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Skarverennet: Finse to Ustaoset, Norway

One more race...

Wed, Apr  18, 2007 - By Hugh Pritchard

The last major race of the season is the Skarverennet, a 38km race in free technique, which winds through and over the Skarvheimen, just north of the Hardanger plateau, from Finse to Ustaoset. With over 13,000 participants, it is a big one, with a very large touring class. This year's race runs on April 21.

The race always attracts a good selection of Norway's top skiers and biathletes, and 2007 is no exception: Eldar Rønning, Tore Rud Hofstad, Petter Northug, Odd-Bjørn Hjelmeset, Børre Næss, Kristen Skjeldal, Frode Estil, biathletes Frode Andresen, Ole Einar Bjørndalen and Halvard Hanevold all are down on the men's list – 2005 winner (and 2007 world champion) Lars Berger is the only significant absence.

Marit Bjørgen, Elin Nilsen, Astrid Jacobsen, Hilda Pedersen and her daughters Ida and Eli, and biathlete Natalie Santer (Bjørndalen) are registered for the women's race.

The course starts at Finse, which in winter is accessible only by rail. Finse is as small a town as any, so the skiers arrive on race morning: rather than the normal two trains, there are ten on race morning, bringing them in from Geilo, Oslo and elsewhere.

After the race, of course, there are 13,000 happy skiers crammed into a tiny village, with nothing to do but celebrate the end of another race and another season. Darn.