Thx for that - always good to fill in some more blanks...
As you may know, the North American Vasa is based on the Swedish Vasalopet, and 85-kilometer race attracting 12,000 skiers each year. The Vasaloppet, in turn, was inspired by the example of Gustav Eriksson Vasa, who skied to freedom from Danish invaders in 1518 and rallied the resistance to liberate his country, earning his the Swedish crown.
Four hundred years later, journalist Anders Pers a native of Mora, Sweden, conceived of the idea of a ski race to commemorate King Vasa's journey across the Swedish countryside. That first Vasaloppet was a 90km course from the village of Salen to Mora, on March 19, 1922. Ernst Am, a 22-year-old lumberjack won the race out of a field of 119 skiers. He covered the winding track in 7:32:49, at a time which was a full hour ahead of what race organizers expected for a finishing time. With this race the Vasalopet tradition was officially launched.