The oldest, toughest and one of the longest cross-country skiing events in the world is the annual Vasaloppet race in Sweden. The 90km (56 miles) race is held on the first Sunday of each March through northwestern Dalarna between the village of Sälen and town of Mora. Legend has it that the race’s origins hark from King Gustav I of Sweden’s escape through Dalarna from the Danish king, before being caught and raised to power in the rebellion, freeing Sweden from Danish rule.
A sister race is also held in Mora, Minnesota USA, which has shorter races, 13km, 35km, 58km freestyle and 42km classical race. The male and female winners of the American Vasaloppet win a trip to compete in the Swedish Vasaloppet.
Pippa Middleton, sister to Duchess of Cambridge took part in the 88th annual Vasaloppet cross-country ski marathon in Sweden for the Magic Breakfast charity, finishing the course in just over 7 hours and 13 minutes, and 412th of the 1734 women competing. Magic Breakfast is a small registered charity that fights child hunger through breakfast clubs. The overall winner of the Vasoloppet finished in 3 hours and 38 minutes.