What does the course look like?
In 1997, Erik Ahlström (Sweden) and James Venimore (New Zealand) looked at a map and spotted a natural trail starting at the Sweden’s biggest waterfall and finishing in the town square.
This original course still exists today for the RIVER CLASSES and demands both technical skills and endurance from start to finish. The LAKE CLASSES compete on the same run and bike course but paddle a loop on Åre Lake rather than the point-to-point downriver paddle (class II rapids).
The RIVER CLASS elite competitors finish in about 5 hours, but most recreational athletes arrive at the finish by late afternoon, 6 to 10 hours after starting.
Kayaking 25/18 km
The RIVER CLASS begins with an “on-water” start and includes class II rapids, moving water, and lake paddling. There are two compulsory portages past waterfalls: "Forsaforsen" (approx. 300 m portage) and Tegeforsen (350 m). The last section follows the LAKE CLASS course 6 km across Åre Lake to the transition area.
The LAKE CLASS is also an “on-water” start just off-shore from Åre village and covers 18 km. It includes one portage in the middle (350 meters) plus a short lift to the kajak drop-off (50 m). Lake Åre is vulnerable to high winds and rapidly changing weather – choose your kayak appropriately.
At the end of the paddle participants must follow instructions from the race volunteers about where to leave the kayak and the paddle. You are not allowed to accept help from the volunteers.
Running 15 km
The run climbs from Åre to the summit of Mt. Åreskutan via steep trails through the forest and across an open mountain landscape. Åreskutan’s summit is 1,420 meters above sea level -- 1,000 vertical meters and 5.5 km from the transition area. Runners descend the same amount of vertical over 10 km on the northern side of the mountain. More than half of the descent is technical, rocky, and often slippery. There is always snow, but the amount varies from year to year. The last 4 km to the transition area in Huså follows a steady descent on a hard-packed gravel road.
The route is marked with ribbons, but all competitors must carry a compass and map (map provided by race organization) and are responsible for route-finding in bad weather. If the weather is nice you will have a magnificent view from the top and lots of encouragement from spectators, who can ride the cable car to 1,240 meters and then walk 15 minutes uphill to the summit to watch competitors pass.
Mountain Biking 32 km
The route begins on a forest jeep trail heading east with a series of short hills before crossing a wet swamp. After crossing the main gravel road, the trail starts the first of three climbs on a steep snowmobile route (technical single track) up to the old Fröå Mine. It crosses the main road again and follows a narrow road to the (oftentimes wet) XC ski track in Björnen. It crosses the main road again and begins the second major climb, westward with a view of Åreskutan in front of you. A fast and furious descent brings you to a technical single track trail along the power lines.
After skirting through the village on a few asphalt roads, the third and final climb cuts across the ski hill. Even the best riders struggle here but are encouraged by the sound of the speaker at the finish line which booms up the mountain. The final descent follows one of Åre’s finest downhill mountain bike trails before taking a short asphalt road to the finish.
The total elevation gain is just over 700 meters. The entire course is marked with ribbons and volunteers are stationed at major road crossings. Competitors are nonetheless required to show caution at junctions, be observant of walkers on the trails, and follow all traffic rules on the roads.