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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Skiing season’s last hurrah

More than 12,000 skiers headed back up to the high country over the weekend to take part in the traditional 38-kilometer mountain ski race called “Skarverennet.” The race is the last major skiing event of the season, and among the biggest in the world.

Thousands of skiers made a final dash over a Norwegian mountain plateau in the 39th annual race known as "Skarverennet" on Saturday. PHOTO:

This year’s race was saved at the last minute by a new, heavy snowfall and spectacular sunny weather that replaced much stormier conditions in the days leading up to the event. Organizers and participants alike called the day “completely fantastic.”

The 38-kilometer route runs from Finse, on the mountain plateau called Hardangervidda, to Ustaoset, at the top of the valley of Hallingdal. There’s also a shorter, 22-kilometer version of the race that begins at Haugastøl instead of at Finse.

Skiers use both freestyle and classic techniques, with groomed trails running parallel in the area of the Hallingskarvet National Park and under the characteristic peak known as Hallingskarvet.

A total of 12,220 skiers participated on Saturday in the race arranged by the local sports team Geilo Idrettslag and its 1,100 volunteers. The race also attracted some of the sport’s biggest stars and the women’s division was won by Norwegian world champion Therese Johaug, with Marit Bjørgen placing second and Martine Ek Hagen third. It was Johaug’s sixth Skarverennet victory in a row.

Norwegian world champion skier Petter Northug also took part but finished second behind Chris Jespersen of Team Veidekke. Eugeniy Dementjev of Russia placed third. Last year’s winner, Jean Marc Gaillard of France, was fourth.

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