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Vasaloppet USA eyes building enclosed year-round space in Mora

Vasaloppet USA is looking for community input about a proposal to build an enclosed structure to hold year-round events.

The organization is looking at building a structure at the corner of Union Street and Forest Avenue in Mora. According to Vasaloppet USA board president Katie Kerr, it would eliminate the annual cost of renting a tent and provide Vasaloppet USA with usable year-round space.

Kerr said the organization is envisioning an 80-by-100 square-foot building with indoor restrooms, heat, an open floor plan, and the ability to hold open-air events in the summer.

"We want the building to have a Swedish or Scandinavian look and feel to emphasize our community's heritage," Kerr said in an email. "We know this will be a very big undertaking, and we wanted to know what residents of the City of Mora and Kanabec County thought of a structure like this."

Vasaloppet USA currently rents a tent for race week each year as a home base for events. Kerr said the pole tent for the 2023 race week, which was 60-by-100 feet and less expensive than previous years, cost about $23,000. That price tag includes rental, permits, gas, electric, inspection, heating, plywood skirting, and portable bathrooms.

Prior to the pandemic, Vasaloppet USA would rent a 60-by-80 free-span tent that cost approximately $30,000, and Kerr said the organization will ideally return to a free-span enclosure after having issues with the pole tent in 2023.

"We want to continue having a downtown finish line for Vasaloppet ski races," Kerr said. "The pandemic taught us that a tent is necessary to provide the experience and events we want for our community and skiers alike leading up to and during race weekend."

Kerr estimates that, of the survey's 180 responses at time of writing, 98 percent have been positive about the building concept. Vasaloppet USA is also looking for area groups, businesses, or investors who may consider partnering on construction.

Click here to participate in the Vasaloppet USA survey.

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