In Mora, Minnesota there are a series of events leading up to the annual Vasaloppet weekend. The energy begins with the fundraising banquet held in mid-January. Folks are dressed in Nordic sweaters and come ready to bid on items in a silent auction and live auction, and buy plenty of items for raffles and drawings while enjoying a fine meal and good conversation.
Next on the agenda comes the Lanternloppet, a nighttime ski event in the woods and trails north of Mora on Saturday, Jan. 28. People with cabins along the route open their doors and invite participants inside for a warm-up with hotdogs and hot chocolate.
The Moraloppet, on Saturday, Feb. 4, provides skiers with the chance to try a 5km, 10km, and 20km race. While these are timed events, some families do them together for some fun on a winter morning.
Vasaloppet weekend itself, Feb. 9-11, begins with a community party and dance, art show, a pasta feed, and a live radio show called “The Vasa Trail Companion.” The Saturday race categories are the 42km Classic, the 58km, the 35km and the 13km team event. The fun does not stop at the downtown finish line, however, because more snow competitions happen on Sunday, where guests can watch skiers in the Sparks Races, Skijoring Races, Fat Tie Bike Races, and the Miniloppet Children’s Race, all taking place on Lake Mora in the downtown area.
The Vasaloppet organization now has a snow maker in active use, so snow is guaranteed. It was quite a long journey to get the machine from Europe to Minnesota as U.S. customs were apprehensive of something called a “Snow Gun”... and challenges did not end there as the group needed permits for a water source in the areas where the snow was to be made. The ability to make snow means the season around the Nordic Center can be extended, so community members, avid skiers and school students on the Mora Ski teams can begin training earlier, regardless of weather in November and December.
The Mora community welcomes guests to town, and offers host home opportunities. Many regulars return year after year, staying with the same families, and develop long-term relationships and friendships.

Valorie Arrowsmith


For more information, see or call 320-679-2629.
Vasaloppet in Sweden does something similar—races in Sweden begin on Feb. 24 but the classic Vasaloppet is on March 5. In later years there's also a Vasa bike race in the summer. See for more information.

Schedule of events:
Lanternloppet, Saturday, January 28

Moraloppet, Saturday, February 4

Community Party, Thursday, February 9

Vasaloppet Art Show begins February 10

Pasta Feed, February 10

Dance in visitor’s tent, February 10

Vasaloppet ski races, Saturday, February 11

“Vasa Trail Companion” live radio show, Saturday, February 11

Spark Races, Skijoring Races, Miniloppet Children’s Race, Fat Tie Bike Races, all Sunday February 12