Yesterday was the race day of Öppet Spår Challenge over the same 90 km long course as this Sundays big Vasaloppet race. Yanlong Wu, a cross-country skier from Harbin, China finished his first 90km cross-country skiing course with the result of 10 hours 26 minutes. Congratulations! Öppet Spår takes place on exactly the same course as the main race and participants need to pass the same checkpoints. The difference: with max 5000 skiers the crowd is smaller and you compete against no one but yourself.
Wu is a super fan of Vasaloppet China. In the past years, he has joined the Vasaloppet China with his club members and local ski schools for many times. Finally, he came to Sweden, where Vasaloppet began and now competed the classic style Vasaloppet Sweden 90 km long course.
This week, Sweden is suffering the coldest weather and heaviest snow of the past 20 years. When he began skiing, it was minus 25 degrees. While for Yanlong Wu, the cold weather is not a problem. Harbin is even colder than Sweden and Wu is an experienced skier. He began skiing at age 10 and won 17 national champions in China cross-country skiing races. Doing the classic 90 km course yesterday, he finished the first half with a good split time, even 15 minutes earlier than expectation. His great performance attracted Vasaloppet Sweden. When he sprinted to the finish, he got the special introduction and blessing from the Vasaloppet Sweden crew.
Since 1922, held from Salen to Mora in every February, Vasaloppet is the oldest cross-country skiing race in the world with a history of 96 years. In the two race weeks, skiers from over 70 countries compete in the race. Sundays big race will see 15 800 skiers (the maximum allowed number) from all over the world compete. ‘Wonderful track and good service! The volunteers and audiences are very warm. I’ll come back with more Chinese skiers next year!’ Wu said.
We are very pleased to see that more and more Chinese cross-country skiers focus on Vasaloppet. Wish more and more Chinese skiers will compete in the Vasaloppet events, including Vasaloppet China and enjoy the cross-country skiing in the future.