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Popular Swedish skiing competition announces first night race

By Daniel Uria   |   March 9, 2016 at 12:37 PM

MORA , Sweden, March 9 (UPI) -- One of the world's most popular skiing competitions is adding a twist to its formula by giving participants the option to complete the race at night.

Sweden's Vasaloppet announced on Wednesday that the 2017 competition would feature a 56-mile nocturnal race dubbed Nattvasan.

The new event will feature teams of two competing in a freestyle race from Sälen to Mora in the dark of night starting at 8 p.m.

"We want to make a new kind of adventure and you can't find anything like this in the world," Vasaloppet's PR manager Ola Granfeldt told The Local.

The night race will feature on checkpoint in the middle of the path as opposed to a traditional race which features a stop approximately every six miles.

Several safety precautions will be put in place to protect participants including requiring racers to compete in groups of two and forcing them to wear headlamps as well as a backpack containing food, dry clothes and a GPS tracker.

In addition only 1,500 applicants will be allowed for Nattvasan, although Granfeldt believes the event will draw many thrill seekers.

"Our plan is not just to make a new thing for cross-country skiers but also to catch the eye of adventurers around the world," he said. "And I do think there will be high pressure on registration."

He added that professional skiers are expected to complete the course in about five hours, while amateurs may take as long as 12 hours.

"They will meet the sunrise at the finish line in the morning and that's gonna be really cool as well," he said.

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