Sunshine and warm temperatures made for fast times at the 2009 Mora Vasaloppet, but no new records.
Three Minnesotans took all three top spots in the 58k premier race with Matthew E Liebsch of Plymouth, MN the men's first finisher at 2:18:12 followed by Anders K Osthus of Duluth, MN and Nikolai N Anikin, also of Duluth. The women's race was won by Mary Beth Tuttle of Pine Springs, MN (2:35:43), followed by Diane M Tremblay of Hayward, WS, and Jan L Guenther of Mound, MN. Over 1,600 skiers competed.
The Vasaloppet in Mora Minnesota, this year on February 8 offers 58km, 58km Relay, 35km, 13km freestyle races and a 42km classic-only race.
The original 90 kilometer Swedish Vasaloppet, a ski race from Sälen to Mora in Dalarna, Sweden, commemorates the founding of modern Sweden. Sweden back in 1522 was ruled by Denmark but a Swedish nobleman named Gustav Vasa was attempting to lead his fellow countrymen in revolt against the Danes. After a visit to Mora where he had tried to convince his fellow countrymen of the Danish massacre of Swedes in Stockholm, Gustav Vasa left. Once his story was confirmed the people of Mora sent two skiers to catch up with Gustav and have him return to their city. Story has it that they caught up to him near Sälen. He then successfully led the revolt against Danish rule and became the first king of modern Sweden.
While the Swedish race begun in 1922, its Minnesota counterpart started in 1972. The now four Vasaloppet races (Sweden, USA, Japan and China) have formed an International Vasaloppet Skiing Exchange.
More info on the Minnesota race: www.vasaloppet.org, on Vasaloppet in Sweden: www.vasaloppet.se, in Japan: www.ahmic21.ne.jp/asahikawa-sports/vasaloppet.html, in China: www.nordicways.com