Winter may not yet be officially here, but local cross-country skiers are thrilled with the sneak preview. They have been out in force in Gatineau Park, enjoying the delightful gift of snow over the last few days: just in time to set the mood for the official launch of the 36th edition of the Gatineau Loppet, the biggest cross-country skiing event in Canada, which will run from February 14 to 16, 2014.
New for 2014
For its 36th edition, the Gatineau Loppet will once again feature eight races for every level of skier. The Saturday will be dedicated to the classic style, with the 5 km Metro News, 15 km BFL Canada, 27 km Otto’s BMW Ottawa and the 51 km linear race, which this year will start at P17 in Wakefield. Gatineau Loppet President Yan Michaud points out that “the linear race was a tremendous success last year, and is eagerly awaited again this year.” On the Sunday, February 16, there will be the freestyle mini Sport Échange Outaouais (2 km), 10 km, 27 km and 51 km Polar. The races sanctioned by Cross Country Canada are the 51 km classic style and the 51 km Polar freestyle.
This year once again, the Gatineau Loppet is innovating and featuring new courses, but this time, it is also bringing in snowshoes to round out the winter experience for outdoor buffs. “We decided to open up the Gatineau Loppet and make it not only for cross-country skiers but also for snowshoers,” indicated Mr. Michaud. There will be three courses for the first time this year: 2.5 km (initiation), 5 km (presented by raquettes GV) and 10 km (presented by Atlas).
Pierre Lavoie as Honorary President
The Gatineau Loppet is tremendously proud to welcome Pierre Lavoie, known as The Man with a Big Heart and an Iron Will, as its Honorary President. Pierre, a determined and committed athlete, has taken part in several Ironman competitions, winning three times in his age category. In 1999, he launched the first Défi Pierre Lavoie in Saguenay Lac St-Jean (cycling 650 km in 24 hours) to raise money for lactic acidosis research, a disease that claimed the lives of two of his children. Nearly 10 years later, Pierre launched the Grand Défi Pierre Lavoie to promote healthy lifestyles and physical activity for youth. This year, he joins the Gatineau Loppet, and invites all local youth to come out and get moving in the Mini sport Échange Outaouais, and to make some “energy ice cubes!” (One energy cube = 15 minutes of physical activity.)
Registrations for 2014
The President of the Gatineau Loppet wants to remind everyone that “registrations are currently under way, and there has already been a 25% increase in the number of skiers registered compared to this time in previous years.” Cross-country skiers still have the chance to take advantage of the lower registration fees. There will be various promotions until December 15, 2013, and fees will rise starting on January 15, 2014. Wouldn’t that make a nice Christmas present?
The Gatineau Loppet wants to thank its partners, Ville de Gatineau, Polar, Otto’s BMW, Swix, Services récréatifs Demsis, Fontaine Santé, BFL Canada, Fischer, Metro News, Sport Échange Outaouais, Sportstats, Superior Propane, Chelsea Pub, Biscotti, Raquettes GV, Atlas, Développement économique - CLD Gatineau, Government of Québec, the National Capital Commission (NCC) and Winterlude.
For details about the event, visit the Gatineau Loppet Web site at www.gatineauloppet.com.