Finally, the race is started with the traditional rifle shot. Although the whole of Lapland has been bathed in sunlight in the days running up to the race, showing off its charms in the most concentrated form, everything looks completely different today. It is well below zero and is snowing heavily. That is not good news. Instead of gliding along fast tracks, it is already clear that even the best will take at least an hour longer than expected to complete the race.