The day before Marcialonga, let’s remember the history of this traditional Italian race and review the images that marked thousands of participants and cross-country ski enthusiasts worldwide.
Marcialonga’s concept dates back many years. In 1969, Giulio Giovannini and Roberto Moggio were officially the first Italians to complete Vasaloppet in Sweden. The following year, they were followed by Nele Zorzi and Mario Cristofolini. Enthusiasm for long-distance skiing events grew so much that the idea of creating something similar in Italy, in the valleys of Fiemme and Fassa, plus the Italian warmth, blossomed and soon became a reality.
And why the name Marcialonga? From Italian, Long March, which for the founders meant hard work, friendly competition between skiers, and the involvement of the community and spectators in this celebrated event.
With great work from the four creators, they were soon helped by volunteers and collaborators, and on February 7, 1971, the first edition of Marcialonga took place.
Ulrico Kostner won the race in front of the favorite Franco Nones, who had won gold during the Olympics in Grenoble in 1968.
Only men could participate in the first six editions of the race, although some women tried to sneak in under false names. From 1978, women were allowed to participate, and France’s Dominique Robert won the first women’s edition.
If you are a member of ProXCskiing.com, you can watch the video of the first edition of Marcialonga here.
The lack of snow has been a recurring problem for Marcialonga, mainly before artificial snow covered the entire course. In 1975, 1989, and 1990, the race was canceled, and reduced in many other years.
An extensive network of snow cannons has been developed over the years to make the race less dependent on weather conditions. From the beginning of October each year, 30 snow cannons in 24 different places produce snow for the 70 kilometers course.
Classic vs. Freestyle Technique
Marcialonga started as a race in classic style but changed in 1985 to freestyle. In 2003, the race returned to the classic style, and Jørgen Aukland took his first of four victories. Since then, the race has always been in classic technique.
In 2004, Marcialonga was part of the World Cup, and Anders Aukland won a fierce battle with Italian Giorgio Di Centa. The two were alone in front of the mythical Cascata, the final hill before the finish line. Di Centa stopped to apply kick wax on his skis; Aukland chose to double pole all the way and ended up winning by a good margin.
Marcialonga has attracted thousands of professional and recreational skiers over the years. The event itself and the pleasant environment in and around the competition are the year’s highlights for many skiers worldwide.
The record number of participants was 7,570 in 2013, and that year, the course was extended by 2km so that skiers could pass through the center of Canazei and Predazzo.
In 2022, there are just over 5,000 subscribers, an impressive number considering the pandemic situation.
Marcialonga has been part of the Visma Ski Classics circuit since its inception in the 2010/2011 season and is one of four events that form part of the Grand Classics, along with Jizerská50, Vasaloppet, and Birkebeinerrennet.
- Location: Trentino, Italy
- Date: Sunday, January 30
- Start Time: Men 8:00 CET / Women 8:05 CET
- Distance: 70km Classic Technique
- Visma Ski Classics Sprints: Canazei – 18km, Lago di Tesero – 55km
- Visma Ski Classics Climbs: L’Infinita – 32km, Cavalese – 70km
Marcialonga program, start lists, and live streaming on SC Play can be found here.
Marcialonga - Maps