Vasaloppet still a go despite snow concerns

27 February 2014 10:38
Vasaloppet 2012
Vasaloppet 2012 -
NordicFocus

Because of the warm weather the course situation before StafettVasan and Vasaloppet has become critical. At a press conference on Wednesday morning, Vasaloppets management explained the actions to be taken such that the two last winter week races can be run as planned. 

This critical situation has arisen since the marshes north of Evertsberg have not become thoroughly frozen during this warm winter. The latest rain and plus temperatures has led to an extreme snow melting which became devastating during Tuesday when large amounts of water accumulated in the course north of Evertsberg. There is snow, but without freezing, the ground is too soft to bear track machines or skiers. This meant there was a risk that the weekend ski races might have to be cancelled. 

The whole organisation is working now so that both Friday’s StafettVasan and Sunday’s Vasaloppet, in spite of this, will be able to be run over the classic distance between Sälen and Mora. The strategy is that, aided by helicopter, lorries and work teams equipped with snow shovels, we will make specific efforts to fill with snow the worst affected areas along the porous marshes. 

“One can say that the waters broke, and what normally happens over a two week period in April we experienced over a day. But in last night’s inspection we could see that it had begun to dry out under somewhat and, for the first time for three days, we had minus temperatures. Now we have to cross our fingers that the weather is with us and that, with a massive exertion, the 90th Vasaloppet can be run on Sunday. It can be a bit wet, but it should be possible,” says Vasaloppets CEO Anders Selling.

The situation is still judged to be critical. Vasaloppet has a running dialogue with SVT’s meteorologist, Pia Hultgren, who is on the spot and carefully evaluates the extra efforts that are now underway. 

Vasaloppet has a clear snow security plan which has been followed since November when snow production began, but weather and temperatures have to work together for the plan to be fully effective. The six races which have already been run in Vasaloppets winter week 2014 (KortVasan, TjejVasan, UngdomsVasan, Öppet Spår Sunday, Öppet Spår Monday och HalvVasan) have attracted 34,681 skiers to the start. Participant records were set in both Öppet Spår Monday and HalvVasan. To StafettVasan there are 1,600 five person teams (8,000 participants) entered and for the 90th Vasaloppet there are 15,800 entered.