The Largest International Cross-Country Ski Gathering in Canada – Gatineau Loppet
The 45th edition of the Gatineau Loppet, the largest international cross-country ski gathering in Canada, was held from February 17 to 19, 2023, with nearly 2,300 athletes from 18 countries taking part. The event was named after the Loppet ski races that originated in Norway, which refers to a long, cross-country ski race. The event offered 9 distance events and various styles, including classic and free. The skiers, whether they were competing or just skiing for fun, were supported by excellent weather and course conditions.
The Gatineau Loppet welcomed headliners and up-and-coming cross-country skiers, including the French Gérard Agnellet, the winner of the men's 50 km free event, and Céline Chopard-Lallier, who topped the podium in the women's 50 km free event. The young prodigies to follow, including Gérard Agnellet, Céline Chopard-Lallier, and Émilie Bulle, also made an appearance, along with the Salomon team featuring Alex Harvey, Graeme Killick, and Simon Lapointe.
The event's traditional 2 km Mini was presented by partner Sport Échange Outaouais, which saw 145 toddlers put on their skis and tackle the course specially designed for them. This year's event also included inductions into the Gatineau Loppet Hall of Fame, including Lise Meloche, Dave McMahon, the National Capital Commission (NCC), and Gatineau Park. Several participants were inducted into the Veterans Club, having participated in 35 medium or long-distance events in the Gatineau Loppet.
The event's organizers expressed their appreciation to their nearly 300 volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the event a success. The board of directors and the organizing committee, as well as the executive producer, Groupe Simoncic, were also commended for their contribution to the success and international influence of the Gatineau Loppet. The event's sponsors and partners, including Salomon, Otto's Subaru-BMW, Swix, Euro-Sports Nordic, Tourisme Outaouais, Nordik Spa-Nature, Rossignol, Xact Nutrition, Fischer, Physio Avantage Plus, and Tourisme Québec, were also recognized for their support.
The event was a resounding success, offering skiers an unforgettable experience. The 2023 Gatineau Loppet was a celebration of the passion, dedication, and sportsmanship of cross-country skiers from around the world, and a testament to the bright future of the sport. The organizers are looking forward to next year's event and the challenges it will bring.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Worldloppet Organisation.
Photo caption: Gatineau Ski Course.