On the 24th of March it’s time for the third edition of Red Bull Nordenskiöldsloppet in modern take. As of now, cross-country ski coach Erik Wickström – who has skied farthest in the world in 24 hours – is once a month going to offer tips, inspiration and a training program. This first part is about why you should travel to Jokkmokk to ski for 220 km.
Text: Erik Wickström
I still clearly remember when race organizer Wolfgang Mehl called me to tell what he was planning to arrange in Jokkmokk: A 220 km long cross-country ski race with a fantastic story dating back to a legendary competition held in 1884. I directly felt that I’d need to participate in this race.
What is it that every year makes hundreds and soon thousands of skiers, both from Sweden and the rest of the world, to want to ski for this far? I believe that many of them share my fascination for the ability to overcome unreasonably long distances. Only a minority of the race participants is driven by results. For the vast majority, Nordenskiöldsloppet is about completely different values.
Euphoria in the finish area
I was on site in Jokkmokk during Nordskiöldsloppet both in 2016 and 2017. Most lately I’ve been participating myself. What struck me the most was the fact that everybody crosses the finish line as a winner. Regardless of all difficulties and challenges along the long way, all participants are satisfied and euphoric in the finish area.
An ultra race like creates entirely different feelings compared to for example skiing a race of 42 km length. Something very special happens to your body – both physically and mentally – when you keep on doing the same thing for hours and hours.
The great thing with ultra distances is that you can complete the race without having to train like a pro. In running, there are ordinary amateurs who run races way beyond marathon length and don´t fully dedicate their lives to training. The same thing goes for cross-country skiing. There are just fewer races to choose from, at least for now. I do believe though that this part of our sport is going to grow.
Even if life doesn’t allow more than just a few hours of weekly training, you can achieve more than you think. To fulfill Nordenskiöldsloppet can be the perfect goal for amateurs that usually don´t ski that fast at other long distance races. To set up such a goal and eventually reach it, might have a huge impact on your self-esteem. I can also promise you that your longer training sessions will feel short afterwards.
The fact that you get to enjoy a nice trip, fantastic views and familiar atmosphere in Jokkmokk is just a bonus.
This is why you should ski Nordenskiöldsloppet.
If you want to complete Nordenskiöldsloppet within the medal time of 21 hours and 22 minutes but don’t really have a good idéa of how much to train? No problem! Here you can find Erik Wickström’s training program for Nordenskiöldsloppet for the month of November.