By Teemu Virtanen
Lina Korsgren, Team Ramudden, fulfilled her lifelong goal last winter when she crossed the finish line in Mora as the fastest female skier in Vasaloppet. She is ready to defend her title as the “Queen of Vasaloppet”, and she has high hopes for the race. Not just for herself, but for everyone participating in the royal race of long distance skiing. She believes that this weekend will turn into a full-blown carnival, a real “folkfest”. But as always, Vasaloppet is more than just fun and games as it is one of the most demanding races in anyone’s agenda.
“It’s a tough but fair race,” Lina says confidently. “The time and the miles wear you out, and that’s where the actual challenge comes from. The first climb is the hardest part of the course. I just need to mind my p’s and q’s when climbing that hill; to respect the hill and other skiers around me. It’s so crowded there, and you just can’t go too fast because you need to have energy and power left when you reach the flat part.”
Lina respects her rivals but says adamantly that she competes against herself as she cannot really do anything about her opponents’ performances. Winning Vasaloppet has given her confidence and boost to strive for greater things.
“My motivation is much higher than ever before, I’ve got new sponsors and partners, and I’ve had an opportunity to build my own team. So, my heart fills with joy when I think about Vasaloppet.”
When considering the ever-lasting power of Vasaloppet, Lina stops for a moment to ponder her next words.
“I think the success of Vasaloppet comes from many things done well. It has a long history and tradition, the organization has years of experience and it seems to me that more people are into challenges. That’s what Vasaloppet can offer; a truly wonderful challenge, and it is a properly organized event that is a very special experience.”
No one would dare to argue against Lina’s observation, and it seems that the magic of Vasaloppet keeps dazzling us in the years to come. But there is one thing that Lina would love to see happening within the famous brand.
“I’d be so happy if FIS granted an official World Championship title to Vasaloppet. It’s now considered as a world championship in everyone’s mind, but it would so great to see that on paper as well. It would also enhance our sport, long distance skiing.”
Lina will certainly go for the number one place on the podium again, but there are more than 15,000 other skiers whose goal is not as grand as hers. She offers a great piece of advice for those soldiers who step into the battlefield to fight for their own glory.
“Just set up your own overall goal, then split the course into smaller sections and have separate goals for those parts, trust yourself and be happy and pleased with your performance when you reach the finish line in Mora.”
Well said Lina! Let that be everyone’s goal come this Sunday as the magical fairy dust of Vasaloppet shall once again linger in the air, and the story that began in 1521 shall show no signs of diminishing its true power.