Vasaloppet!

Today it is time again for the most famous and most awaited Swedish skiing race – Vasaloppet. It is also the biggest and longest skiing event of its kind in the world.

Vasaloppet is always held on the first Sunday in March, and that since 1922.

Why Vasaloppet? This stretch is said to be skied by Gustav Ericsson Vasa in 1520  on his escape from the Danish king Christian II who wanted to see him assassinated. Gustav was like the name says part of the Swedish king family and was  crowned as King Gustav I in 1523. Read here the full story of the legend.

The race starts in Sälen in Sweden and finishes in Mora. The distance is 90 kilometres, and nowadays for the skiing elite it takes just over 4 hours to get to the finish line. You can follow for example Daniel Tynell who is one of the Swedish elite skiers and currently on the 9th position. This is his race from 2009, and the graphics below his racing-times give you some kind of an idea of the skiing terrain. Maybe you know someone who takes part? Check them out on the same website.

But Vasaloppet is not only for elite skiers. The race is open for everyone and also for skiers from all countries. For the average participant it takes between 7 and 9 hours to finish the race, some take longer time, some are faster.

When Vasaloppet was in its baby shoes in the 1920’s a 7 hour finishing time was actually somewhat the best possible result. Nowadays the equipment and training got so advanced that this time could almost be halved.

Have a look here and see what the first Vasaloppet-start in 1922 looked like and this is the start from today.

Women were by the way allowed to participate in the first 2 years, 1922 and 1923. Without getting any prices, though. After that they were banned until 1980. Reason? It was not supposed to be good for a woman’s health and also, if women took part,  the race could appear less tough. Tell that a female professional skier today 😉 .

Google honours Vasaloppet today with a special logo:

Lots of people will comment on Twitter as well, you can follow that here and find more information. Most tweets are Swedish, though. Vasaloppet has also its own YouTube-Channel and not to forget the SVT Livestream.

Check out the most important food supply for all racers here – Blueberry-soup 🙂 . 92.000 liters this year.

(Picture credit goes to Sweden.se)

Update – the 2010 winners are:

Gentlemen:

1 Jörgen Brink Hudiksvalls IF 04:02:59
2 Daniel Tynell Grycksbo IF OK 04:02:59
3 Stanislav Rezac Czech Republic 04:03:02

Ladies:

1 Susanne Nyström IFK Mora SK 04:33:07
2 Sandra Hansson Norway 04:33:39 +00:32
3 Sofia Bleckur IFK Mora SK 04:35:59 +02:52

The beauty of winter time

It still is a lovely winter landscape out there. Almost fairytale like at times as you can see.

However, this beauty is right now responsible for all regional trains in Östergötland being cancelled tonight – only the fast trains to Stockholm were still running. The reason? The fog freezes on the electrical leads the trains connect to – and it is only the fast trains that can actually take that challenge.

So we will see if I get to work by train or bus tomorrow 😉 Yesterday my train got evacuated because of that very problem, the train could not connect anymore to the electrical leads – a little adventure, but all went smooth. Footage is missing, though. The train staff made us laugh with announcements like “We do have an on-time-travel-guarantee, so please contact us tomorrow. You have been on train 8770, but they should know, it was the one who broke down in the sticks.” Together with the expression of the voice that one was comedy pure. 😉

Another thing I noticed. You go with the same people on the same train at the same times every day. And you never exchange a word. It takes these events to get people talking to each other. Even though they might look past you next day again when they sit opposite you or just give you a shy smile of recognition. Elevator behaviour I call that.

So, any more adventures ahead? And if so, peeps, keep talking to each other!

P.S.: Comment on the last pic. It says “After a walk in the cold, hot soup and hot chocolate will make you glad.” Well, they’ve got a point, don’t they?

A day in Bergslagen

Winter in Grythyttan and the region of Bergslagen in Sweden. We arrived on Friday night with minus 25 Celsius and left today with minus 14 Celsius. Gorgeous weather, though, and the cold is not as bad a one might think if the right equipment is available.

Here some photo impressions – a day in Bergslagen.

Winter and Christmas Lunch Impressions

Winter definitely made it

On way home now. Not many people around at all today at the train station. I reckon they left early, since also here in Östergötland a bit of snow chaos on the road is reported. In Valdemarsvik, a bit south of Linköping, even schools reportedly closed due to snow. However, my train was spot on time – and now I am sitting in the warmth, typing away while listening to one of my favourite soundtracks, Love Actually. Have a great night everyone!