22. Vasaloppet China 2020 – a way to make friends all over the world!

by Torbjörn Jonsson –

I started my cross-country skiing career with the Vasaloppet (11 times), continued with the Jizerská Padesatka, Marcialonga, Engadin Skimarathon, Birkebeinerrennet and Vasaloppet China 2020!
Over the years have I found out that participating and having a good experience is more important than chasing a good time. With that approach, my best Vasaloppet so far is the one that I did together with my wife and not the one with the best time some years earlier! Achieving a good time is of course fun, but that also demands a lot more preparation as we all know!
My wife also joined me on the trip to the Engadin Skimarathon 2018 and the Vasaloppet China 2020 was even better when my son joined us too!
A Wordloppet race from my point of view is all about seeing new places, making new friends around the world and having great cross-country skiing at the same time! Vasaloppet China 2020 met all these criteria! However, I think all who participated this year agree that one of very few improvements needed for the race is that the 50 km, 25 km and 2.5 km must be separated to avoid unnecessary accidents when you mix cross country skiers with different experience. I was one out of many that experienced problems on the first downhill and in my case, I broke both my poles!
We hadn’t brought our son’s skis and poles from Sweden, instead we planned to borrow equipment in Changchung. The problem was that we only found 190 cm skis and 150 cm poles and that’s much too long for a boy of 150 cm. However, that turned out to be a critical factor for success for all of us!
Imagine the feeling when you understand that there are no extra poles available and realizing that you have gone all the way to China and have no chance of finishing the race! After a while imagine the feeling when all hope is gone, that you suddenly see your wife coming with poles borrowed from your son! From disaster to success within an hour! My wife skiing the 25 km race found out about my situation and lent her poles to my son skiing 2.5 km and continued with her own race after my son had finished his race!

With some disappointment, we also found out that there was no merchandise. This is essential for a race like this, a medal is not enough for a real Wordloppet nerd! Complaining is one thing, but finding
a solution is much better! No sooner said than done, we printed our own Vasaloppet China 2020 Functional T-shirt, after having permission from Nordic Ways!
The conclusion is that sometimes you need help from your friends and sometimes you help others at the same time as helping yourself!
We hope to see you all on a Worldloppet race next season!

Watch the movie and we promise you a good time! 🙂

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