John Kristian Dahl won Vasaloppet both in 2014 – in his first season on the marathon circuit – and again this year. Photo: Madshus
The long-distance series adds five new events to the race schedule for 2017.
The 2016/2017 Ski Classics race schedule includes new events in Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Finland and China. The marathon series now consist of the world´s 13 most prestigious cross-country ski events.
The race series, which enters its seventh season, is unique both in that the 28 Pro Teams and more than 50.000 amateurs toe the same start line, and in that male and female skiers compete together for the same distances.
Ski Classics VII (2016/2017):
Event 1: 27th November, Prologue Pontresina Switzerland 10 km
Event 2: 3rd December, La Sgambeda Livigno Italy 35km
Event 3: 4th January, Changchun Vasaloppet China 50km
Event 4: 14th January, Kaiser Maximilian Lauf Seefeld Austria 60km
Event 5: 21st January, La Diagonela St Moritz Switzerland 65km
Event 6: 29th January, Marcialonga Trentino Italy 70km
Event 7: 11th February, Toblach-Cortina Italy 50km
Event 8: 19th February, Jizerska Padesatka Czech Republic 50km
Event 9: 5th March, Vasaloppet Sweden 90km
Event 10: 18th March, Birkebeinerrennet Norway 54km
Event 11: 26th March, Årefjällsloppet Sweden 65 km
Event 12: 1st April, Reistadløpet Bardufoss Norway 50km
Event 13: 8th April, Ylläs-Levi Finland 55km
About the individual events
The 2017 Ski Classics season kicks off with an individual prologue in Pontresina, Switzerland, on November 27th. The individual prologue is a new initiative since last year´s tour that started with a Pro Team Tempo prologue.
The following weekend, on Saturday December 3rd, the 35km La Sgambeda in Livigno, Italy, takes place as in past seasons. Also new this season is also that the above-mentioned Team Prologue will give both Pro Team points and Individual points.
The first two events are both at altitude, around 2000 meters, which makes them extra challenging.
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VASALOPPET: Each year, 15,800 racers embark on the 90 kilometer journey from Sälen to Mora. Photo: Vasaloppet
The 50km Vasaloppet China in Changchun, China, which takes place on January 4th, is the third event on the race schedule. This is the first time the Ski Classics leaves Europe. Changchun is an industrial megacity in northern China, the event is held in the national park famous for the amazing snow sculptures built around the event finish.
After China the Tour returns to Europe for Kaiser Maximilian Lauf in Seefeld, Austria. The event was part of last year´s calendar as a late replacement for a cancelled event. This year, the event will have a complete new course over 60km with start and finish in the picturesque city of Seefeld.
“For Seefeld, the Kaiser Maximilian Lauf is a step into the Nordic future and an opportunity to show that we are the best cross-country destination in the Alps. In the Ski Classics, we have an experienced partner on our side for the organization of long distance races,” says Markus Daschil Viceman of the tourist board and Nordic group coordinator in Seefeld.
He adds that Seefeld will host the FIS Nordic World Championship 2019 we will also in Seefeld.
From Seefeld, the Ski Classics continues with well-known events in the following order of: La Diagonela, Marcialonga, Toblach-Cortina, Jizerska Padesatka, Vasaloppet, Birkebeinerrennet and Årefjällsloppet.
However, the Czech event Jizerska 50 moves to mid-February in order to get better snow conditions.
This year, Årefjällsloppet, Sweden, will take place on Sunday 26th of March, but it will not be the Ski Classics finale, as the race series has added two more races at the end of the season.
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Oh so close: Tore Bjoerseth Berdal was one tenth of a second from first place in the Ski Classics event Koenig Ludwig Lauf 2015. Photo: Ski Classics
The new event Reistadløpet takes place on April 1st in the stunning mountainous fjord landscapes of northern Norway. The event features a 50km course with start in Setermoen and finish in Bardufoss. Reistadløpet has been organized for more than 50 years in the memory of the Norwegian legendary military Ole Reistad. The area surrounding the race is also home to one of the most important military bases in Norway, and the area is also famous for the professional UCI World Tour cycling race Arctic Race of Norway.
“This is exactly what we need to bring our event in northern Norway to the next level. We believe race taking place north of the Arctic Circle on guaranteed natural snow and one of the toughest courses in the Ski Classics will bring a lot of attraction to the event, especially for those of us who like the old, traditional type of cross-country skiing, says Jørn Erik Berntsen, CEO Reistadløpet.
Finally, the Ski Classics moves to Finland for the last new event in the race series: Ylläs-Levi in Lappland. This will be the Ski Classics finale, and features a 55km course with finish on the main street of Finland´s biggest alpine resort Levi. The Ylläs-Levi area offers 550 km well-prepared tracks and a snow guarantee seven months per year. The Kittilä airport makes it easy to travel to Levi, and the area has more than 45 000 hotel beds and wide range of services. Levi Events, the LOC party, has a lot of experience of hosting international events such as Alpine World Cup Levi.
“We are extremely proud to be a part of the Ski Classics family, and believe that having a final event at Ylläs-Levi area will help us to reach our future goals in becoming the largest cross-country tourist area in the northern Europe,” says Janne Pelkonen, CEO at Levi Events.