the finish as the undisputed runaway winner in a time of 4 hours, 31 minutes and 37 seconds. Seldom has Vasaloppet had such a popular winner.
2004: Record number of participants
The results list was headed by Anders Aukland, Norway. Behind him followed 14,584 names – a record number!
2005: Snow shortage
Lack of snow meant that there was a risk that Vasaloppet could be cancelled. But with snow cannons, lorries and machines 130,000 cubic metres of snow was gathered together and the race could be run as planned.
2006: World Cup
This year Vasaloppet was part of the FIS cross country World Cup after having since 1979 been part of Worldloppet’s cross country world cup.
2008: Two TV channels
For the first time the race was sent on two channels at the same time, SVT 1 and SVT 24, as well as being directly transmitted via the web.
The very first Cykelvasan was run on August 16 this year. Matthias Wengelin, Cykloteket RT and Hanna Bergman, Falu CK, were the first two historic winners.
2010: Record numbers started in Vasaloppet
15,709 participants started in Vasaloppet. Since many were caught up in traffic queues to the start area, the number of registrations was limited for 2011.
2012: Jörgen Brink won for the third consecutive year the Vasaloppet spurt
A record number of registered entries (63,142), a record number of starts (54,220) and even a record number of finishes! When the Mora finish was closed on Sunday evening March 4 some 52,689 skiers had reached their goal during Vasaloppet’s winter week. Even the millionth skier over all the years could be counted! New record times in Vasaloppet: Jörgen Brink, Hudiksvall, 3.38.41 and Vibeke Skofterud, Norway, 4.08.24.
2013: Entry registration interest maintained
Norwegian victories in Vasaloppet on both the men’s and ladies’ sides: Jörgen Aukland och Laila Kveli. Vasaloppet 2013 was fully booked in 11 days and CykelVasan 2013 in 26 minutes. New entry registration record again.
2014: All races fully booked!
When the registry opened on 17 March 2013 for the 90th Vasaloppet 2014 it took just ten minutes before the entry ceiling of 15,800 participants was reached! Cykelvasan 2014 was full in three minutes. In total over 67 403 skiers were registered for the 8 different races.