Whatever we do here at the Dailyskier, we always try to deliver the following point across: skiing/rollersking is not just a great sport – it’s a growing sport, as more and more people discover its beauty and benefits. One of the signs of the bright future ahead for the sport is in growing numbers of competitions and mass races held throughout the world. Today we introduce yet another new entrant in the field: Klarälvsloppet in western Sweden.
…Through the serene hills and forests of Swedish Värmland runs a 90km smooth asphalt road with no motor traffic. Klarälvsbanan is one of the world’s best known rails-to-trails projects, turning disused railroads into exercise paths for all.
For quite some time now Klarälvsbanan was a venue of regular meet-ups of cyclists. For the first time ever this year it has become a roller-skiing marathon as well.
What makes the new entrant to the world of mass roller-skiing marathons to stand out and, in our opinion, to be totally worth considering for the next year:
– 90km point-to-point race, no corners or sharp bends
– As safe as rollersking competion could get: no intersections with intense car traffic roads, 3 meter width and good tarmac conditions throughout
– Ski marathon elite participation – John Kristian Dahl, the reigning Vasaloppet champion was there ( and came 2s to the finish line – beaten by a whisker by Jens Eriksson of Sweden)
– Atmosphere was really that of big ski marathon with hundreds (thousands?) of enthusiastic locals cheering along the way and the finish at the central park of the local capital of Karlstad
– The race was held in classic style ( naturally – it’s Scandinavia!), with uniform “type 2 wheels” participant requirement – same as in Alliansloppet, for instance. Elite top hundred got identical skis from Skigo.
– Very decent prize money for the winners: The top 3 in both men and ladies got SEK 50000, 30000 20000 respectively.
Here’s what Glenn Olsson, CEO of Klarälvsloppet AB, told us in interview:
– It was a success – we got the feedback from both fast and slow skiers that the event was great. Anton Järnberg, team boss for Lager 157 Ski Team said it was the best roller ski race he ever been to. And Dahl, Eriksson also said it was a tough, fair and really a challenge. “The summer version of Vasaloppet” as they called it.
– We aim to grow towards skiers who run Vasaloppet, to become “the summer version of Vasaloppet”
– The start and the first 4K of the race was on a closed-down road, 8m wide. The track is flat and has no tricky corners and is really safe with no cars. You can go 3 skiers in a row. That will make it possible for almost everyone who do roller skiing to race this event.
– When we decided to hold the roller-skiing race, we budgeted an upgrade to tarmac conditions to suit roller-skiing. It was done during the summer with new asphalt on many locations.
– We chosen the date this year not to collide with other events. Ideally, we want Klarälvsloppet to be held after the summer, but, if possible, earlier in September.
– We had circa 500 people signing for participation – but not all of them came to start and some didn’t finish. We are planning to introduce shorter versions of the race in the future.
– There were 1000 marshals at the event. The competitors all commented on that and they loved it . They had great support and felt real safe and could only enjoy and focus on the skiing.
The full version of the race broadcast is here for your enjoyment
Photos courtesy of Klarälvsloppet