March 19, 2013

Royal Palace Sprint (Skiing in Gamla Stan)

Photo by Henrik Trygg, Stockholm Visitors Board
One of world's most unique sporting events takes place in Stockholm tomorrow (Wednesday, March 20th)... the Royal Palace Sprint! This is a cross country sprint skiing competition. What makes it unique is that the course is in the middle of a major city, around the Royal Palace located in Gamla Stan. This isn't any amatuer event either... it is part of the World Cup series, so some of the best cross country skiers will be competing! This is the final sprint event of the season and the winner of the Sprint Cup will be announced and "crowned". Important points for the overall World Cup trophy (awarded this coming weekend in Falun, Sweden) are up for grabs as well. Apparently, there is only 15 points separating the top three in the current standings (Levkov, Northug and Cologna). So this is serious business!
Photo by Henrik Trygg, Stockholm Visitors Board
This will be the tenth time this event will be held here in Stockholm. The good news is that this is the first time I can remember that the weather has been "wintery" when the event has been held. Usually it is warm, spring weather and the fact that they truck in snow has been met with raised eyebrows by the locals. This year it is cold and snowy! The bad news is that this is apparently the last time for a few years that they will have the event in Stockholm... I read a quote from an official this morning where he said "hopefully by 2016". So, if you are in town, head down to Gamla Stan and see this unique event!
Photo by... me (from last year). Bad quality but, hey, they ski really fast! Hard to catch them!
The qualification rounds will be held between 2 and 2:45pm. The opening ceremonies with HRH Prince Carl Philip will be at 3pm followed by the semifinals and finals. The award ceremony, with His Majesty the King, will be held at 5:30pm. So plenty of chances all afternoon to see some quality skiing and spot some royals.

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