Aiming to organise a national cross-country ski-race, the first Vasaloppet in Mora, Sweden, was a an immediate success.
In 1923 the first woman ever to participate finished last. For many years to come women were then forbidden to race. Still the competition grew larger each time, with successful and famous skiers returning to Mora to race every year.
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. The starting point was moved from Mora to Berga and a short news segment about the race was broadcasted on public television for the first time.
The fact that the race now was covered by the media led to a an even faster growing interest among the public. In 1966 more than 6 000 skiers entered the competition – a number that kept growing larger each year.
In 1977 the Swedish king, Carl XVI Gustaf, became the first member of the Swedish royal family to enter the race. That year more than 10 000 skiers participated and Vasaloppet, once a small national ski-race, officially became a huge internationell success. Which led to the opening of “Öppet Spår” – a non-competetive race from Sälen to Mora open to all.
1981 is a historical year for Vasaloppet due to the fact that women were allowed to enter “the real race”. A year later the race was live-sent on TV from start to finish and cross-country skiing became the national sport.
1953 – the 50:th anniversary of Vasaloppet
1977 – a member of the royal family races for the first time
1981 – women are allowed to race for the first time since 1923
1988 – the start of “Tjejvasan” (a girls-only-race)
1990 – Vasaloppet is cancelled due to the lack of snow
2008 – the start of “Ungdomsvasan” (a 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)
2021 © Petra Roman, freelance writer
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