By Johan Trygg
Yesterday Årefjällsloppet was presented as Visma Ski Classics Event of the Season. Something that, of course, pleases the small organization behind the race in Vålådalen, Sweden.
“It’s great fun to get this appreciation,” says Latti Östlund, responsible for the ski tracks in the area around Vålådalen.
Many Pro Team athletes requested a long, challenging course in the Pro Tour. With the new 100 km course in the Swedish mountains, the longest distance so far in Visma Ski Classics’ history, they got the challenge they wanted.
What did the Pro Team athletes say to you after the race?
“That it was hard and tough but fun. That the snow conditions were really slow, but that the course went thru wonderful surroundings,” says Östlund.
“Andrew Musgrave (Team Koteng) said to me: “why has no one told me about this area before. It’s not far from Trondheim, “Östlund continues and adds;
“Some Pro teams have booked for both summer and pre-season camps in Vålådalen now. It feels great.”
The conditions for skiing are still very good in the area. The ski season is long in Vålådalen.
“There have been two decimetres of fresh snow, so now the conditions are absolutely fantastic,” Östlund informs.
Latti Östlund is responsible for the ski tracks in the area around Vålådalen.
What is the most challenging thing about organizing a 100 km race in mountain terrain?
“That there is no roads in the area. You must use a snowmobile to check all points along the track where there may be problems. A lot of communication is required with those who work with the track,” Östlund ends.
Andreas Nygaard, Team Ragde Eiendom, won the men’s race and got a nice ending of the season. Nygaard was one of the athletes who wanted a really long and tough race.
“It was a wonderful course. Now we were not lucky with the conditions this time. I hope we get to come back and race the course again in the coming seasons. It was still impressive how they worked to get the track so good,” says Nygaard.
“We need a mix of races between 50 and 100 kilometers in the Pro Tour,” Nygaard continues.
Andreas Nygaard on his way to victory at Årefjällsloppet. Here followed by his teammate Karstein Johaug (6th) and Ari Luusia (3rd), Vltava Fund Ski Team.