The race was started in 1922 and is inspired by the run that the future King Gustav Vasa
made in 1520 to get away of the invading king of Denmark. Gustav Vasa, fearing
for his life and discovery by the Danish troops, spoke to an assembly of men in
Mora, aiming to convince them to raise a levy and start a rebellion against
king Christian of Denmark. The men did not want to fight for those reasons so
on his ski’s, Gustav Vasa started to make his way towards Norway, to find
refuge there, when two Mora brothers on ski’s caught up with him in Sälen. The
men in Mora had changed their minds after hearing that the Danish rulers had
decided to raise taxes, and they now wanted Gustav to lead the rebellion.On the
6th of June 1523, Gustav Vasa was crowned king of Sweden, having beaten the
Danish king Christian. Sweden has been fully independent ever since.
Vasaloppet is the oldest, the longest, and also considered the biggest cross-country ski race in the world. In the 80th race, held on 7 March 2004, some 15,500 skiers competed in the main event. The course starts in Sälen where Gustav Vasa was caught by the brothers and passes through
beautiful taiga forests, villages, marsh lands and lakes before finishing 90km
away in the picturesque city of Mora.