Americans love a good Vasaloppet too

Limiting the festivities to one weekend is too confining for folks who love the snow, cross country skiing and outdoors activities, so the festivities begin in mid-January and continue until mid-February. 

  • The metal sculpture figure with a tail, represents a Huldra or Skogsrå, a creature of the woods who is ready to tempt those who wander into her territory. The work was designed by Keith Raivo of Mora. At left is a chair made of skis, ready for an auction winner to enjoy some winter sunshine outdoors. Photo Valorie Arrowsmith
  • In Mora, Minnesota there are a series of events leading up to the annual Vasaloppet weekend. The energy begins with the fundraising banquet held in mid-January. Folks are dressed in Nordic sweaters and come ready to bid on items in a silent auction and live auction, and buy plenty of items for raffles and drawings while enjoying a fine meal and good conversation.
    Next on the agenda comes the Lanternloppet, a nighttime ski event in the woods and trails north of Mora on Saturday, Jan. 28. People with cabins along the route open their doors and invite participants inside for a warm-up with hotdogs and hot chocolate.
    The Moraloppet, on Saturday, Feb. 4, provides skiers with the chance to try a 5km, 10km, and 20km race. While these are timed events, some families do them together for some fun on a winter morning.
    Vasaloppet weekend itself, Feb. 9-11, begins with a community party and dance, art show, a pasta feed, and a live radio show called “The Vasa Trail Companion.” The Saturday race categories are the 42km Classic, the 58km, the 35km and the 13km team event. The fun does not stop at the downtown finish line, however, because more snow competitions happen on Sunday, where guests can watch skiers in the Sparks Races, Skijoring Races, Fat Tie Bike Races, and the Miniloppet Children’s Race, all taking place on Lake Mora in the downtown area.
    The Vasaloppet organization now has a snow maker in active use, so snow is guaranteed. It was quite a long journey to get the machine from Europe to Minnesota as U.S. customs were apprehensive of something called a “Snow Gun”... and challenges did not end there as the group needed permits for a water source in the areas where the snow was to be made. The ability to make snow means the season around the Nordic Center can be extended, so community members, avid skiers and school students on the Mora Ski teams can begin training earlier, regardless of weather in November and December.
    The Mora community welcomes guests to town, and offers host home opportunities. Many regulars return year after year, staying with the same families, and develop long-term relationships and friendships.

  • A nisse found its way into the silent auction at the fundraiser for the 45th Mora Minnesota Vasaloppet Ski race. Photo Valorie Arrowsmith
  • Valorie Arrowsmith

  • The washline was filled with red wooly socks at the Vasaloppet Banquet Fundraiser leading up to the 45th annual Vasaloppet ski events. Photo Valorie Arrowsmith
  • For more information, see or call 320-679-2629.
    Vasaloppet in Sweden does something similar—races in Sweden begin on Feb. 24 but the classic Vasaloppet is on March 5. In later years there's also a Vasa bike race in the summer. See for more information.

  • A large Dala rocking horse was an item in the silent auction at the fundraising banquet for the 45th Vasaloppet.
  • Schedule of events:
    Lanternloppet, Saturday, January 28

  • A Vasaloppet themed quilt was part of the live auction leading up to the 45th annual Mora Vasaloppet. It sold for $1000. Photo Valorie Arrowsmith
  • Moraloppet, Saturday, February 4

  • Auctioneer Les Stromberg, Master of Ceremonies Robin Riley, and the 2017 Vasaloppet Kranskulla greeted guests at the annual fundraising banquet for the 45th Mora Minnesota Vasaloppet set of ski events. Photo Valorie Arrowsmith
  • Community Party, Thursday, February 9

  • At the Mora Minnesota Vasaloppet fundraising banquet even the cookies were decorated with a Swedish Dala horse in frosting. Photo Valorie Arrowsmith
  • Vasaloppet Art Show begins February 10

  • There was only one Huldra or Skogsrå at the live auction, which raised money for the Mora Vasaloppet in its 45th year. Photo Valorie Arrowsmith
  • Pasta Feed, February 10

  • A ceramic ski platter was accompanied by other needed items for a social gathering: beer and a towel to drape over the host’s forearm. Photo Valorie Arrowsmith
  • Dance in visitor’s tent, February 10

  • Amanda Stenberg, the 2019 Kranskulla, holds up the original Vasaloppet print, which serves as the publicity poster for the 45th annual Vasaloppet in Mora. Every Kranskulla does a two-year internship to learn the role so she is ready to be the official wreath girl. The saying goes, “Once a Kranskulla, always a Kranskulla.” Among many duties is the one that occurs on race day, when she bestows on each skier a medal and the winners' wreaths. Photo Valorie Arrowsmith
  • Vasaloppet ski races, Saturday, February 11

  • Buy a ticket for Bob’s Clothes Line drawing for $20. If your number is called, you select a red sock filled with a prize. There were 130 tickets and 55 winners. Photo Valorie Arrowsmith
  • “Vasa Trail Companion” live radio show, Saturday, February 11

  • Spark Races, Skijoring Races, Miniloppet Children’s Race, Fat Tie Bike Races, all Sunday February 12