The annual Mora, Minnesota Vasaloppet, founded in 1973, provided perfect weather for skiers and watchers alike during the weekend of Feb. 9-10. Besides several ski races, skijoring, and fat bike races, there was an international conference of Vasaloppet organizations in China, Japan, Sweden and Minnesota. The goal for this gathering was to promote Vasaloppet.
Other cultural features included the annual art show, produced by the Kanabec County Arts Association, the Opening Ceremonies, the Radio Show and an original song written by regular participant Steve Pearson. He said the neighboring Birkebeiner Ski race includes a lot of musical numbers about the people, the event, and the community that hosts it. He thought it was time for Mora to have a Vasaloppet Ski song.

Like the lyrics of Pearson’s song say, “Gotta get back to … the friendliest people, the once-a year feeling, the blueberry soup, the bell tower bell, the finish on Main Street, the hometown flavor, the celebration tent, the Dala horses, and the very best volunteers.”

More images from the race: Vasaloppet, Mora Minnesota

Text & Photos by V. S. Arrowsmith

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Race results:
52K Vasa Race
Female: Jan Guenther, 2:32:13.430; Kaythleen Dewahl, 2:35:20.200; Sarah Peters, 2:37:22.300
Male: Matthew Liebsch, 2:07:32.690; Andrew Brown, 2:12:38.290; Adam Mahar, 2:21:38.790

35K Dala Race
Female: Laura Cattaneo, 1:44:33.130; Maureen Lybarger, 1:47:50.891; Maggie Pierson, 1:48:01.190
Male: Nathan Porath, 1:28:45.490; Paul Olson, 1:28:55.650; Spencer Davis, 1:31:47.920

42K Classic Race
Female: Brandy Steward, 2:21:47.210; Josie Nelson, 2:21:47.410; Kerrie Berg, 2:26:35.900
Male: Thomas Kendrick, 1:59:46.480; Craig Cardinal, 2:07:10.610; Knute Sands, 2:07:32.430

13K Bell Ringer Race
Female: Olivia Jacobson, 44:16.239; Elle Westrum, 45:41.640; Courtney Spies, 45:42.899
Male: Nick Kjome 40:10.659; Jared Heida 40:11.000; Noah Erickson, 40:39.319

More images from the Vasaloppet,, Mora Minn. race:

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Main Street in Mora, MN. Is lined with flags and pennants to welcome skiers to the finish line.

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Once skiers round the final corner in the Mora, MN. Vasaloppet ski race, they head down Main Street to the finish line.

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The weather conditions were great for skiing, and this participant from Sweden shows some icy additions to his beard after his race.

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At the end of the race, Torbjörn Pettersson, head of the China Vasaloppet, and Jonas Estéen, head of the Mora, Sweden Vasaloppet, compared notes with local Mora, MN. Cross-country ski coach Chip Gerdin.

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Ingemar of Sweden shows his feelings about crossing the finish line at the annual Mora, MN. Vasaloppet.

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Torbjörn Pettersson, head of the China Vasaloppet, left, checks in with another Swedish ski participant at the finish line.

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Skier number 4769, Troy Anderson, set aside his weekly duties as Pine City High School principal, to take part in one of the races at the Mora Minnesota Vasaloppet.

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Kranskullor are at the ready to drape a medal around each skier’s neck as they cross the finish line in downtown Mora.

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Steve, Paul, Jill, Mary, and Steve enjoyed some time for visiting in the Welcome Tent at the Mora, MN. Vasaloppet in early February. Steve Pearson, far right, added an arts element to the festivities when he performed an original song called, “Gotta Get Back…(to the Mora Vasaloppet)” about the ski race during opening ceremonies. He recorded a CD and made them available to guests for donations towards the Vasaloppet organization.

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Duane Peterson and Chip Gerdin check time results from the Class 42 K ski race. Chip skied in two races on February 10 in Mora, MN. He said it was training for Vasaloppet in Mora Sweden, were he will participate in Open Track skiing in March. Steve and Steve were skiers, the others cheered on the participants.

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Artist Keith Raivo answers questions about his sculpture depicting Vasaloppet board members. Members of the Swedish contingent were viewing the artwork.

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Suus leads the way after crossing the finish line for skijoring at the Mora, MN. Vasaloppet. Keith Raivo attempts to help Suus know that the race is now over.
Skijoring and fat bike races are two events that occur on day two of the Mora Vasaloppet weekend.

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Fat bike competitors compare notes about the track at the end of their race in Mora. Conditions were good, and the weather was crisp and fine.

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Views of Main Street and the finish line in downtown Mora, Minnesota during Vasaloppet weekend in February.

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Multiple modes of transportation happened simultaneously on Mora Main Street during Vasaloppet events. The dog and his skier were taking one of a couple of victory laps, heading back towards the trail they had just completed, while a fat bike racer heads home towards the end of the race.

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In Mora, Minnesota, Vasaloppet representatives from Japan, China, Sweden and Minnesota met for a conference that promotes the ski events in each country. This flag display stood along part of the main street final feet. Your photographer is seen reflected in the window, dressed for the weather. Other folks were invited to sit inside the Zimmerman shop to warm up.

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If guests along the ski trails forgot to bring their cowbells with them, never mind, because one can purchase them in the Vasaloppet headquarters.