Gatineau Loppet will keep legendary tradition alive and stoke excitement in new skiers with virtual event
The 43rd edition of the legendary Gatineau Loppet will be running once again this year, but it will be a new virtual format scheduled for Feb. 13-28. Registration is now open.
The Virtual Gatineau Loppet will offer a variety of distances including a 10 km, 10 km Challenge, 25 km or 50 km. And registration is just $15 (plus tax/fees).
The Gatineau Loppet is a member of the Worldloppet league and is part of a circuit of the 20 biggest cross-country ski races around the world, including the Vasaloppet in Sweden, and La Transjurassienne in France.
Louise Poirier, president of the Gatineau Loppet, has a long history with the event dating back to her first Loppet in 1989. Since then, she’s played a vital role in making the event the largest cross-country ski race in the country. She says that in a normal year 17 per cent of the approximately 2,500 participants travel to the area staying in Gatineau or Ottawa to take part in the event.
The Virtual Gatineau Loppet will be officially recognized, and skiers who complete the 25 km or 50 km in cross-country skiing will be able to claim their pins recognizing the total number of races completed (5, 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30). And for those who accumulate 35 editions, it will be counted toward the supreme rank of the Veterans Club.
Following the completion of their distance, participants will receive, by email, a printable certificate confirming their participation in the Virtual Gatineau Loppet. A BUFF will also be sent by mail to highlight their accomplishment. As well, several participation prizes will be drawn daily starting Feb. 13.
“In order to allow athletes from all over the world to participate, the distances can be completed in cross-country skiing (classic or free technique), fat bike, snowshoeing, cycling, roller skiing and even running!” says Poirier.
The 10 km Challenge will be perfect for novice skiers as they will be able to complete the total distance in several cross-country ski outings. The Mini 2 km is back again this year for young skiers for $5 + taxes & fees.
Two top skiers have been named honorary chairs of the Virtual Gatineau Loppet. “I am pleased that two young skiers from the region, Katherine Stewart-Jones and Antoine Cyr, will be honorary chairs for this very special edition. Katherine and Antoine have both been selected by Nordiq Canada to take part in stages of the Cross-Country World Cup 2021 in Europe,” says Poirier.
This year, with a virtual event, there is an opportunity for people from across Canada and further afield to sign up and challenge themselves.
In addition, getting outside and being active is one of the best things to do during the pandemic, and this year like no other people are embracing cross-country skiing in huge numbers. A virtual event is a great goal to set for those new to the sport.
“Skiers need a challenge, and this year we need to do it virtually. We also need them to support the event to show that they care and that they want to do it,” says Poirier. “Even though we are in a different world, and the rules are different.”
For those interested in what it takes to train for a race like the Gatineau Loppet check out our article with Dave McMahon of Natural Fitness Labs.
And for a taste of the amazing Gatineau Loppet check out one of our recent video race reviews at the link below.