The popularity of the Vasaloppet has grown every year.Photo:Ulf Palm/Scanpix

Vasaloppet boosts local economy

"It's a challenge and an adventure and it's real fun"
4:03 min

This Sunday a record number of cross country skiers will take part in the Vasaloppet, the 90 kilometre cross country ski race between Sälen and Mora which commemorates King Gustav Vasa's fight to kick the Danes out of Sweden in 1520.

There will be close to 60,000 people in total taking part in the nine races spread over the seven days of Vasaloppet week which is worth 180 million kronor (28 million US dollars) to the local economy.

Hotels have been quick to cash in with some of those near to the start in Sälen charging 2,000 kronor a night.

Mora council commissioner Peter Helander told Radio Sweden that the main reason for the boom in visitors in the past two years has been down to the weather.

"We can see that if there is snow this year we will have a big number applying for next year and then it seems that people are actually trying to exercise." 

The first race in Vasaloppet week, last sunday's non competitive open track race saw 6,000 skiers leave Sälen for the 90 kilometre journey to the finish line in Mora. At one time the vasaloppet was just the one race but now the event has spread to 9 different races over 7 days.

In two decades,  it's gone from a little under 20,000 taking part during the week to 57,500 last year. If the figure continues to grow then race organisers say they will have to set a maximum ceiling of numbers taking part.

It's not just Vasaloppet week which has taken off, more Swedes than ever before are taking to their cross country skies or buying a pair for the first time.

Figures from TT news show that three 3 years ago, sales of cross country skies were at the 70,000 mark, last winter that figure had jumped to 120,000.

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