PO Box 1027, Willow, AK 99688 (907) 495-6633 [email protected]

Entry Fee - Sven Eriksson 25K Tour - Bike, Ski or Run

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$10.00
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Registration: At EagleQuest or the WACO table in the Main Hall at the Community Center or online.

Entry Fee: $10

Age Restriction: None

Race Details: 25K (15 mile) tour with short cuts marked. Tour is for fat tire bikes, runners or skiers. This is not a timed race. The course is well marked and a short cut is marked to reduce course to 8 miles. Maps are at registration. Participants may start at any time. No snowmobile aid stations traveling along the route.

Awards: Embroidered patches for finishers can be picked up at the WACO table in the Main Hall.

The Sven began in 1972 as a cross-country race in the vicinity of Willow Lake but due to poor trail conditions wasn’t very successful. In 1974, John and Billy Hale, Mike Lee and Kari Liekoski put in a 17K trail between the Nancy Lake State Recreation Area winter trailhead to the Willow Community Center. John Hale remembers that “Only five or six people showed up for the first race. Later, when we began working with the Nordic Ski Club, it became more popular. We had 200 people one year.”

Sven Eriksson, an electrical engineer in Anchorage and friend of John Hale’s was instrumental in setting up the race. “Sven Ericksson was a good friend of Sven Johansson’s, the trainer for the biathlons,” Hale recalls. “Both were very active in cross-country and Nordic sports. Sven came up to put in the course, organized the race and included it as a point event for the Anchorage Nordic Ski Club race series."

Due to land development, the race course was rerouted over North Rolly Lake and through the Willow Swamp, which, to the chagrin of some, increased the length to 25K. Race organizers soon realized that, except for a few, most contestants were making a picnic of the event. Evidence of that was the often seen cheese crumbs on the trail and bota bags strapped across shoulders. The “race” became a “tour” thereafter.

With a series of years with poor skiing conditions and with the advent of fat tire biking and trail running, the tour included all those non-motorized modes of travel. Since 2016, the Sven has begun at the EagleQuest Lodge and Cabins as entrants discovered starting a 25K journey is best at a warm place with good food.

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