LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwired) -- 04/26/13 -- Although it takes in some of the world's most beautiful scenery, Greenland's ultimate cross-country skiing race, the Arctic Circle Race, is undoubtedly one of the most physically and mentally challenging competitions on earth. Leading skiing and snowboarding holiday operator Neilson holidays provides the lowdown on this year's race.
The Arctic Circle Race (or the 'ACR' to those in the know) takes place each year and covers a total distance of 161km of land, around 65km north of the Arctic Circle, over a period of 3 days. Contestants are required to ski 57km on the first day, 46km on the second, and 57km on the third day. Just completing the race requires the competitors not only to be in the peak of physical fitness, but also capable of mentally pushing themselves to the absolute limit.
It's perhaps unsurprising that this year's winner was used to living life at sub-zero temperatures. Russian Ilya Chernousov won the race with what seemed like ease, placing an entire nine minutes ahead of his competitors by the beginning of Day Three, and finally placed a whopping eighteen minutes earlier than local hero Martin Moeller.
His speed did not prevent Chernousov from enjoying the race though - he had time to take in Greenland's magnificent, though sometimes harsh, terrain, and cautioned fellow competitors against failing to take in this "spectacular landscape".
The competition is held near Sisimut, on Greenland's west coast, which is home to some of the world's most dramatic snowy landscapes, in addition to some of its warmest hospitality - although at night, skiers sleep in tents in the middle of the Arctic wilderness. Created in 1998, it now features amongst the highlights of the cross-country skiing calendar each year, drawing ski enthusiasts and ordinary athletes looking to push themselves with a different type of marathon, in equal measure.
Unsurprisingly, the ACR has drawn many famous skiers in the past. Two Olympic gold medallists from Norway, Vegard Ulvang and Grete Nykkelmo, later Olympic gold medallist Jochen Behle from Germany, Olympic gold medallist Thomas Alsgaard, and many more famous gold medallists have participated. This means that you're more than likely to catch sight of a famous face en route - should you be brave enough to take part, of course!
But if you fancy something less strenuous than the ACR this year, then Neilson also offers beach holidays, lakes and mountains - as well as more active ski and snowboard holidays, meaning that there is the perfect break whatever your activity level.
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