Guide to the ultimate Vasaloppet experience.
Planning on participating in this year’s Vasaloppet? Get our expert’s advice on how to get the best possible experience.
Are you one of the lucky skiers who are taking on the 90-kilometre legendary cross-country ski race Vasaloppet this Sunday; and could you do with some advice on how to perform your best?
We talked with our cross country expert Martin Korsner on how to get a successful experience at Vasaloppet.
Before the race
The recipe for the perfect Vasa-experience begins before you’ve crossed the start line. Martin points out that getting your gear in shape is important for your performance in the race.
“The right preparation will give you the optimal stride of course, but it will also give you a mental boost because you’ll know that you can trust your gear,” says Martin.
A lot of people uses waxless skis, but if you’re in Vasaloppet to compete (either with yourself or others) you’ll often use waxable skis, and this means that you’ll need to pay attention to the waxing of the skis.
He points out that you’ll also need to add the right glider wax. There are different glider waxes for different weather conditions. If you aren't a wax expert, Martin recommends that you get your skis waxed by a pro.
But next to the glide wax, it is also very important to have solid kick back performance. “I prepare the kick wax the day before the race. Think in layers, and start with the layer you want to ski on last. You need to find the right balance. You need enough wax to make it through the race, but not so much that it will slow down your stride”, says Martin.
Golden tips about the trail
Now you’re ready to cross the start line and take on the 90km. Martin has a few pointers on where to be a little extra alert:
“The first hill can be a hustle. There are not many trails, and people are standing like sardines in a can. You’ll risk of getting caught in other peoples poles and skis and break your own poles. Respect each other and be aware that you don’t put your poles in other peoples boots or skies”.
Another spot where you have to pay attention is just after the first checkpoint at Smågan.
“There are a few descents there, and the tracks can be very hard to break in, this increase the risk of falling, even though you might have control over your skis, you can risk getting caught in someone whos falling just in front of you,” says Martin.
The last place on the route that Martin points out is the descent near Risbjerg where the tracks can be ruined due to people snow plow to take off speed.
“Keep your distance to other people and look ahead and keep an eye out, so you don’t risk bashing somebody who’s crashed. Bend your knees and keep your poles close to your body, so you’re taking up as little room up as possible”, says Martin.
Do yourself a favour
We talked about the gear, we talk about the route and now it’s time to talk about you. When I ask Martin about his top advice to others skiers he’s answer is clear: You need to pick up your technique.
“When you get tired you’ll often get sloppy with the techniques like your diagonal strides this will leave you with a bad stride and drain you mentally and physically, so slow down a little and take time to get the technique to work again,” he says.
Martin points out that you should make use of the checkpoints to get recharged with energy.
“Use every chance you get to get lemonade, bread, and blueberry soup. You can also use gels when you’re out on the trail, but to get recharged at the checkpoints really works both mentally and physically”, he states.
Last but not least, Martin has one final advice.
“Respect the “traffic rules.” The fast lane is left, and the slow lane is the right. Furthermore, keep distance to your fellow skiers, and if you’re unlucky to crash, try to get to the side, so you don’t get run over. Last but not least remember to have fun.”