The world’s longest and oldest ski race was first held in 1922 when 136 competitors skied the 90 km (56 miles) from Salen to Mora. Today more than
14,000 skiers take on the challenge on the first Sunday in March. Many more prefer the calmer Open Track race held the previous weekend or special races such as Tjejvasan for women. A staff of 3,000 support the skiers by providing blueberry soup, ski waxing and blister plasters. And all
because in 1520 Gustav Vasa could not get the men of Dalarna to rise up against the Danes. Disheartened, he fled on skis from the Danish troops towards Norway, but when the local men heard about the Stockholm Bloodbath (58), they changed their minds and their two best skiers raced to intercept their future king near Salen.
In summer, a hiking trail follows the course from Berga in Salen to the finish at Zorn’s statue of Gustav Vasa in Mora.
Berga. just south of the village of Salen, is the starting point for the 14.000 skiers who are let loose in the early dawn in several stages, top skiers first.
Evertsberg lies halfway between Salen and Mora. Here, as in many places along the route, the competitors fortify themselves with blueberry soup. Those only skiing half the race can leave the track at this point.
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