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A few weeks has passed since Vasaloppet China, but some participants will always cherish it as a memory for life. Ola Sahlen, working in Beijing had invited his two cousins Annika and Ulrika and their children to go together to Vasaloppet China. Setting out from Beijing by train on New Years day, arriving in Changchun on the night before the race, here is some of what the Sahlens had to say about the event.

Ola: “On my own, my cousins and cousins’ children behalf I want to thank you for the excellent arrangements up in Changchun. Now some time has passed but we will all remember this truly exotic experience. Event though ones physical performance got affected by the cold, it was also one thing that contributed to the uniqueness of skiing to the sound of Vasalopp-music in northern China.”

Annika: “Everything was great: the taxi pick-up and see off to the train station, superb Vasaloppet service at the Hotel and the nice banquets. The races were fun and well arranged, and I must say I have never had such delicious food after a race in Mora!!”

A special day in many ways
“Ulrika and me took it very easy at the start, taking pictures and looking at the students mass start, so we got away quite late. I soon understood that I didn’t have the right ski wax in the tracks that were slow because of the cold, but then my pre-training wasn’t the best for the distance either. I got really tired because of the cold. Anyway, Ulrika kept an eye on me and saw to it that I also made it over the finish line, and the whole thing turned out to become a memory for life!!”

To their great surprise, Annikas daughter, 16 year old Elsa had taken the first place in the student’s women’s class. She got to stand on the podium in front of the Vasaloppet snow sculpture to receive a medal and a sports jacket with the Chinese and the Swedish Vasaloppet logo on.

Annika remarks: “Now, Elsa who has always said that cross country skiing is super boring now wants to take part in the Short Vasa in Sweden with me, that’s so great! Anyway, thanks again for all your help. I am now promoting the Chinese Vasaloppet and Nordic Ways here at home”

Ola with “Gustav Vasa” and the Swedish Vasaloppets “Kranskulla” (garland maiden)

Sahlen kids at the in front of the Vasaloppet China snow sculpture