Guide to Vasaloppet

  • Published: 2/22/2023
  • 4 min. read

Strapping on your skis on 5 March this year to compete in Vasaloppet? Then you have a tough, but wonderful journey ahead of you. Here, you will find some good advice and information about the race. Everything you should know about tackling ninety kilometers on a pair of skis!

Did you know that Vasaloppet’s history began 500 years ago? At that time, Gustav Vasa, who later became the king of Sweden, skied between Sälen and Mora – the exact route that Vasaloppet skiers race today. However, Gustav Vasa’s journey was a bit more stressful. He was namely being chased by soldiers sent by Danish King Christian, also known as Christian the Tyrant, perpetrator of the Stockholm Bloodbath. Vasa escaped, however, and 400 years later, the first Vasa race was kicked off. Since 1922, more than 1.7 million people have completed one of Vasaloppet’s various races. 

Vasaloppet today

Today, Vasaloppet is the world’s longest skiing endurance race. For the first few years, the date of the race varied, but since 1948 it has been held on the first Sunday in March. The race beautifully winds its way through forests, over bogs, past streams, villages and pastoral farmsteads. Maybe you’ve heard of Mångsbodarna, Oxberg and Eldris? These are three of the seven control posts along the route. Here, skiers fill their energy stores with, e.g., blueberry soup and buns, and if necessary, they can wax their skis and change out their poles. 

Various races
When Vasaloppet is mentioned, most people think of the race on the first Sunday in March. But actually, there are now 14 different races to take part in. These include the three different Nattvasan night race distances, the Stafettvasan relay in which five participants share 90 km of skiing, and the Ungdomsvasan youth race for skiers between ages 11 and 16, covering 9 or 19 kilometers. Which race do you prefer? 

Eat right before the race 

Here are a few thoughts about how you should eat before your race.

The week before: Load up on carbohydrates with rice, pasta and whole grains, and enjoy homemade smoothies. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a couple of snacks and a small evening meal. Why not make your own blueberry soup or almond cookies for between meals? 

The evening before: Load up on carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Take it easy on the fiber to avoid having stomach issues during the race. 

The morning of Vasaloppet: Eat a hearty breakfast. Good suggestions are oatmeal or yogurt with muesli, berries, fruit and nuts. Also have a sandwich with eggs and caviar or cottage cheese and ham/turkey. 

During the race: Stop at the controls and fill your energy stores with blueberry soup and buns. 

5 motivational tips 

Losing stamina during the race? Don't worry, here are five tips that will help you regain your energy.

- Eat and drink something. Bring a couple of extra power bars and a hydration belt to keep you going between control posts. 

- Divide the rest of the race into mental milestones, focusing on one goal at a time. 

- How do you want to feel when you cross the finish line? Concentrate on that feeling. It will give you something to look forward to! 

- Try to enjoy the moment. You are participating in a historic race in a gorgeous setting. 

- Talk to others en route. This will help take your mind off every move you make.

Blueberry soup 
20 min, 4 servings

3 cups / 520 g fresh or frozen blueberries
2 cups/ 240 ml water
2 tsp cornstarch
4 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup / 240 ml Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract 

1. Add all ingredients to a large saucepan and bring to boil while whisking. 
2. Lower the heat and let the soup simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
3. Mix Greek yogurt and vanilla extract and serve on top.

Almond biscuits
30 min, 8 servings

1 cup / 100 g almond flour 
1 egg white
4 pitted dates
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C
2. Add all ingredients to a blender or a mixer and mix until combined.
3. Add the batter to a piping bag and pipe out small dots on parchment paper and bake in the oven for 8-15 minutes until they are golden.

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