Doing the Vasaloppet (Sweden)?

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E365
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Doing the Vasaloppet (Sweden)?

Postby E365 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:26 pm

Has anyone here (North Americans mostly) ever gone to Sweden to do the Vasaloppet? I'd love to do this someday but have never been to Europe and can't speak Swedish, so I'm a tad hesitant to just sign up. I'm mostly concerned about lodging and resources to prep my skis. Although I guess I could just bring my wax stuff. I see there's lodging and transportation info on their website but it would be nice to hear from someone who has actually done it.

I think a group from Mora, MN goes every year so I bet they would be a good resource too.

PortlandORXCER
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Re: Doing the Vasaloppet (Sweden)?

Postby PortlandORXCER » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:43 pm

I've done it, 13 years ago. It's about as intimidating and challenging as going over into Northern Wisconsin (or probably less so...I'll stop right there :lol: )

Seriously, it's a very doable trip. It actually is like going up into the north country. Hopefully KLM still flies out of MSP; when I went, I flew MSP to Amsterdam to Stockholm, easy peasy. There is a train from Stockholm to Mora although you may want to rent a car and drive up. It's an easy drive and unlike being in a major city like Stockholm, having a car wouldn't be a burden (although you don't need one once you're in Mora).

In regards to language, you could go over there not knowing a word of Swedish and you'd be just fine. Swedes start learning English as early as elementary school, so nearly all Swedes who are under the age of 60 or so know English. In fact, people from other European countries speak English to the Swedes. Having said that, I did learn some phrases which really gained politeness points when dealing with shopkeepers, railway conductors, etc. I would start each conversation in Swedish but then asked if they knew English and almost unilaterally the people would be touched that I at least made the effort. In addition, knowing how to pronounce words (such as on signs) is pretty helpful because Swedish is like English in that the pronounciation can be a guessing game. Basically, the more Swedish you know, the better the experience but again don't let that be a deal breaker.

Here are some additional tips for anyone going over there: first SKI AS MANY LONG DISTANCE CLASSIC RACES AS POSSIBLE AND SKI THEM VERY FAST!!!!! The reason is to get as good of a seeding as possible. Unlike the US Birkie where the waves start 10 min apart, the Vasa has you line up in start corrals (like the Boston Marathon if you've done that) and everyone starts at the same time. It's a freaking mess, so if you can ski some good fast qualifying races, the better start corral you get and the better off you are at the start.

If you can't get a good seeding time, oh well. No big deal. Go anyway.

Second, start your training early with a lot of double poling on roller skis. I wish I would have done that. I did, however, make sure to get in some very long days on snow (once it arrived). On my longest day I skied 7 times around Crow-Hassan Park.

Third, stay at the Mora Park hotel if you can. It's right on the course, about 5k from the finish. They have a wax room which you can use, or you could pay someone to wax them(a high school team was waxing skis as a fundraiser).

I say go for it. Really. You won't regret it.

Raubie
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Re: Doing the Vasaloppet (Sweden)?

Postby Raubie » Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:08 pm

Love to do it, too.

"Four South African novice skiers fly to Sweden to take on the world's largest cross country ski race"
http://vimeo.com/12971897

MN Hoser
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Re: Doing the Vasaloppet (Sweden)?

Postby MN Hoser » Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:29 pm

First, Swedes don't know a lick of English. They all learn Finnish as their second language and could care less about English. Second, there's a sign above the Vasa trail that people will translate to somethig like, "In our father's footsteps I walk." What it really says is, "In your father's pig fields I pee." It's a little joke. Third, Swedes don't like to drink alcohol. :drinkers: For example, if you take a ferry from Fredricksberg to Goteborg on a Friday night, not a damn person will be drinking a beer. Maybe it's because the liquor stores are state owned. Finally, the exchange rate is really good, so everything in Sweden is cheap as hell. It's unbelieveable.

:lol:

Jay

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Re: Doing the Vasaloppet (Sweden)?

Postby Cloxxki » Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:07 pm

WTF they use rollerskis on a peer, when there is a beach underneath for some good sand skiing?

Oh well, I'm jealous, would have liked the opportunity. Classic IMO is relatively easy, I learned it in a matter of an hour to very similar level to my skating of years.
90km on skis doesn't seem like fun, but given opportunity to get ready for it physically should make it doable.
My new blog : 46weeks.blogspot.com

pendejo
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Re: Doing the Vasaloppet (Sweden)?

Postby pendejo » Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:45 pm

Although I live in Sweden I have used public transport to participate in the Vasaloppet a few times and can pass along the following information:

1. You can catch a direct train to Mora from Stocholm airport. No need to hire a car as it won't be needed once you arrive in Mora.

2. There are several hotels within walking distance of the finish line. Mora Best Western and Hotel Siljan are probably the nicest.

3. You can have your skis waxed for you by Swix at the Vasaloppet Village. There are several different price brackets to choose from. Drop your skis off in the morning and pick them up in the evening the same day.

4. Take a bus to the start from Mora. Bus tickets can be bought when you pick up your start package in the Vasaloppet Village. Buses leave from the finishing area the morning of the race between 4 and 4.30 AM and will be at the start area by 6 AM. Plenty of time for you to sort yourself out before the start at 8 AM.

5. You need to have covered at least 500 KM in training to enjoy the experience. The more the better. Lots of double poling. In the weeks leading up to race cut down on frequency and instead switch to longer distances of between 40 to 50 km once a weekend with a few short 1 h double pole sessions thrown in during the week after work.

6. Try and participate in a seeding race if possible but don't worry if you can't. Unless you are an elite skier or start in the first few groups then getting stuck on the first hill is going to happen. You just have to accept this and take it in as part of the experience.

7. Don't overdress. It is always cold at the start since it is in a valley but once you climb out of that valley in the first few kilometers it will be considerably warmer.

8. The first 30 km are easy. This is where inexperienced people make the mistake of pushing too hard as they think it will be like this all the way. The section from 30 to 70 km is the hardest part of the track. Lots of hills. The last 20 km is pretty flat.

9. Eat and drink at every food station and take everything that is placed in front of you. They have this salty soup that is really good at preventing cramps. Drink plenty of this.

10. Have fun. It's a great day as long as you pace yourself. Don't go too fast at the start. It's a great feeling towards the end when you still have gas in the tank and you are passing people. The finish comes much faster.

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Re: Doing the Vasaloppet (Sweden)?

Postby Raubie » Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:54 pm


E365
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Re: Doing the Vasaloppet (Sweden)?

Postby E365 » Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:04 pm

Thanks Raubie! Exactly the kind of info I was looking for. Maybe 2104...


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