60,000 registered for Vasaloppet's Winter Week 2019
© Vasaloppet / Ulf Palm

Snow and cold weather has grasped large parts of Sweden, and Vasaloppet has grasped the skiers: About 60,000 participants from around 60 nations are registered for races during the Vasaloppet Winter Week 2019. Cross-country elite are skiing, recreational athletes are skiing, celebrities are skiing, neighbours and co-workers might even be skiing. This year we have more races than ever before so there are still plenty of start places available for those who want to participate – anything between 9 and 90 kilometres is on the menu. The "main" Vasaloppet is fully booked, though.

It was in 2012 that Vasaloppet's Winter Week had 60,000 registered participants for the first time; a level that has been held and surpassed every year since. 

In 2019 there are eleven different races to choose from. Like every year there's also the Barnens Vasalopp ski race for the very youngest in Sälen and Mora. 

This year participants will drink about 38,700 litres of blueberry soup, 31,500 litres of sports drink, 12,300 litres of vegetable broth and 3,090 litres of coffee at the seven checkpoints between Sälen and Mora. 

Some news for this year's Winter Week 
- Premiere for Nattvasan 45! These past years Vasaloppet has regularly introduced new races during both the summer and winter events. Anything to ensure that there's a race that suits everyone. Nattvasan 45 starts in Oxberg and follows the same course as Halvvasan, with the difference that Nattvasan 45 is a couples' race that allows skate style for those who wish to use it. The start is on Friday night, March 1, at 20:00. 

- About 11,000 are registered for Öppet Spår Sunday and Öppet Spår Monday. In this year's Öppet Spår there will, as previously announced, be seven start groups, the first starting at 07:00. Groups will then start every ten minutes with about 1,000–1,500 participants per group. Previously, participants could start in Berga by in Sälen at any time between 07:00 and 08:30. Start groups in Öppet Spår are based on the estimated finishing time that each participant entered when registering. 

Celebrities 
As usual there are famous names to be found in the start lists. Here are some: 

Ski legend Gunde Svan is participating in a team in Stafettvasan, the world's biggest relay ski race. Previous hurdling stars Jenny and Susanna Kallur will hold the ceremonial speech at Vasaloppet's festivities in Mora Church on March 1, but they will also take part in Tjejvasan on Saturday, February 23. In Tjejvasan we'll also see skier Anna Jönsson Haag making a comeback. 

Alpine couple Maria Pietilä Holmner and Hans Olsson will be skiing Nattvasan together! TV host Stephan Wilson, skier Johan Olsson and triathlete Annie Thorén will participate in Öppet Spår Sunday. The Swedish Transport Authority's Director General Lena Erixon is hoping to see good tracks in Kortvasan. In Vasaloppet you'll find names like the previous Minister for Foreign Affairs, Thomas Bodström, previous Minister for Culture Alice Bah Kuhnke, Coach of the National Swedish Curling Team Peja Lindholm and Switzerland's President Ueli Maurer. 

In Halvvasan we'll see runner Lisa Ring who won Ultravasan 45 this past summer with a new record time. Like many others she is aiming for Vasaloppstrippeln; completing a skiing, cycling and running race in the Vasaloppet Arena, all in the same calendar year. There are two trifectas to take on: The shorter Vasaloppstrippeln 45 and the longer Vasaloppstrippeln 90. 

Elite 
The start field looks very exciting when it comes to picking who might actually get the medals. Vasaloppet's 2015 victor, Petter Eliassen, has made a comeback in the cross-county cup Visma Ski Classics and recently won Marcialonga, considered to be second most prestigious cross-country race after Vasaloppet. But the elite start group has many potential winners, perhaps more than in many years. These past six years it's been a Norwegian finishing on top, but Oskar Kardin, who came third in Marcialonga, raises Swedish hopes. 

On the ladies' side Britta Johansson is having a great season. She won Vasaloppet 2017 but will be challenged by three other Vasaloppet victors: Justyna Kowalczyk (2015), Katerina Smutná (2016) and Lina Korsgren (2018). Add to that Astrid Öyre Slind, who came second these past two years. 

Live TV broadcast 
Sveriges Television will broadcast both Tjejvasan and Vasaloppet live and Vasaloppet will also be broadcast in many other countries. Vasaloppet's own streaming service Vasaloppet.TV will be streaming live, including the popular finish line camera. 

Events during Vasaloppet's Winter Week 2019 
http://www.vasaloppet.se/en/programme/calendar