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In 1973, a small group of Mora volunteers and 96 skiers gathered in a farm field in northern Kanabec County for the first Vasaloppet cross county ski race.
Renown for its hometown hospitality and volunteer spirit, the Vasaloppet, which has a self-imposed limit of 3,000 skiers, now offers 58km, 58km Relay, 35km, 13km freestyle races and a 42km classic-only race.
The four Vasaloppet races (Sweden, USA, Japan and China) have formed an International Vasaloppet Skiing Exchange designed to promote not only the four races, but to foster a better understanding of different cultures and every three years an International Vasaloppet Skiing Conference and cultural exchange is held in one of the countries.
Today, the race finishes in downtown Mora thanks to the cooperation of city street crews who perform the oddest of Minnesota winter tasks of dumping snow back onto the town’s main street. The ability to finish in Mora is also possible due to the cooperation of over 100 landowners who give permission for the race courses to cross their land.
The USA Vasaloppet’s point-to-point race course offers skiers the choice of a 58km, 35km, 42km Classic, 13km or skiing in the five member Teamloppet 13km race. The 52km, 42km Classic and 35km races begin in Warman and end in downtown Mora. The 13km and TeamLoppet races begin at Knife Lake and also finish in downtown Mora.
The gently rolling wooded countryside doesn’t present steep hills, which may please large number of touring skiers, but for serious and elite racers the course profile translates into a start to finish sprint with few opportunities to rest downhill or make break-away move uphill.
But it’s the atmosphere of the race that skiers say keeps them coming back as the Mora community somehow converts its volunteer spirit and hospitality into a tangible presence. In all, this race takes the effort of nearly 1,000 volunteers on race day and scores of volunteers who work year-round on the thousands of details that require attention.
Vasaloppet, Inc. is a 501c3 organization that operates the race through a 12 member, all volunteer board of directors.

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