Johan Kjølstad (NOR) won Årefjällsloppet (SWE), the season finale for the 2016 Ski Classics. Photo: Ski Classics

Johan Kjølstad (NOR) won Årefjällsloppet (SWE), the season finale for the 2016 Ski Classics. Photo: Ski Classics

Johan Kjølstad (NOR) made the podium at the roller ski race Alliansloppet.

The Madshus marathon racer was second in the classic roller ski race in Sweden this weekend. He finished the 48-kilometer course in 1:43:56, and won the sprint finish for second place.

Alliansloppet was the second event in the new roller ski series World Classic Tour. The Tour, which was established prior to the 2016 summer season, started with the Blink Classics 60km roller ski race in Norway on July 28, and will conclude with Olaf Skoglunds Minneløp in Norway on September 3.

According to recently published figures, cross-country skiing is almost as popular with the Norwegian audience in the summer as in the winter. Almost 3.3 million TV viewers have watched the broadcasted roller ski events this summer, starting with Oslo Ski Show in June. For instance, nearly 530,000 people watched the uphill skate race Lysebotn Opp on TV on July 29.

– That broadcasted cross-country skiing is almost as important to Norwegians in the summer as in the winter just proves how popular skiing is in Norway. We are proud of our product and that we get such high ratings even in the off season, says Vidar Løfshus, Norwegian national team director to NTB.