Today, the ski marathon is the highlight of the whole event. Its programme includes over ten types of sports, from hockey with a ball to winter windsurfing. Spectators can also enjoy reindeer and dog sledge races, and there are sports contests for kids.
These Olympic Games have everything you'd expect from the real thing: an opening ceremony with a concert, master classes, shows, and the lighting of the Olympic torch in Murmansk Central Stadium.
The festival has spread beyond the region over time, with the skiing competition now held in Kirovsk, sailing on the Tuloma river, and skating competitions in Olenegorsk.
The main event is, of course, the ski marathon. This international race is part of the Russialoppet series and the European Euroloppet, and attracts many famous athletes from Russia and abroad. Over 1,500 athletes from 19 countries (including distant ones like Canada and Australia) took part in the last tournament. While the 50-km race is the most high-profile event, there are also 25 and 15-km races.
The event programme also features the Track of Friendship—a race that starts in Rayakoski near the Russian border, a five-hour drive from Murmansk. Its route crosses Russia, Norway, and Finland—and the athletes don't need visas! This cross-border tradition was born in 1994, and anyone can take part.