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Kulturstigen 10


00:00 / 09:27

About the park, the sports field and the dance floor

Slagnäs was a kind of a "center" in the outbacks of Lappland. The village, centrally located between the municipalities of Sorsele, Arjeplog and Arvidsjaur, was divided by the district boundary until 1955. With the inland rail route passing through the village in the 1930s, the importance of the central village was strengthened as mining goods from Adak and Laisvall were transported on trains, and the village got shops, workshops, small industries, power stations, etc., and together with the traditional small farms, they all flourished.


Slagnäs' sports association (IF) was founded in February 1934 and the first board of directors consisted of Julius Westergren, Helmer Löfmark, Hugo Burman, Kondrad Nilsson, Sigvard Jacobsson and Manfred Sundström. The village and its surrounding villages had several successful local skiers in their ski competitions (Helmer Löfmark, Maurits Holmgren, Sten Holmgren and Bernhard Larsson – among other competitions, he won in Czechoslovakia in 1935)Those competitions were extensive projects that required quite some money. This problem was solved through fundraising and theatrical performances at Beda's guesthouse, a café with a guest-room for travelers located in the village center.

Considering their equipment, the achievements of the village's first successful skiers are even more impressive. It consisted of wide forest skis with primitive straps and wax made from stearin or stearin and tar. The ski poles were bamboo sticks with large pretzels, and they received training from skiing whilst skiing to and back from their heavy forest work.

Many other sports were also practiced in the "park", as the sports field was called, with Julius Westergren beeing an important initiator. Unfortunately, a young man's pole vault career tragically ended  when Helge Johansson (1914-1935), who was considered to be an outstanding athlete, died during a training session.

In 1937 Slagnäs IF had his first ski star when Henning Burman represented the village at the Swedish championships in Örnsköldsvik and also took part in competitions in Norway. Other names that performed well on the ski slopes included Torsten Holmgren and Valdemar Bäcklund.


Skiing continued to be very popular and at school ski competitions, the Slagnäs youth was always the best. It went so far that the young Arvidsjaur skiers even refused to take part in those competitions in which Slagnäs would take part.

(See the unique prize cabinet in the Slagnäs school).

In 1951 the village achieved further great successes on the ski slopes, when Ragnar Burman, Arne Olsson and Olle Svensson became Swedish junior champions in teams and Ragnar Burman also won individually. In Sollefteå, in 1954 he became military world champion in combination skiing.


1942-1943 a dance floor was built next to the soccer field under the direction of Karl Juting, Äke Lindfors and with many volunteer workers.


In 1953 the construction of the ice rink began, so ice hockey was the predominant sport in the early 1950’s. Since there was only hand shooting from the hockey field, it can certainly be said that the seventh graders of the school were "among the best trained" who graduated from the Slagnäs school, says Hilding Lundkvist. In 1959 a machine was bought for this purpose. The Slagnäs ice hockey team was a serial winner and cup winner in "Inlandsblixten" in 1962.

The football league began in 1943 and had its greatest successes in the 1950’s when the village had both A, B and boys' teams.

The tennis court was built between 1968 and 1969.

(The above is based on stories by Hilding Lundkvist "Slagnäs sports association" and Helmer Löfmark's "Memories").


The sports fairs in the mid-1950s were big and well-attended events. In addition to traditional amusements such as carousels, snake charmers and much more, the Don Cossack Choir was also celebrated performing their Burmese chants next to the park. Furthermore, a rafting competition took place, i.e., standing on a tree trunk, driving down the rapids. In the 1950’s, only Finns took part in the rafting competition, but in 1961 Erik Forssén and Sture Ohlin, two sons of the region, competed in front of a record crowd of around 5,000 people. Erik almost made it to the finish line, but he fell off the trunk shortly before the finish line. However, his performance was sufficient to participate in Kenne Fant’s film about Nils Holgersson's wonderful journey.


Another story about pig hunting on the soccer field in the early 1950s:

Udden-Burman's pig was a real runaway, and that Sunday it chose the soccer field as its target. The players were running around on the field chasing the soccer ball, when the fugitive pig suddenly became the main hunter. Everyone laughed and thought it was funny, except my sister Siri and me who had to catch the pig and bring it home. Encouraging shouts like "Cheer Girls" didn't help too much. We had secret boy favorites on the field as well...


Of all the loyal and persistent spectators at football games, I remember Oskar Forsén best. He always sat in the center on the east side of the pitch, dressed in a blue suitvwith a large and beautiful black trilby as a symbol of the weekend (maybe) and as an effective sun protection.


I was told that bak in the early 1910’s, the big pine tree standing on the north side of the soccer field apparently saved many children and adults from angry free-running bulls. The pine tree also served as a perfect viewpoint for climbing spectators. In the village it was commonly known as "Ox-tall'n" ("Ox-pine").

In summary, commitment, volunteer work and generosity characterized the success of Slagnäs IF's. However, after many tournaments, the soccer field and the dance floor were relocated to their new location in the late 1950’s when the church was built on the other side of the street.


Ragna Burman-Rückertz, 2013

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