Sunday, February 24, 2013

Comparison of Worldloppet ski events

Finlandiahiihto was 6th and last Worldloppet ski race this winter for me. Now I'm feeling totally exhausted and need a good rest. Based on my subjective opinion and experience from the different Worldloppet events I composed a comparison of 7 different Worldloppet ski race.

Birkebeinerrennet Dolomitenlauf Marcialonga König Ludwig Lauf
Distance 54 km CL 42 km CL 70 km CL 50 km CL*
When (week) 11 3 4 5
Total ascent (m) 1010 745 757 272*
Start Rena Obertilliach Moena Ettal
Finish Lillehammer Obertilliach Canazei Oberammergau
Track condition 10 10 9 1*
Route 10 8 9 8*
Fluency (no jam at track) 8 8 6 7
Washing facilities 9 6 4 -
Transportation - - 9 9
Comments Scenic route over the mountains. Physically tough. At high altitude. Steep and long climbs. Through tiny villages at Val di Fiemme valley. *Due to exceptionally warm weather and lack of snow, route was shortened to 42 km.
Tips Start slowly, demanding climb at the beginning. Travel 2-3 days before to acclimatize to higher altitude. The start place is crucial. Lots of waiting and standing in queues if start place is in the last groups. Original 50 km route would have been more scenic.

La Transjurassienne Tartu maraton Finlandiahiihto
Distance 50 km CL 63 km CL 50 km CL
When (week) 6 7 8
Total ascent (m) 648 695 527
Start Les Rousses Otepää Lahti
Finish Mouthe Elva Lahti
Track condition 10 10+ 5
Route 10 10 6
Fluency (no jam at track) 8 9 7
Washing facilities 8 - 9
Transportation 5 8 -
Comments Very scenic route. Lots of snow. Well organised. Easy and good route. Tracks in excellent condition. Overpriced. Tracks always in poor condition.
Tips Rent a car from Geneva airport, don't take transportation from the organiser. Get accommodation from Mouthe. Tampere maja accommodation in center of Tartu is excellent. Buses to start leave very close. Never again…

As requested I added similar comparison table from three well-known ski events in Finland...

Pirkanhiihto Pogostan hiihto Vuokattihiihto
Distance 90 km CL 51 km CL 60 km CL
When (week) 9 11 12
Total ascent (m) 749 447 777
Start Niinisalo Ilomantsi Vuokatti
Finish Tampere Ilomantsi Vuokatti
Track condition 8 8 9
Route 7 8 9
Fluency (no jam at track) 8 9 9
Washing facilities - 9 9
Transportation 9 - -
Comments Early start at 7 AM. Typically dark and cold at the beginning. Hospitality and nice atmosphere. Beautiful route in wilderness up to Petkeljärvi national park. Scenic climb to Vuokattivaara.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Weekend in Estonia

Town hall

It was time to ski again on this weekend. Actually it was a fifth weekend in a row. 63 km Tartu maraton was waiting on Southern part of Estonia. The race office was located in a beautiful and cozy town of Tartu. Tartu and Tampere are sister cities and therefore the most evident place to stay in Tartu were Tampere maja. Real gem in the heart of the city and conveniently located. I can recommend it for anybody looking a friendly, cozy and inexpensive accommodation in Tartu.

Tampere maja lodging

The race on Sunday was a pleasant one, though physical energy wasn't at best this time. Tracks were in excellent condition and race arrangement were in good shape. All in all nice and well organised event. The last ski event of this winter will be on next Saturday at Lahti...

University of Tartu

Saturday, February 9, 2013

La Transjurassienne

Through the mountain range

La Transjurassienne 50 km ski event was a scenic one. The ski track climbed through the mountain range after the first 10 km on the valley. The start was 10AM at Les Rousses and finish line at Mouthe village. 

Climbing from the valley

The altitude of the race was above 1000 meters, but somehow it felt remarkably easy to ski, Total ascent of 665 meters was a bit short of Marcialonga and Dolomitenlauf, but the weather and scenery were beautiful.

Finish line

The organisation had some hick-ups and it seems French are not that systematic and prompt as German and Swiss :) However the dinner at the school accommodation at Les Rousses was overwhelming with loads of food to digest during the night just before the race...


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

König Ludwig Lauf

41. König Ludwig Lauf

The race was shortened from 50 km to 42 km due to extremely warm weather and bad snow conditions. Fortunately the classic style race was not cancelled like the free style race one day before. It started to snow during Saturday and the temperature dropped below zero, which saved the race on Sunday.

Along the valley

During the race it was snowing and the ski tracks were in awful condition, which was totally acceptable and expected due to the challenging weather conditions before the race. However I was happy to successfully complete this ski event, which was third one for this season. There are still three ski events to go, next one being in France...

Finish line