Tag Archives: Svalbard Skimaraton

Saturated spirits: 25th Svalbard Skimaraton marred by rainstorm, but participants find the silver linings

Kari Jasinski said she wasn’t able to train because she’s been sick the past four weeks and the weather put a damper on participating in her first Svalbard Skimaraton. But even though she registered for the competitive class, ultimately the experience is about more than how fast she finishes or even the race itself.

Silver lining: Grey skies, optimistic mood for 25th Svalbard Skimaraton (UPDATE: race start delayed until 11:30 a.m.)

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It started in 1993 as a small, casual race, although it was won one by one of the most famous cross-country skiers in Norway, Oddvar Brå, two years after he ended a 20-year international racing career. It grew steadily in size until race officials felt compelled to limit registration due to concerns about logistics and keeping track of participants on the course. But several years ago that got tossed out as organizers were able to rely on a large group of volunteers who come together every year to stage what’s by far the biggest annual one-day event in Svalbard.

Photo: It all depends what the meaning of ‘winning’ is

Caroline Landmark and Jorge Cuadrado Reyes pass the starting line of the 23rd annual Svalbard Skimaraton several minutes after a multitude of world-class racers and other competitors Saturday morning. The pair’s late start, which had something to do with a “little trouble with the bus,” ensured they avoided the crowds resulting from a record 900 participants during much of the 42-kilometer race through Todalen. Johan Kjølstad was the overall winner with a time of two hours, five minutes and 36.8,seconds, beating Øystein Pettersen’s second-place finish in 2:07:16. Astrid Øyreslind was the women’s winner with a time of 2:26:39. Participants described conditions as ideal, with temperatures slightly below freezing, clear skies, little or no wind, and stable snow.

Random weirdness for the week of April 28, 2015

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If people sense Russia isn’t exactly buckling under the heat as other nations are becoming increasingly hostile due its Arctic aggressiveness, it’s because they’ve got a remarkable history of concealing its woes and ambitions. We’re not sure which of the following is more mind-boggling: that a fire in the Pyramiden mine was still burning 18 months after it started, or that Russia kept it a secret from Norway for 30 years.