Fossavatn Ski Marathon

4 05 2013
Fossavatn is Iceland’s oldest ski competition, established in 1935. For the first half century it was a small event exclusively for skiers from Ísafjörður, and the only distance offered was 20 km. Just getting to the start was strenuous
enough as it was way up in the mountains, far from any roads, almost exactly where the current 50 km track has its half way mark.
In 1987 the Fossavatn became a part of a national cup competition and thus was opened up for all skiers. The 10 km distance was added, and two years later an easy 7 km track for children and beginners. The 50 km distance
was added in 2004.
After several cancellations in the forties and early fifties, the Fossavatn Ski Marathon has been held every year since 1955. The most successful Fossavatn skier is a local, Kristján Rafn Guðmundsson, who won 12 times in the sixties and seventies, and is still a very active racer. Another local,Sigurður Jónsson, holds the record for most Fossavatn races skied. He participated in the fourth race in 1938, and then almost every year until 2007!
The Fossavatn Ski Marathon has four distances: 50 km, 20 km, 10 km and 7 km (which included a skiing dragon).

The Fossavatn Ski Marathon has four distances: 50 km, 20 km, 10 km and 7 km (which included a skiing dragon). This year the weather was terribly windy and cold so the races ranged in length 2.5km to 45km.

This year there are representatives from 15 different countries. Many world-class skiers have announced their participation in the Fossavatn this year. Amongst them is Seraina Boner from Switzerland, arguably the best female long distance skier in the world. Her victories this winter include the Birkebeiner race in Norway, Marcialonga in Italy and a total win in the Ski Classics cup competition. Her partner, Toni Livers who is also here, is an elite skier who has  represented Switzerland in the World Cup, World Championships and at the Olympic games. He can expect some tough competition from another world class skier, Peeter Kümmel of Estonia, as well as from Sweden’s Marcus Jönsson who is aiming for his third Fossavatn victory, following his success in 2010 and 2012. Teemu Virtanen from Finland should not be under estimated, either. According to the Guinness Book of Records, Virtanen holds the world record for distance skied in 24 hours-an unbelievable total of 433 km!

All distances usually start at Botnsheiði, the old mountain road which connected Ísafjörður and the neighboring village Suðureyri before a road tunnel was opened in 1996. Today the start and finish were at the ski lodge.

All distances usually start at Botnsheiði, the old mountain road which connected Ísafjörður and the neighboring village Suðureyri before a road tunnel was opened in 1996. Today the start and finish were at the ski lodge.

When I learn to cross country ski, I will come back to compete in this race!!!

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