More than 2750 eager participants descended on the city of Gatineau, Quebec for the 36th edition of Canada’s largest cross–country ski race on a February weekend this year.
Not even freezing weather could cool the enthusiasm of excited participants, with everyone from elite to recreational skiers hitting the trails with boundless energy and an upbeat attitude.
Ski events included were 51km, 27km and 10km – all in both classic and freestyle format. A mini 2km was also available for children to truly make it a family friendly event.
In addition to these races the inaugural Super Sprint competition was held on the Friday, and also for the first time Snowshoe races of 2.5km, 5km and 10km distances were included. With the variety in disciplines and distances, there was something for everyone at Gatineau this year!
The event takes place in the stunning Gatineau Park, an outdoor wonderland boasting a delightful array of incredible natural features, unique wildlife and beautiful heritage sites – all located just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa.
Crucially for the Gatineau Loppet, Gatineau Park has one of the largest networks of cross-country ski trails in North America. Over 50 trails are available for skiers, and the wide variety of difficulty of these trails ensures that everyone is catered for.
Kayaking, hiking, fishing, mountain biking and rock climbing are just some of the other activities on offer at Gatineau Park, making it the perfect destination for all lovers of the outdoors.
As if the vibrant atmosphere of the Gatineau Loppet wasn’t enough, just across the Ottawa River the magical Winterlude Festival was in full swing!
A true winter wonderland, the festival includes ice sculptures, a “Snowflake Kingdom” children’s playground and the chance to glide along the world’s largest naturally frozen ice skating rink – the Rideau Canal Skateway.
With the seemingly endless number of possibilities for outdoor fun and excitement available in the Gatineau area, it is no surprise that the Gatineau Loppet is such a popular event.
The sold out 51km Classic race and great response to the new Super Sprint and Snowshoe events are testament to this. The Gatineau Loppet 2014 was a fantastic event in a fantastic location, and next year’s event promises to be the same. As the organiser’s attention turns to 2015, perhaps it is time to start planning a visit to Quebec for the outstanding Gatineau Loppet.