Facts, statistics, news and trivia for the 96th Vasaloppet
On Sunday, March 1, 2020 at 08:00 millions of TV viewers will sit down to follow the start in Sälen of the 96th Vasaloppet. Vasaloppet is fully booked, which means 15,800 registered participants. In total over 58,000 participants have registered for the races in Vasaloppet's Winter Week 2020. Here are this year's conditions leading up to the world's biggest cross-country ski race.
Gustav Eriksson’s adventure in Dalarna took place during the winter of 1520–21. This next winter is the 500th anniversary. In 1523 he was elected King of Sweden. The first Vasaloppet took place on Sunday, March 19, 1922. Now the 96th Vasaloppet will take place, which is also the 24th 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 43rd time that Vasaloppet (in part or in its entirety) is transmitted live, and it’s the 38th 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.
Since 1922 a total of 588,179 Vasaloppet skiers have completed the 90-kilometre Vasaloppet; put together they have covered a distance equal to 1,320 round the world trips or 69 journeys to the moon and back!
The Average Skier 2020
The average age in Vasaloppet 2020 is 42.4 years and the average participant has skied Vasaloppet 3.6 times before.
Out of the registered Vasaloppet skiers 2020, 62 percent have skied Vasaloppet before. So 38 percent are participating in Vasaloppet for the first time.
A new record is set for the number of female participants in the track this Sunday: 17 percent. In other words, more than every sixth Vasaloppet 2020 participant is a woman!
Tore Bjørset Berdal, Norway, won men’s class in Vasaloppet 2019 while Britta Johansson Norgren, Sweden, won the women’s class. The latest men’s class winner from Sweden was Jörgen Brink in 2012. The male winners these past seven years have all been from Norway. This year more Swedes are taking top-three spots in the cross-country cup Visma Ski than have been seen since 2012: Emil Persson (two wins), Oskar Kardin (one second place) and Marcus Johansson (two third places).
Apart from Tore Bjørset Berdal there are three previous men’s class victors in the elite group this year: Anders Aukland 2004, Petter Eliassen 2015 and Andreas Nygaard 2018.
Four of the previous women’s class victors are in the elite start group this year: Laila Kveli 2013 and 2014, Katerina Smutná 2016, Lina Korsgren 2018 and Britta Johansson Norgren 2017 and 2019. Britta has the most wins in Ski Classics: 21 (three of which are from this season). She’s leading the total score as well as the Sprit and Climb competitions.
Start lists >
(The elite start group is VL0, after which there are ten additional start groups.)
Last year’s results
Vasaloppet 2019, men
1 Tore Bjørset Berdal, (NOR), 4.39.15
2 Stian Hoelgaard, (NOR), 4.39.26
3 Torleif Syrstad, (NOR), 4.39.27
4 Andreas Nygaard, (NOR), 4.39.28
5 Tord Asle Gjerdalen, (NOR), 4.39.28
6 Stanislav Rezác, (CZE), 4.39.28
7 Anders Aukland, (NOR), 4.39.29
8 Øyvind Moen Fjeld, (NOR), 4.39.29
9 Oskar Kardin, (SWE), 4.39.29
10 Chris André Jespersen, (NOR), 4.39.29
Vasaloppet 2019, women
1 Britta Johansson Norgren, (SWE), 4.54.24
2 Lina Korsgren, (SWE), 4.58.11
3 Katerina Smutná, (CZE), 4.58.13
4 Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes, (NOR), 5.02.14
5 Maria Gräfnings, (SWE), 5.03.36
6 Astrid Øyre Slind, (NOR), 5.06.00
7 Marie Kromer, (FRA), 5.11.41
8 Sofie Elebro, (SWE), 5.11.52
9 Heli Heiskanen, (FIN), 5.12.26
10 Laila Kveli, (NOR), 5.15.39
The international cross-country cup Visma Ski Classics takes place for the tenth time. Vasaloppet is the season’s eighth race, after which three competitions remain: Birkebeinerrennet (54 km) in Norway on March 21, Reistadløpet (42 km) in Norway on March 28 and Ylläs-Levi (70 km) in Finland on April 4. The winner of each race in the cup gets 200 points, second place gets 170, third 150, fourth 130 and fifth 120. Thereafter 105, 100, 95, 90, 85, 80 and so on down to 1 point for 60th place.
The current charts show Norwegian leadership on the men’s side and Swedish leaders on the women’s side. There are four Swedish men and five Swedish women on the top ten.
Visma Ski Classics Champion 2019–2020, men:
1) Andreas Nygaard, Team Ragde Eiendom (NOR), 1090 points
2) Tord Asle Gjerdalen, Team Ragde Eiendom, (NOR), 960
3) Morten Eide Pedersen, Team Kaffebryggeriet, (NOR), 903
4) Stian Hoelgaard, Team Koteng, (NOR), 885
5) Marcus Johansson, Lager 157 Ski Team, (SWE), 869
6) Petter Eliassen, Team Ragde Eiendom, (NOR), 822
7) Vetle Thyli, Team Kaffebryggeriet, (NOR), 790
8) Emil Persson, Lager 157 Ski Team, (SWE), 703
9) Max Novak, Team Ramudden, (SWE), 696
10) Oskar Kardin, Team Ragde Eiendom, (SWE), 680
Visma Ski Classics Champion 2019–2020, women:
1) Britta Johansson Norgren, Lager 157 Ski Team, (SWE), 1275 points
2) Kari Vikhagen Gjeitnes, Team Koteng, (NOR), 1175
3) Katerina Smutná, Ed System Bauer Team, (CZE), 1010
4) Astrid Øyre Slind, Team Koteng, (NOR), 999
5) Lina Korsgren, Team Ramudden, (SWE), 925
6) Emelie Fleten, Team Ragde Eiendom, (NOR), 905
7) Ida Dahl, Team Ramudden, (SWE), 804
8) Sofie Elebro, Team Parkettpartner Sjusjøen, (SWE), 671
9) Jenny Larsson, Team Ramudden, (SWE), 612
10) Thea Krokan Murud, Team Ragde Eiendom, (NOR), 602
New for this year
New for this year is the Climb-position that Visma Ski Classics has at the highest point of the track, 528 metres above sea level, three kilometres after the start. The first ten men and five first women to reach it get points in the Climb Trophy cup.
The awards ceremony for Vasaloppet 2020 takes place at 15:00 on stage at the Vasaloppet finish line. The first prize is a kiss, a garland, a 20-kilo glass trophy and 96,000 SEK (for both the winning man and woman). The men’s class winner will also get the Kranskulla honorary award. The first prize is now raised by 1,000 SEK every year.
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. (Visma Ski Classics also has its own spurt prizes for Mångsbodarna and Evertsberg.) Vasaloppet’s total prize sum for 2019 is over 567,000 SEK.
If a winner, male or female, breaks the Vasaloppet record time for their class they are awarded a 50,000 SEK record bonus.
Participants who finish within the winning time plus 50 percent are also awarded the Vasaloppet achievement medal. In 2019, 1,926 men were awarded the medal. For them the medal time was 6.58.53 since Tore Bjørset Berdal’s winning time was 4.39.15. 118 women were also awarded the medal in Vasaloppet 2019. The 2019 medal time for women was 7.21.37 since Britta Johansson Norgren’s winning time was 4.54.24.
Everyone who completes Vasaloppet gets a diploma and a participation medal (unless you claim a placement medal or achievement medal instead).
Kranskulla and Kransmas
This year’s Kranskulla is alpine skier Fanny Axelsson (Kranskulla no. 96) and Kransmas is orienteer Daniel Duhlbo (Kransmas no. 31), both from IFK Mora.
The ten biggest counties in Vasaloppet 2020 are, according to this week’s statistics: Stockholm county 2,464 registered participants, Västra Götaland 2,406, Skåne 736, Dalarna 693, Jönköping 673, Uppsala 659, Östergötland 601, Västerbotten 502, Halland 456, Värmland 436.
(Changes can be made up until the start so statistics are not final.)
About 4,000 of Vasaloppet’s registered participants in 2020 represent 52 countries other than Sweden: Most are from Norway (1,213 participants), Finland (547) and Denmark (539).
60 men have won the 95 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.
The current record time for men is 3.38.41 (Jörgen Brink, 2012) and for women 4.08.24 (Vibeke Skofterud, 2012).
Ernst Alm, who in 1922 won the very first Vasaloppet, is the youngest male victor. He was 22 years old when he won (born 1900-03-01). The oldest Vasaloppet victor is Jörgen Brink who was 37 years old 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.
The largest winning margin in the men’s class was when Nils ”Mora-Nisse” Karlsson won by 21 minutes and 17 seconds. ”We could have finished on our hands,” said the Kranskulla…
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.)
Just eight male victors and three female victors have won the race on their first attempt. The latest were Petter Eliassen 2015 and Justyna Kowalczyk 2015. The one with most attempts before a first victory is Jörgen Aukland who won Vasaloppet 2008 the tenth time he participated. On the women’s side Jenny Hansson holds this ”record”: she won Vasaloppet 2011 when participating for the seventh time.
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.
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
In addition to Sweden, Vasaloppet 2020 will be live broadcast on TV in the following 14 countries: Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, France, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Latvia, Russia, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand. (”Season highlights” will be broadcast in 53 countries.) Vasaloppet 2020 will also be broadcast live on Ski Classics Play globally, see below.
Saturday, February 29 14.00–14.30 Swedish Television is broadcasting ”Inför Vasaloppet” in Vinterstudion in SVT1 and SVT Play.
Here are all the times for radio, TV and online viewing on March 1:
06:00–18:00 Vasaloppet Radio will broadcast Vasaloppet live. Sälen 107.6 MHz, Oxberg/Älvdalen 89.1 MHz and Mora 94.1 MHz, online or on your mobile
07:00–20:30 Vasaloppet.TV broadcasting from fixed cameras in Sälen, Mångsbodarna, Risberg, Oxberg, Hökberg, Eldris and the Mora finish. There’s also a live broadcast from the Vasaloppet finish, ”Vasaloppet Direkt”, hosted by speakers with commentary on stage and participant interviews as skiers are cheered across the finish line. The camera ”Målgång i Mora” shows all finishes.
Sveriges Radio P4
07:18–14:00 Radiosporten is broadcasting Sportextra with Vasaloppet. The traditional start time is 07:18. (As early as 1925 the fourth Vasaloppet was broadcast on the radio.)
07:30–13:00 and 16:00–17:00. SVT1 and SVT Play. Host: Yvette Hermundstad. Live commentary provided by Jacob Hård and Anders Blomquist. Along the track we’ll see Maria Wallberg, Niklas Källner, Daniel Nannskog and Cecilia Ingman talking to participants. Rikard Tynell is SVT’s elite skiing reporter. He has participated in Vasaloppet eleven times and will be delivering reports from the front of the race.
Mattias Svahn and Clara Henry are SVT’s skiing reporters. Together they’ll ski Vasaloppet in a long direct broadcast 07:30–20:00 in SVT Play.
19.00–19.30 SVT1 Sportspegeln
SVT’s Vasaloppet Page
SVT Dalarna’s report
Ski Classics Play
07:50 – Swedish Television broadcasts can only be seen in Sweden but most other countries’ TV companies will also broadcast Vasaloppet. The whole race can also be streamed online from anywhere in the world with English commentary via web TV or mobile on Ski Classics Play (cost 8.99 EUR).
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 starting with 500. 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:
– Visma Ski Classics Champion, yellow vest ”CHAMP”: Andreas Nygaard and Britta Johansson Norgren.
– Visma Ski Classics Sprint, green vest ”SPRINT”: Max Novak and Lina Korsgren. (Lina is second but Britta Johansson Norgren who holds the lead in the Sprint cup already has the yellow vest.)
– Visma Ski Classics Youth (up to age 26), pink vest ”YOUTH”: Emil Persson and Ida Dahl.
– Visma Ski Classics Climb, red/black chequered vest ”CLIMB”: Morten Eide Pedersen and Astrid Øyre Slind. (Astrid is second but Britta Johansson Norgren who holds the lead in the Climb cup already has the yellow vest.)
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). From 2020 and on you may also count Nattvasan 90. After the 2019 Winter Week 1,059 veterans (of which 13 are ladies) have skied 30 or more races. 38 veterans have skied 50 races or more (Vasaloppet/Öppet Spår). In Vasaloppet, veterans start in their own row in start group 5 (closest to the wall).
Most races, 60, are by Bengt Eriksson from Sälens IF and Börje Karlsson from Landsbro IF SK. Bengt completed his 60th race in a row in 2013 (54 Vasaloppet and 6 Öppet Spår between 1953 and 2013). 86-year-old Börje skied his 60th race in Öppet Spår this past Monday. Before that he’d completed 59 ”real” Vasaloppet. Gösta Lönnelid from Narkens IF skied his 58th race this past Monday.
Celebrities in Vasaloppet 2020
Aron Andersson, adventurer, lecturer, uses sit-ski
Melker Andersson, chef
Paolo Barilla, Italian former race car driver with 10 F1 races, and pasta king
Lasse Beischer, actor
Dag Bredberg, Swedish ice hockey champion
Jürg Capol, former elite skier from Switzerland, now market manager for FIS
Anders Daun, Swedish ski jumping champion, participated in the Olympics and World Championships
Magdalena Forsberg, six-time biathlon world champion (skiing with Team Kaspersen)
Birger Fält, quiz show champion 1986 on the Vasaloppet topic and Vasaloppet veteran
Carina Hammarstrand, skiing multiple Winter Week races, has finished over 150 races in Mora
Clara Henry, SVT’s skiing reporter (skiing with Mattias Svahn)
Johan de Jong Skierus, sabre fencer (and Sarah Sjöström’s boyfriend)
Tobias Karlsson, Let’s Dance dancer (skiing with Team Kaspersen)
Kristin Kaspersen, TV host (skiing with Team Kaspersen)
Mikael Kulanko, skiing multiple races – in a Superman costume!
Zebastian Modin, Paralympian medallist (skiing with three former elite skiers as guides: Jerry Ahrlin, Robin Bryntesson and Emil Jönsson)
Mats Nilsson, former elite enduro rider (3 wins in Novemberkåsan and 8 in Gotland Grand National; this autumn he became the world’s oldest Swedish Championship motocross gold medallist at the team championships)
Kikkan Randall, American Olympic and World champion, cross country skiing (team sprint)
Malin Rimfors, sports journalist for Radiosporten
Bernhard Russi, Swiss Olympic and World Championship alpine ski race gold medallist (downhill)
Ninni Schulman, crime author
Calle Sterner, Let’s Dance dancer (skiing with Team Kaspersen)
Mattias Svahn, SVT’s skiing reporter (skiing with Clara Henry)
Robert Tennisberg, sports journalist
Magnus Wislander, two-time handball world champion
Maria Zimmerman, Let’s Dance dancer (skiing with Team Kaspersen)
Every Vasaloppet skier loses an average of three kilos during a race, which means that about 23,500 Vasaloppet skiers are ”missing” after the 95 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 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 0.6 litres of blueberry soup. Together, in 2019, they drank 33,900 litres of blueberry soup, 28,000 litres of Enervit sport drinks, 11,900 litres of vegetable broth and 3,100 litres of coffee at the seven food checkpoints. Also consumed were 200,000 Vasaloppet buns. For all this, 500,000 paper cups are needed (which are, of course, recycled).
If a participant is found to have littered in or along the Vasaloppet course (which is a nature reserve) then he or she will receive a time penalty of 15 minutes. Disposing of litter is 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. For elite skiers Vasaloppet holds special dialogue, requiring that each team takes responsibility for, and picks up, any of their waste that is thrown along the track.
Vasaloppet’s competition jury consists of TD Daniel Jacobsson (Iceland), assistant TD Robin Eriksson (Sweden) as well as competition managers Bo Johansson and Annlouise Almqvist.
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.
A special direct train (fully-booked by Vasaloppet participants) runs from Malmö via Gothenburg to Stockholm and Mora.
DIRECT TRAIN >
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.
The Summer Week
Vasaloppet doesn’t just have a Winter Week. Since 2009 there’s also a Vasaloppet Summer Week with eleven mountain bike and running races, such as Cykelvasan 90 and Ultravasan 90. See the complete list of races below.
Vasaloppet’s Summer Week 2019 attracted 32,171 registered participants!
Vasaloppstrippeln means completing three different types of Vasaloppet during one and the same calendar year. The participant skis in Vasaloppet’s Winter Week and runs and bikes in Vasaloppet’s Summer Week in August. The distances are 90, 45 and, new for this year, 30 kilometres. In 2019 there were 297 participants who completed three 90-km races in the three different sports; Vasaloppstrippeln 90.
Vasaloppet 2021 – 500 years after Gustav Vasa
For those who want to ski Vasaloppet next year – 500 years after Gustav Vasa’s adventure in Dalarna – registration opens for Vasaloppet 2021 on Sunday, March 15, 2020 at 09:00 on vasaloppet.se. Vasaloppet 2021 will run on Sunday, March 7, 2020.
Even more facts about Vasaloppet 2020 can be found in Vasaloppet’s 132-page Facts Guide, which can also be read online (only Swedish)
Events in the Vasaloppet Arena
Vasaloppet’s Winter Week 2020
Fri 21 Feb: Vasaloppet 30 (formerly Kortvasan). 30 km. Start Oxberg
Sat 22 Feb: Tjejvasan. 30 km. Start Oxberg
Sun 23 Feb: Ungdomsvasan. 9/19 km Start Eldris/Hökberg
Sun 23 Feb: Öppet Spår Sunday. 90 km. Start Sälen
Mon 24 Feb: Öppet Spår Monday. 90 km. Start Sälen
Tue 25 Feb: Vasaloppet 45 (formerly Halvvasan). 45 km. Start moved to Evertsberg
Fri 28 Feb: Stafettvasan. 9–24 km. Five-person teams. Start Sälen
Fri 28 Feb: Nattvasan 90. 90 km. Two-person teams. Start Sälen
Fri 28 Feb: Nattvasan 45. 90 km. Two-person teams. Start moved to Evertsberg
Sat 29 Feb: Blåbärsloppet. 9 km. Start Eldris (FULLY BOOKED)
Sun 1 Mar: Vasaloppet. 90 km. Start Sälen (FULLY BOOKED)
Vasaloppet’s Summer Week 2020
Fri 14 Aug: Cykelvasan Öppet Spår. 94 km. Start Sälen
Fri 14 Aug: Cykelvasasprinten. 1 km. Lindvallen. Start Sälen
Sat 15 Aug: Cykelvasan 90. 94 km. Start Sälen
Sun 16 Aug: Cykelvasan 30. 32 km. Start Oxberg
Sun 16 Aug: Ungdomscykelvasan. 32 km. Start Oxberg
Sun 16 Aug: Cykelvasan 45. 45 km. Start Oxberg
Sat 22 Aug: Trailvasan 30. 30 km. Start Oxberg
Sat 22 Aug: Ultravasan 45. 45 km. Start Oxberg
Sat 22 Aug: Ultravasan 90. 90 km. Start Sälen
Sat 22 Aug: Vasastafetten. 90 km. Running relay for ten-person teams. Start Sälen
Sat 22 Aug: Vasakvartetten. 90 km. Running relay for four-person teams. Start Sälen