Aiming to organise a national cross-country ski-race, the first “Vasaloppet” was a an immediate success. And it just kept growing in popularity.
The first woman to race
In 1923 the first woman ever to participate in Vasaloppet finished last. Even though she was cheered on by thousands of spectators and many saw her as a role model, women were forbidden to participate for many years. Still, the event grew larger and larger, much thanks to famous cross country skiers who returned to Mora to race year after year.
The first broadast
Due to the first world war many men were ordered to join the army. One of them, a young man and a talented skier, “Mora-Nisse”, later became historical after winning Vasaloppet no less than nine times!
During the sixties a nation wide exercise-boom led to some necessary changes. For example the starting point was moved from Mora to Berga and a short news segment about the race was broadcasted on public television for the very first time.
The fact that the race was now covered by the media led to a a faster growing interest among the public. In 1966 more than 6 000 skiers entered the competition, a number that kept on growing for many years.
The first royal participant
In 1977 the Swedish king, Carl XVI Gustaf, became the first member of the Swedish royal family to participate in Vasaloppet. That same year, more than a hundred thousand skiers entered the competition, which turned this once small national ski-race into a huge internationell success. This success led the opening of “Öppet Spår”, which can be described as a non-competetive “open-to-all-cross-country-ski-race”.
A historical moment
1981: A historical year in the history of Vasaloppet due to the fact that women were allowed to enter “the real race” for the first time since 1923. One year later the race was live-sent on TV, from start to finish – an event that made cross-country-skiing the number one national sport.
More historical moments
1953: The 50:th anniversary of Vasaloppet
1977: A royal family member enters for the first time
1988: The start of “Tjejvasan” (“girls-only-race”)
1990: Vasaloppet is cancelled due to the lack of snow
2008: The first “Ungdomsvasan” is held (“youngsters-only-race”)
2009: The start of “Cykelvasan” (“Vasaloppet-on-bike”)
2012: With 60 000 participants a new record is set
2017: The start of “Nattvasan” (“Vasaloppet-by-night”)
Sources: Vasaloppet.se and visitsdalarna.se
Did you find a factual mistake? Email me!
2022 © Petra Roman, freelance writer