A total of 1,674 Norwegians were registered to compete in the major, and lengthy, ski race across the border in Sweden over the weekend known as Vasaloppet. That’s down from nearly 2,200 in 2009 and around a hundred less that last year.
“I don’t really know why,” Jon Svensson, information and marketing chief for Vasaloppet, told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) on Friday. “There are a lot more Norwegians who take part in Marcialonga (another major race in Italy every year). It’s probably because it’s not long before ‘Birken’ (the long-distance Birkebeiner race over the mountains from Østerdalen to Gudbrandsdalen). There aren’t so many Swedes in that either.”
The last week of world championships in Italy may also have stolen some attention away from the 90-kilometer-long Vasaloppet and its other affiliated races that have been going on all week. But the Swedes and other participants are turning out in huge numbers. Around 15,800 skiers are registered for the marathon ski race on Sunday that runs from Sälen to Mora in Sweden’s scenic region of Dalarna. That’s a new record, at a time when cross-country skiing in Sweden has taken on new popularity. All told, some 66,000 skiers signed up for all the various events through the week.