Race Reporter Philipp at the Fossavatnsgangan 2019
(scroll down for the video summary)
It has been a while since my last time on skis and the Engadin Skimarathon seems already like a race from last season. However, my motivation to race in Iceland was still very high since it would be my 10th Worldloppet race. I packed my winter clothes and xc skis one last time for the season-ending party in Ísafjörður. With me, a group of Swedish skiers and one local from Iceland.
Why dream of the moon when you can go to Iceland?
Certainly, one of the roughest landscapes in the world with a lot of in-your-face nature – Iceland does a bit look like the moon. I found a cheap direct flight to Reykjavík and from there the 5 of us rented a minivan and travelled north-west to the small village of Ísafjörður, host village of the Fossavatnsgangan. I strongly recommend renting a car and take more time to explore the island before or after the race. Flights from the capital to Ísafjörður available. All the info on the race’s website. We travelled Tuesday to Tuesday which gave us enough time to do some sightseeing on our way up as well as after the race when exploring the area around the capital city. Endless views from high mountain roads, to warm naturals springs, the great Geysir and waterfalls is all I need to say to describe the off-ski program.
Sunburns and frozen toes
The 10th Worldloppet stamp was certainly a hard-earned one. The weather was very unstable. From mild temperatures, sunshine and no clouds on Wednesday and Friday to rain/snow, no sun and strong winds on both race days we had it all. Despite the bad weather during the competitions, the racers were in quite a good mood. It seemed like everybody was looking forward to ending the season in style and the focus was on the gala dinner on Saturday night. The race itself was very well organized and the whole town seemed to stand behind a successful event. Speaking of success, I was not in good shape but eventually dragged myself around the race course and earned my 10th stamp in my passport. Waxing service from the race organisers (local sports shop) was available as well as power plugs and room to set up your wax bench if you brought one. The bib pickup, hotels, after race cake buffet, Worldloppet reception, gala dinner, race organisation and all the hotels were all within walking distance from the city centre. Public bus transport from the city centre to the race venue and back.
Cake buffet and a great season ender
My highlight of the week: a cake buffet with homemade cakes on Saturday afternoon. I have a sweet tooth and after two races I felt like I deserve one or two extra slices of cake before suiting up for Saturday nights program. Live music, dancing, a traditional Icelandic fish buffet and some beers stood on the menu. It felt like the whole town was present and dancing with all the Worldloppet racers.
Overall, it can be said that also my 10th Worldloppet event was absolutely worth going there. Like previous events, it was well organised, friendly racers and hosts as well as a unique atmosphere. It’s a small step for mankind but it was a big step for me to get my Worldloppet master title. I have experienced so many different cultures, met so many nice people and can only recommend to ski AND travel. Thanks to everyone who made this journey an incredible one and don’t forget…to ski around the world!
PS: don’t forget to contact Worldloppet before you are about to finish your 10th race. You will be given the Diploma and Medal at the finish of your race. Otherwise, the diploma will be sent to you or handed to you on your next Worldloppet race – This even counts for the Worldloppet race reporter, who managed to forget to do so…