Vasaloppet skiers get longed-for go-ahead

The Local/og
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Vasaloppet skiers get longed-for go-ahead

Organizers of Sweden's annual Vasaloppet cross-country ski race, which is scheduled to begin on Sunday, said the historic race would go ahead despite unusually high temperatures.


Every year, central Sweden hosts a 90-kilometre ski race between the village of Sälen and town of Mora, meant to honor the flight of Sweden's first king Gustav Vasa. It is the biggest cross country ski race in the world in terms of participants - with the Duchess of Cambridge's sister Pippa Middleton once taking part. More than 65,000 people signed up to compete last year.
This year, however, the sun meant the race risked being cancelled as the mild winter is wrapping up for an early spring 
"It's the heat that's the problem, it's not about a lack of snow," Vasaloppet spokesman Ola Granfeldt told The Local on Wednesday morning when organizer were still unsure whether the race would go ahead. "The ground just gets too warm for good skiing."
The race has been cancelled three times in the past due to similar problems.
Inspired by a now-mythical journey by Sweden's future king Gustav Vasa, who was locked in fierce struggle against invading Danes in 1521, the Vasaloppet has grown into one of Sweden's most-watched sporting events. 
Swedish royals are no strangers to the race, with King Carl XVI Gustaf braving the cold in 1977, Prince Carl Philip in 2004 and Princess Madeleine in 2008.


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