Tracks and Trails / Cross Country Skiing / Nordic Countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway / Sweden’s Vasaloppet Tour

Sweden’s Vasaloppet Tour

Photo: Vasaloppet

Photo: Vasaloppet

Join us in the Swedish mountains at Sälen. Home to 250km of prepared ski tracks and start of the 90km ‘Vasaloppet’ - considered to be the oldest, longest, and the largest of the cross-country ski races in the world.

Skiing entirely on prepared ski trails the charming Dalarna region has something for everyone. Two warm up days around Sälen, exploring both the tracks and wilder mountain trails then progressing onto a four-day point-to-point tour along the route of the historic Vasaloppet. All whilst travelling at a comfortable pace.

  • 4 nights in an historic hotel near Sälen with spa facilities
  • 120km of reliable track skiing
  • Perfect introduction to track touring
  • Ski the Vasaloppet trail at a leisurely pace - 20kms per day
  • Luggage transferred while you ski
  • Qualified Nordic Ski Instructor
  • Single rooms available
  • Optional nights in Stockholm

The Story of the Vasaloppet 

In 1521 Gustav Vasa escaped the Danish king Kristian. He stopped in Sälen and turned back and skied to Mora in order to lead an uprising against the occupying power. Gustav eventually became king and 400 years later skiers race the same trail to honour his memory. The Vasaloppet is considered the oldest, longest and biggest cross-country ski race in the world. Held annually the 80th race in 2004 had some 15500 skiers competing in the main event. The first competition was held in 1922 with 116 participants. The Vasaloppet trail is now recognised as a protected nature conservation area. Click here for the full history about the race.

Photo: Vasaloppet

Sweden’s Vasaloppet Tour

Trip Departure date End date Price Status
VAS1 18 Sun 11 March 18 Sun 18 March 18 £1695 Places available | Make a Booking

Introduction

Sweden is sparsely populated – and wild. In the northern parts of Dalarna or 'Holiday Country', as the Swedes call it, you find Vasa Country; consisting of three communities: Malung, Mora and Älvdalen, with it’s two long rivers, rolling hills, lakes and valleys. All three areas are in various ways involved in the Vasaloppet. As the ski track passes through their territory, daily life is somewhat influenced by the race and it's history.

Our Swedish Vasaloppet ski tour offers 120kms of relatively easy to moderate skiing over 6 days. This is the perfect introduction to classic ‘track touring’ as well as time to make improvements to your technique along the way. The four-day Vasaloppet tour also allows for a preview of the racecourse for a possible future challenge!

The Vasaloppet ski track is prepared, open and groomed every day throughout the winter. The ski style used is 'classic' cross-country ski technique entirely on prepared tracks. The rental equipment available is 'fish scale' skis or micro fibre ‘skins’.

Visit Stockholm

This trip can easily be extended with days either at the start or end of your trip to enable you to visit Sweden’s capital, Stockholm. Comprising of 14 islands linked by 50 bridges, Stockholm is an extensive Baltic Sea archipelago. With its historic old town, islands linked by regular ferry boats and a must see 17th century ‘Vasa warship’ Stockholm makes for a superb city break. Enjoy time strolling the cobblestone streets between colourful buildings. Visit the Royal Palace or Nobel Museum, or simply watch the world go by in one of the many ‘bakery’ cafes.

By arriving early in Sweden will mean that you can break up your travel to the start of the ski tour and benefit from a more leisurely transfer to Sälen.

Trip Level 

We grade this trip as Intermediate, for skiers with previous track cross-country skiing experience. On our first two days we will spend time finding our ski legs. Participants should be able to ski at a reasonable pace over undulating terrain and to have mastered a controlled snowplough for any steeper descents. You should be at a good fitness level and be able to ski up to 4 hours per day.

Ski Conditions

King Bore - 'King of Winter' from Nordic mythology says he can't promise anything, but in Sälen they begin to prepare the tracks as soon as they have enough snow in December and continue until mid-April or after Easter.

Itinerary

We always aim to complete the itinerary as outlined below. However it will be followed only when conditions and weather make it appropriate, both in terms of safety and enjoyment. Your guide will make a decision on your route based on those conditions.

Day 1 Meet in Högfjället, Sälenfjäll

Your guide will meet you in Högfjället, a settlement in Sälen’s national park, at approximately 6.30pm to brief you on the days ahead and answer any questions. We will be staying at the Gammelgarden Hotel and one of the oldest buildings in the area, much of which dates back to 17th century. Our traditional wooden built hotel has excellent facilities including a fine restaurant, Swedish style sauna, open fire, superb valley views and cross country ski tracks running past the front door. On arrival you can fully relax as we will spend four nights here. The hotel has cosy rooms all uniquely decorated and en-suite. The rooms are distributed in two buildings, one in "Lodge Style" with wallpaper and fabrics from Ralph Lauren and the other with an emphasis on Dalarna with influences of the well known locally born artist Carl Larsson.

Day 2 Sälen Track Tour

Vasa Country prides itself in being Northern Europe’s largest winter paradise, offering not only cross country track skiing but 'off track' touring, alpine skiing, ice skating, dog sledding, winter fishing and even snow mobile touring! Sälenfjäll (Sälen mountain) is popular with locals, with the surrounding mountains offering over 200 km of ski trails. Today we will explore the network of trails running straight past our hotel door. We will most likely do a really lovely loop around Vestra Kalven mountain, stopping to eat our picnic lunch at the gorgeous wooden cabin at Lindalen. Wafffles with jam and cream are a must! A true Swedish ski touring experience complete with mountain culture.

For those renting skis locally you will collect the equipment in the morning and have plenty of time to get used to them. After your warm-up ski enjoy afternoon tea and sauna back at the hotel. Distance 15km+

Day 3 Sälenfjällen Mountain Day

Today we plan to ski almost entirely above the tree line to reach ‘Hemfjällsstugan’, a characterful mountain cabin, situated on the mountain plateau at 810m. We will be aiming to have our lunch here by the fire, but not before stopping also for morning coffee at Storfjällsgraven. From the trail head opposite our hotel we make our way up the valley, soon reaching open highlands, skiing past frozen streams and shallow valleys making a great circular tour around Mellanfjället (910m). We have some good views across the Swedish mountain landscape as we traverse the mountainside. Experience the true charm, peace and tranquility of the Dalarna region on this mountain ski tour. Ascent 347m. Descent 344m. Distance 15km+

Day 4 Vasaloppet: Sälen to Mångsbodarna

Today we make our way to Berga, a hamlet in Sälen valley, and official start of the Vasaloppet at the VasaloppsArena. After photos and a look at the visitors' centre we will start our 4-day point-to-point tour which will take us through the ‘taiga’ coniferous forests, villages, marshlands and lakes before finishing in picturesque Mora.

After an easy first 3kms from the arena, the trail takes a turn rising 178m to reach Vasaloppet’s highest point: 528m in the Spränsbackarna forest. Making this the hardest climb of the tour. The trail then levels out and winds it’s way through the broad scenic marshlands of Valmyrsätra before reaching the frozen lake of Smågen and one of many simple lumberjack/log floaters' huts ‘Smågenkojan’. Until 1947 lumberjacks would overnight here during their working week. Today it makes the ideal place of refuge for lunch, marking 11kms. From Smågen we climb easily over 4.5km after which we are rewarded with 8.5kms of rolling downhill to reach Mångsbodarna. Mångsbodarna is one of three of the original 1922 race checkpoints. Here we can see water-powered saw and paper mills and the old school house. High quality timber and in recent years, sandstone, have been important worldwide exports. From here we will take a taxi back to Sälen. Tonight is our last night at the Gammelgarden Hotel. Ascent 368m. Descent 301m. Distance 24km.

Day 5 Mångsbodarna to Evertsberg

We re-join the Vasaloppet trail back at Mångsbodarna and have an easy start to the day with another descent which lasts for about 3kms to the woodland settlement of Tennång. Darlana is well known in Sweden for upholding its traditions. Crafting the famous wooden horses, folk music, Midsummer celebrations and national costumes are all part of the local culture. The Dala wooden horse is decorated with painted ‘kurbits’ - characteristic folk art form patterns. This is the Swedish icon and is as Swedish as Swedish can be! It derives from the 18th century when foresters would sit by the fire in the dark winter evenings and carve horses for their children.

Another climb and decent brings us to the farming village of Risberg where we have a shelter for a late morning stop. Risberg is home to many old wooden chalets and close to where Gustav Vasa is said to have spent the night in a bear’s den! To complete our day we have a final climb through dense Vasa birch and fir trees out of Risberg and then easy trails around the shores of the beautiful frozen lake of Mellansjön. Here we head 300 metres off the track to a woodland cabin where we can have our picnic lunch beside the lake. We finish with a short ascent into the village of Evertsberg (with a chapel and altar, plunder from war taken from Lübeck, Germany, which is dated back to 1490). It’s here we pass the 47km check point indicating that we are now a little over half way to the finish. We meet our taxi which will take us 12 kms to Hotell Älvdalen where we will spend two nights. Ascent 362m. Descent 361m. Distance 23km.

Day 6 Evertsberg to Hökberg

We first travel back to Evertsberg one of the larger villages on the trail, housing summer farmsteads and log cabins still used today. Traditional methods of fishing, hunting, architecture and music all help to make this wild region so rich and colourful. After a nice warm up we soon find our trail begins to descend and roll nicely over the next 10kms. Just before Oxberg, we arrive at the famous 50m climb originally known as the Sighing Hill. But after Sven-Åke Lundbäck’s 1981 Vasaloppet victory it was renamed ‘Lundbäck’s Hill’. A short descent into Oxberg, framed by it’s 18th century chapel, is where we will have our lunch break. Our afternoon ski undulates over snow covered pastures and rich woodland to reach the Gophus ski centre above the Österdaläven valley. It is here where Mora-Nisse, in 1945, made his famous last 're-waxing' of his skis which helped him recover nine minutes on the leader, Gunnar Wärdell, and win by just over a minute! Another 4kms and a final steady climb completes the day at the mountain farm of Hökberg - Hawk Mountain. We return back to Älvdalen for a second night and welcome sauna. Ascent 396m. Descent 568m. Distance 24km.

Day 7 Hökberg to Mora

With the end now in sight, our final ski day starts at Hökberg, where despite it's remoteness has increased in numbers of permanent house owners and farmers in recent years. We ski easy trails down and around Hökberget 'fell' where the hoof prints and evidence of elk can often be seen in the forest. Level trails bring us to Eldris, the final checkpoint of our tour. With just 10kms of easy skiing left to Mora, we can pause for a moment and reflect on the adventure we’ve had. During the Vasaloppet it’s here that the number of spectators begins to grow. Our last few kilometres wind their way into Mora to reach the town centre and Vassaloppets finish gate and Anders Zorn’s statue of Gustav Vasa. The name Mora comes from the old Swedish word 'mor' meaning 'thick forest and humidity'. Today though after the 90km wilderness journey across the Vassaloppet trail Mora will feel like a metropolis! It is the largest district in Dalarna and sits by the region's biggest lake, Silijan. It's friendly town centre with some nice shops, cafes and home to the Vassaloppet Museum and several Wooden Horse factories! Sweden’s most well known artist and art connoisseur, Anders Zorn, was born in Mora. His house/museum or simply just the tearoom is well worth a visit at the Zorn Museum. Ascent 152m. Descent 225m. Distance 19km. NB: departure to Stockholm is possible at the end of today. Please contact us for advice.

Day 8 Departure Day or Extra Days in Falun or Stockholm

Today is departure day and the trip ends after breakfast. Trains returning to Stockholm take 3.5hrs and are cheaper if arranged in advance. If you would like to stay on after the tour to explore the region then do let us know and we can book extra nights in Mora. We also recommend extra nights in Stockholm or Falun at the end of the tour.

As mentioned above it is possible to leave for Stockholm on Day 7 of your trip once you have skied to Mora. We normally arrive about 1430 hrs, and there is normally a train at 1630 hrs and also a later one. These times require to be confirmed against the new timetable for 2018.

Falun is on the train route back to Stockholm (1.5hrs from Mora / from 87SEK advanced ticket price) and grew up around the Great Copper Mountain, Kopperberget in the 17th century and since 2001 was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. You can visit the famous Great Pit and mine museum which is surrounded by the original colourful miners' cottages. Falun also houses the Dalarna Museum and a short drive away is artist Carl Larsson's Town House and Garden. The main town is also of interest architecturally with it's Kopparberg church and houses built with mining slag stone such as the Hammar's Patisserie built in 1776 - a great place for lunch!

Price

Included: The price includes full board accommodation (breakfast, packed lunch, dinner and thermos refill) and local taxes. This is based on two people sharing in comfortable hotel accommodation. Transfers as part of the itinerary and luggage transfers (1x bag per person), the fees of a qualified BASI Nordic Ski Teacher/International Mountain Leader and their expenses are also all included. Single rooms maybe possible to arrange on this trip but will incur an additional fee. Please ask if you would like this option.

Not included: Insurance, flights, drinks and snacks. Rail & bus travel within Sweden. It does not include ski hire, nor the return of the skis to the hire shop after the trip has ended.

Skis Type & Rental

For this tour you will be using 'classic' track skis, and can use either a fishscale ski or 'skintec' skis. Ski rental can be arranged locally and will normally be on 'fishscale' or micro fibre skintec skis. We would only recommend ‘waxing’ skis if you are bringing your own and are already comfortable with the technique. Rental is possible from a shop close to our starting hotel ranging between 440-550 SEK per person. Please advise us if you wish to hire skis, poles and boots.

The cost to return the skis from Mora to Lindvallen ski rental will be between 180-350SEK per person. The price varies as the taxi cost is in accordance with the number in group needing this service.

Minimum numbers

This trip requires a minimum of 4 clients to book before it can be guaranteed to run. We take a maximum of 7 guests on this point-to-point tour.

Insurance

Please note that you must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity. You must be covered for helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. With regard to this please be sure you have read the Insurance section in our Terms and Conditions.

Further Information

Upon booking, a full list of the necessary suitable clothing will be provided. There are currency exchange facilities/banks in Stockholm Airport or you can obtain Swedish Kroner prior to your arrival. In our experience you only really need a very small amount of cash. Credit cards are accepted in all hotels, shops and restaurants for everything – including individual drinks. But if your bank charges you per overseas transactions then we would recommend you have Kroner in cash. £1 = 10SEK and a coffee in Sweden is approximately 25SEK. Stockholm City Terminal train station has a left luggage store available if needed which also takes ski bags.

Maps of the Vasaloppet route can be bought locally. There is no charge for the use of the ski tracks in Sweden.

Getting there

To reach the start of the tour we recommend that you travel to and from Stockholm Arlanda Airport. From Arlanda we travel by train and bus to Hotell Gammelgården, Salen.

The train station at Arlanda (Stockholm) Airport is inside the airport called 'Arlanda C' on the timetables. Tickets for the entire journey, for both the train and bus can be booked with one payment at Swedish Rail. You are going From: Arlanda C and To: Sälfjällstorget. Sälfjällstorget must be spelled correctly with the 'double dot' above the 'a', so we suggest you copy and paste from here. Sälfjällstorget is one stop BEFORE your hotel, and you must stay on the bus to the Gammelgarden, Salen stop. Your ticket will cover this extra stop. NB: be aware there are other Gammelgardens on this route - you are going to Salen.

NB: The following information is to be updated for 2018 once timetables are published. But in 2017 the latest train leaving Arlanda Airport to arrive in time for the welcome meeting leaves at 12:05 hrs arriving at 1756 hrs. If you are unable to make this connection then we recommend that you either consider arriving a day earlier and enjoying time in Stockholm beforehand or you take the next connection leaving at 14:06 arriving at 19:55. Full details with any updates will be sent to you with our Joining Instructions.

Bus times from from the train stops at either Mora or Borlange can be found at (Dalatrafik) The bus stops directly outside Hotell Gammelgården (bus stop Gammelgarden, Sälen). Please note that you can only book your bus ticket on the train website. We have given the link to the bus times in case you are on a later train which will not go beyond Mora or Borlange and you then need to investigate bus times. We urge you to keep it easy and aim for the train at 1205 hrs from Arlanda C, or the next one at 1406 hrs.

We realise that this can make quite a long travelling day, (5/6 hrs) so you may which to begin your holiday with an over night or two in Stockholm first, or stay at Arlanda Airport Hotel OR Arlanda Connect for an early start where buses run to/from the terminal

Travelling back to Stockholm

NB: The following information is to be updated for 2018 once timetables are published. But normally trains returning to Stockholm from Mora take approximately 3.5hrs and again are cheaper if arranged in advance. Prices start from 330SEK and they depart from 08:34 arriving in Arlanda at 11:52. There is no need to take a bus on the return journey, as it can be done entirely by train.

If necessary it could be possible to travel back to Stockholm on the afternoon of the final ski day. We normally arrive in Mora early afternoon and you could consider trains leaving later the same afternoon. This would allow for early flights from Stockholm airport the next morning. Please contact us to discuss this.

Accommodation & Luggage Transfers

On this tour you will stay in a mix of characterful hotels with good facilities all of them providing a sauna. You will only need to carry a daysack whilst skiing and your main baggage will be transferred every day between accommodation points. Luggage will be mainly transported in cars and small vans, so we would ask that you keep both size and weight of luggage to a reasonable limit of around 15kg (and only one bag per person). It is worth noting that you will be required to carry your own bag up and down from your accommodation every day.

Weather

Please note that we run our Swedish tour at a time of year when the snow is usually reliable and the tracks are well maintained. However, in the event of poor snow conditions, we will offer an alternative ski itinerary offering the same quantity of kilometres per day.

Our Partners

As our niche trips such as Sweden’s Vasaloppet are of a specialised nature, we work with our partner companies to attract sufficient clients to reach the minimum number of participants to allow these trips to go ahead. This means you are more likely to have your chosen holiday 'guaranteed'. Tracks and Trails in these instances may, in collaborating with our associates, make use of their guiding services. If you have any queries with regard to this please contact us.

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