Phil Bellingham & Victor Gustafsson (SWE) take 2nd at the 2020 Nattvasan in Sweden

2020 Nattvasan 90 km (F) Race (SWE)        
Phil Bellingham & Victor Gustafsson (SWE) — 2nd
The Nattvasan 90 km is an exercise race where no winner is crowned.

While many of our readers know Phil who grew up in Mount Beauty, not so many Australians outside the local Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club know Victor Gustafsson (Sweden), who spent the 2013 winter here as the club’s coach in residence … and … ‘what is Nattvasan 90?’ is a question most people will ask.

The biggest cross country ski event in the world is the 90 km Vasaloppet held in Sweden, with over 15,000 skiers in the main event and more than 40,000 skiers taking part in other events held in the week leading up to the main race.  

One of these is the Nattvasan (Night Vasa). It is held on the same 90 km course as the main race, with the slight difference that skiers start in the dark at 8 pm wearing headlamps and must take part as teams of two. In a close finish, Phil and Victor finished just before midnight and were given the time of 3:53:22, the same time as the winners. While Phil and Victor finished on Friday, most of the 524 teams finished the next day, with team Fridaforsarna ‘signing the finish list’ just before 7:30 am the next morning with the time of 11:29:17. Starting an hour and a half after sunset … and finishing an hour after sunrise! 

Phil reported, “that about halfway into the event my headlamp ran flat so I did just over 40 km relying only on the light from Victor’s headlamp”.

As if one 90 km ski race is not enough, Phil backed up Friday night’s 90 km ‘night’ race with another 90 km in Sunday’s main race, the Vasaloppet. Perhaps unsurprisingly, his time was a bit slower than on Friday night, a still very respectable 5:25:09, just under an hour behind the winner Petter Eliassen of Norway. 

Phil has been ‘ski busy’ while in Europe, Scandinavia and other places this winter.

  • Vassaloppet China 5o km — 21st 
  • Dolomitenlauf (AUT) 42 km (skate) Saturday — 15th.
  • Dolomitenlauf (AUT) 42 km (classic) Sunday — 16th.

From left: Phil Bellingham & Victor Gustafsson

Junior World Championships now on until 7th March

Follow the skiers at the Championships. Click [HERE]

Snow Australia XC Athlete Pathways

The FTEM framework (see below) consists of 3 macro stages of the skill and performance development of sporting participants which are further differentiated into 10 micro stages. These stages and micro stages include — Foundations (F1, F2 and F3); Talent (T1, T2, T3 and T4); Elite (E1 and E2); and Mastery (M).
Click [HERE] to view the excellent Brochure that has been produced and which explains the framework brilliantly. Finn Marsland (National XC Program Director) had much input into the Brochure.

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