Ken Roberts - - Cross Country Skiing

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skate the 90km Vasaloppet course

posted to rec.skiing.nordic 03feb14:

Subject: skate Vasaloppet 90K open trail (Sweden)

Surprise on Wednesday in Sweden: the Vasaloppet trail was groomed for skating the whole way from Salen to Mora. Most of the way it had classic striding tracks out on the edges, but with room for two skating lanes in the middle. Sharon drove me to the start, and then I met her at four points along the way, and finally she parked by the Vasaloppet museum and waited for me to finish.

Then the next day I was the one driving the car and Sharon skated some of the fun sections between Mangsbodarna and Oxberg. Coincidence: At the end of one of her "best of the Vasaloppet" sections near Evertsberg, I'm in a little parking area, and there's another man there with his car. He comes over and of course is easily able to talk English with me and he's from Stockholm. He then explains that he's waiting there for his wife. A couple of minutes later Sharon skates up to us, and a minute after that his wife skis in.

They had just groomed the first section the day before I skied it. The starting field was an enormous space of perfect corduroy -- at first I was disoriented skating on it. I had to take off my skis to cross the highway, and then I started up the first Vasaloppet hill alone. That hill is big. I had to stop skating several times (Judging by how I felt on the small hills hours later, I should have stopped more often).

At last on the gentle marshland up top, exhilarating to be alone in the morning in wide open fields with fresh snow on the small pine trees. Actually I wish it hadn't been so fresh and soft (next time they should roll the course a few more times before my "Oppet Spar Skridsko").

I met another skier after the Smagan food stop, going classic the other way. All the other skiers I saw that day were skiing classic -- surprising to me from my American experience, given the trail width and skate grooming. None of them returned my greetings with much enthusiasm. (Did they regard my skating fun as an insult to the course?)

Hills: It was hillier than I expected. I knew about the climb up to Risberg. But I was surprised by all the climbing it took me to get to Oxberg. When I met Sharon at Oxberg I told Sharon it was "only" 30 km to go, so just wait for me in Mora, because I could just double-pole the rest if I had to. But at 70 km the climb up to Hokberg just about finished me -- I thought it was so unfair, they should have changed the course.

Snow level was low coming into Mora. They had not groomed the last 10-15 km after it thawed on Sunday and then re-froze, so it was easier skating. Then to make the trail thru the camping park, it looked like they had trucked in snow. Suddenly the snow track ended in a driveway, so I finished by walking three blocks to the Vasaloppetshus and carried my skis across the finish.

Food stops? The only place I saw to buy food or drink was Evertsberg (also the only place with a sign for motel rooms). The other named places along the way are just collections of houses, not places to re-fuel.



Date: February 18, 2003

Jay Tegeder asked

Was it the official Oppet Spar?

No, I was there about 10 days before the Oppet Spar. Constraints on when Sharon and I could get off for vacation time. I sorta doubt they'd allow me to get very far using skate technique on the official Oppet Spar days.

did you get your Worldloppet Passport stamped?

No, I hadn't thought I was going for that. But maybe I should get one before I do the real Birkebeiner.

I always find it odd when people describe the Vasaloppet course as being flat.

I was taken in on the flatness thing -- that's what made me decide to skate -- first by the "flat course" rumors. And second by my own experience a couple of days before, skiing classic on the later section around the Mora skidstadion and Eldris -- which did some pretty gentle. That led me to decide that it was going to be no fun to do the whole thing classic, double-poling almost the whole way.

Oddly I didn't train much for skating this year. I don't think I've ever skated more than 35 km in one day before, and I didn't skate more than 200 km in my whole previous season this year. No wonder my arms were hurting so much by the end -- making up for lack of training in my legs.


frozen lakes: ski + skate (Sweden)

posted to rec.skiing.nordic 03feb18:

Subject: frozen lakes - ski and skate

One thing new for Sharon and me in visiting Sweden was seeing a photo in the Falun tourist booklet of two people out ice skating with ski poles. Which led us to some adventures out on frozen lakes. So here it is:
1 - skating on lakes
2 - skiing on lakes
3 - questions


The tourist office said we could rent ice skates, so Sharon and I went to a bike shop ( in downtown Falun. They rented us skates -- together with a pair of ice picks on cords to pull ourselves out if we broke thru the ice -- and told us a good place to get on the ice of the Runn lake.

I was out skating on the largest lake I've been on -- with my cross country ski poles. They had a map at the start that showed routes. And they had groomed a wide track of ice thru the snow on the lake. I decided to try the loop half-way around Runn. It was exciting to be skating alone out in the middle of this lake, sometimes looking down thru the black transparent ice that had been groomed. Later I saw other skaters, and most of them had ski poles also.

At first I was hesitant -- it felt very different from skating on snow -- so fast it was almost like low-resistance rollerskis. At first I tried skating with no poles -- tried to apply the same tips I learned last month for ski skating -- it seemed to work.

Then I tried double poling: and the tips of my ski poles actually worked on that cold hard ice. So I tried open field skate (einkeltdans ? Canadian 2-skate), and that worked OK, and I liked it for going into a head-wind. Then I tried V2 (dobbeltdans ? Canadian 1-skate), but I found that was just too much poling activity -- it more got in the way of my leg-pushes than helping them.


Last Sunday we were in Stockholm city, so we asked our hotel reception staff members where we could go skiing. They said they had no idea (Whatever happened to "born with skis on"?). So we did like at home -- went around looking in city parks. What we discovered is that the people of Stockholm are big on walking, not skiing. Our search for a place to do some long skiing without encountering lots of boot-prints in the snow led us to a park to the northeast, and a road that said something like "lila skoga". We put our classic skis on and we immediately reached a large lake -- or maybe it was a river, since there was a big bridge across the middle of it.

At first we were all alone out there on this lake on a Sunday morning -- how come no track groomed for ice skating like on the Runn? how come there's no skiers here? is this OK for us? But the ice under snow seemed very solid, so we started skiing -- classic striding. And it was fun. Then we headed out across the middle where most of the snow had been blown off. So we used our ski poles again, just like on the Runn, double-poling. Or sometimes kick-double-pole, where I'd do the kick on a small patch of snow, and the double-pole and glide on the ice. A fast kind of classic skiing. (After that we went to a more famous park in Stockholm, the Djurgarden, where we tried skiing on land, but that wasn't as much fun as out on the lake.)


  • Are people using ski poles for skate touring on lakes in other countries, or is just for Sweden?

  • The skates we rented in Falun were not really ice skates. They were removable skate blades attached to 75mm-norm 3-pin leather ski boots. I saw that the store also had blades for SNS and X-Adventure ski boots, but they said those were only for purchase, not for rent. A few days later in a store in Stockholm, I again saw only skate blades for ski boots, no actual ice skates. Question: Is anybody except real serious speedskaters using dedicated ice skates any more for touring out on lakes?

  • Was I right to try to transfer all my ski skating technique concepts to ice-skate touring on a lake?

  • At a map store in downtown Stockholm, I found several maps and guidebooks specifically for skate touring on lakes. But none for cross country ski touring on land. (The topo maps I found showed snowmobile routes, not ski touring). Did I miss something?



Date: Feb 20 2003

Inger Skramstad Jørstad wrote

Stockholm is not really a town for skiing

But Sharon and I are still glad we included Stockholm on our skiing holiday. It is a great town for walking. Though one thing we learned is that we had to wear lots of extra clothing for that, because walking does not generate as much heat as skiing. And skiing on that big lake (or river) was fun and special -- and I hadn't known a place near Oslo like it.

Oslo has excellent skiing possibilities.

And oddly, the Vasaloppet trail is closer to Oslo than to Stockholm in linear distance. (at least that's how it looked to me on an overview map that included both Norway and Sweden.) Though the transportation time to Mora is likely less from Stockholm.

That overview map also was colored to show altitude, which revealed to me that not just Oslo, but most of Norway has a critical advantage for skiing during our general warming trend: much higher percentage of land area at higher altitude.

So I think of the big frozen lakes as Sweden's special offering for the visiting cross country skier.

Fortunately Jan's forecast was on target, and we had beautiful fresh snow all around us even when we went down as far south as Linkoping and Soderkoping.

Pretty farms on snow-covered plains to the south, fun lakes and forest in the north, lots of people who speak English -- where else could we have found all that except Sweden?

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