While winter is still a few months away, it is never too early to set a season goal.
Emilia Lindstedt, who won the 220-kilometer Nordenskiöldloppet in Northern Sweden by a sensational 3-hour margin, is one of Sweden’s top long-distance skiers.
These are her top three must do items for the winter. Although Lindstedt’s professional team Ski ProAm folded after the 2017-18 season, the 27-year-old is still excited about racing this winter, and looking forward to do so with less pressure to perform.
- Kaiser Maximilian Lauf, Seefeld, Austria
Seefeld is my absolute favorite destination in the Alps. With literally hundreds of miles of meticulously maintained and always freshly groomed cross-country trails through varied terrain, this place is magical whether you are an elite racer or recreational skier. The annual Kaiser Maximilian Lauf is organized each year in mid-January, and is a real challenge. The 60-kilometer classic event features more, steeper and longer hills than most Ski Classics events. But don’t let the course profile scare you from entering: the views and the thrills on the course, the cheering crowds along the trail and the atmosphere of the event is well worth the effort. Additionally, Seefeld is a great destination with so much more to offer outside the skiing. There are lots of amazing places to eat, and one of my favorite things to do is sit down for a piece of apfelstrudel and a hot chocolate, or even a cup of glühwein, and let the sun hit my face with a hint of spring after skiing.
- Vasaloppsveckan in Mora, Sweden
I never get tired of Vasaloppsveckan: An entire week of skiing, racing, performances, challenges, waxing, gear and grooming. Wherever you turn, everyone is skiing, testing skis, testing wax and gear morning, noon and night. As a skier, this is something not to be missed. You have to experience it to know what I mean. Even if youre not a skier, it’s an experience to immerse yourself in a place where so many skiers gather and with so much ski-related in one place for an entire week. Throughout the Vasaloppsveckan, there are several races and events to enter, with something for everyone: the 9-kilometer family event Blåbærsloppet, Barnas Vasalopp for the very young and Ungdomsvasan (9km and 19km) for youth and junior skiers, the 30-kilometer Kortvasan, the all women’s Tjejvasan (30km), the 45-kilometer Halvvasan, the 5-leg relay stafettvasan (each leg varying from 9km to 24km), the 90-kilometer night skate event Nattvasan for 2-person teams, as well as the more low-key version of the classic event Öppet Spår (90km). And of course the legendary Vasaloppet (90km).
- Spring skiing in the mountains
Spring and late winter is hands down the best season for skiing. This is when you are rewarded for all those harder and darker workouts throughout the winter. To cruise across the morning crust, or make a summit bid just because you want to inhale the views of seemingly endless mountains and wilderness from the top of the world, gives me that intense feeling of freedom. For me, paradise is the Hemavan area in Sweden. If it were up to me, we could have this kind of spring-winter all year round, with long easy skiing and waffle breaks. But there are several events in April as well. Ski Classics has two races: Reistadløpet (50km) in Norway and Ylläs-Levi (70km) in Finland.
“These are my favorite events. But make sure to check out your local or regional race calendar as well. Maybe you discover a new event you’d like to try,” Lindstedt says.
This is Ski Classics 2018-2019:
November 30: Team Prolog, Livigno, Italy, 15km
December 2: Individuell prolog, Livogno, Italy, 30km
January 12: Kaiser Maximilian Lauf, Seefeld, Austria, 60km
January 19: La Diagonela, Switzerland, 65km
January 27: Marcialonga, Italy, 70km
February 2: Toblach-Cortina, Italy, 42km
February 10: Jizerska Padesatka, Czech Republic, 50km
March 3: Vasaloppet, Sweden, 90km
March 10: Engadin Skimarathon, Switzerland, 42km
March 16: Birkebeinerrennet, Norway, 54km
April 6: Reistadløpet, Norway, 50km
April 13: Ylläs-Levi, Finland, 70km