How to get ready for Vasaloppet and succeed: Part 2
Be aware: This is the second part of the guide. If you haven’t read the first part, you can check it out here.
It only takes a few stanzas of Vasaloppet hymn to give Bo Jensen shivers down his spine and send him back to the Swedish town of Sälen on the first Sunday in March, where 15.800 cross-country skiers participate in the world's oldest and biggest classic cross country race.
Some of them are competing to win the race, others are just trying to complete the 90 kilometres from Sälen to Moria in Sweden.
Get the Technique right
A good way to prepare your body for cross-country skiing and help you train the diagonal arm-leg coordination needed for the Classic technique is Nordic walking (power walking with poles).
The poles can be used both for roller skis and cross country skiing - The only difference is the snow basket at the end. Consider if you want a soft or a hard pole. The hard pole like The Skigo Race 1.0 Powerstrap Stave is a super light pole which gives you maximal power transfer but doesn't absorb the impact as well as a softer pole.
A soft pole like The Yoko 5400 Recreational Blue Ski Pole doesn't give you the same thrust, but it’s more durable and shock absorbing. You’ll often see many broken poles at the side of the trail due to the stiffness of the poles.
Many skiers break them by accidentally hitting each other's poles. A soft pole and flexible pole reduces the risk of doing that. Find out how to choose a cross-country ski pole that fits you here.
The perfect fit
Your boots need to fit your feet 100 percent since you have to wear them for 90 km non-stop.
Bo recommends The Alpina T30 Touring Cross Country Ski Boots. This kind of boot provides great ankle support which gives you great balance and stability. The good news is that they can be used for both roller skiing and cross-country skiing, so there’s no need to buy a pair of boots for both disciplines.
Even though your boots might fit you perfectly, Bo points out, that you should always be aware of changes.
“If you tend to get blisters on your heels or bunion, you should take care of the problems before they occur by taping them up. You're better of safe than being sorry”, he says.
The right clothing.
The right clothing is one of the keys to success. We recommend that you get some proper cross country clothing that’s designed to be well-articulated at all the joints so you can move with freedom and comfort, things that are both important for your performance. Cross country skiing is a high-intensity sport that builds up a sweat. This is also why cross country clothing is thin and lightweight. A good cross country jacket is made from wind and waterproof materials in the front and a breathable fabric at the back.
The Yoko Yws 10.1 Jacket is the perfect choice for both beginners and seasoned skiers. This jacket is designed to protect you from the weather, but at the same time ventilate excess heat and transport sweat from the inner layer, so you can keep dry and warm at all times, and perform your absolute best. Read more about how to dress to keep warm and dry here.