Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Loppet

What is a Loppet?

If you are new to the cross-country skiing community, you may have wondered if a loppet was some kind of furred animal or a specific ski technique you haven't mastered.

Loppet: Noun. A large, long distance (approximately 35+ kilometre) cross country skiing event.

Starting the Vasaloppet in Sweden.
Examples of famous loppets include the Vasaloppet in Sweden (90KM, 15,000 skiers), and the American Birkebeiner in Haywood, Wisconsin (a favourite of many DN club members at 51/56KM and 10,000 skiers).

Have no fear, anyone can participate and become a "loppeteer",  it just takes a certain amount of training and motivation. Many loppet events are open to all ages, offer open or non-competitive categories, and also shorter distance options for those just getting into the sport. You can even ski a full loppet at a touring pace, as long as you are mindful of the cut-off times on the course.

A loppet can involve good friendly competition between you and others in your age category (or outside of it) but a big part of a loppet revolves around supporting the ski community that is involved in planning and putting on the event, most often on a volunteer basis. Many hours go into grooming the course, setting up the staging areas and finish line, and of course, preparing food and drink for aid stations, and working out timing and post-race prize awards.

During a loppet, though there can be some tight competition at the front of the pack, the mood on the course is supportive and courteous - even when you're getting passed, someone will often turn back and call out "keep it up!"

The Whiteshell Cross Country Ski Club has hosted the Manitoba Loppet in Pinawa for the past 40 years, and the 41st is coming up this Saturday, January 21. The full loppet is a 30k ski, but there is a 15k distance also. See you there?

Manitoba Loppet Race Notice:

Upcoming Loppets:

41st Manitoba Loppet, Pinawa, Saturday, January 21
City of Lakes Loppet, February 3-5
Canadian Birkebeiner, February 10-11
Gatineau Loppet, February 18
Minnesota Finlandia, February 18
American Birkebeiner, February 25
Sleeping Giant Loppet, March 4
Riding Mountain Loppet: March 4

Post-loppet bliss!