The changes are based on the Swedish Ski Association’s new competition rules. It was last winter that the issue was raised, including through 17-year-old Alvar Myhlback’s participation in Vasaloppet, where he was allowed to participate on an exemption from the association and finished in eighth place.
The discussion has focused on whether younger juniors (W/M 17-18) should be allowed to compete without distance restrictions. According to the regulations at the time, this age category could ski a maximum of 50km in competition class, which meant that they could participate in Vasaloppet from the calendar year they turned 19.
After the Swedish Ski Association made an analysis, had several internal discussions, and also discussions in the cross-country council, it was decided to remove the distance limitation for younger juniors.
Now, “No upper limit” applies in the distance table when an athlete reaches junior age and is entitled to take out a FIS code for international competition. Thus, according to the current regulations, it is allowed to qualify for the senior class with unlimited competition distance.
The Swedish Ski Association also decided this spring to change the distance limitation for youth participation in recreational races. This means girls/boys aged 13-16 can ski 45km (previously 40 km).
In summary, this means that the age limit for the races in Vasaloppet’s Winter Week will be lowered:
- Vasaloppet is lowered from 19 to 17 years (the year you turn 17).
- Tjejvasan exercise class is lowered from 17 to 11 years (the year you turn 11).
- Öppet Spår Monday 45, Vasaloppet 45, and Nattvasan 45 are lowered from 17 to 13 years (the year you turn 13).
Tommy Höglund, Vasaloppet’s Sports Director, comments on a press release:
“We follow the recommendations made by the Swedish Ski Association, which means that 17-year-olds can now ski unlimited competition distances, including Vasaloppet. Older young people can also ski longer distances in recreational races; 11- and 12-year-olds can still ski 30km, but 13-year-olds can now ski 45km. In Tjejvasan, we still have the competition class for 17–20-year-olds, but in Tjejvasan’s recreational class, you can participate from the year you turn 11.”
So, this winter, Vasaloppet can welcome more younger participants.
“Yes, we are positive about this, and I think it will attract more families to ski together. We see no danger that 11-year-olds will suddenly go out alone on the course, but it will then be in the company of an adult.”
In the historic 100th Vasaloppet, you can start if you turn 17 in 2024 (born in 2007 or earlier).
“Last winter, we had maybe 100 participants who were 17-18 years old in the Open Trail. So those at that age now can, provided they get a starting place, “move up” to Vasaloppet if they want to,” says Tommy Höglund.
FACTS/ You can now participate from the year you turn …
Vasaloppet’s winter week 2024
- Vasaloppet 30 (30 km) – 11 years old
- Tjejvasan (30 km) – competition 17 years, exercise 11 years
- Öppet Spår Sunday (90 km) – 17 years old
- Ungdomsvasan (9 and 19 km) – 11 years old
- Open Track Monday 90 (90 km) – 17 years old
- Open Track Monday 45 (43 km) – 13 years old
- Open Track Monday 30 (28 km) – 11 years old
- Vasaloppet 45 (45 km) – 13 years old
- Stafettvasan (9-24 km) – 11 years old
- Nattvasan 30 (30 km) – 11 years old
- Nattvasan 45 (45 km) – 13 years old
- Nattvasan 90 (90 km) – 17 years old
- Vasaloppet 10 (9 km) – 8 years old
- Vasaloppet (90 km) – 17 years old
Also Read: Program for Vasaloppet’s Winter Week 2024