Squeeze into that old spandex (or snow suit) and strap on your skinny skis: the Huckleberry Loppet is just around the corner. On January 30th, the Golden Nordic Ski Club will be hosting the annual event — which is now in it’s 15th year — at the Dawn Mountain Nordic Centre.
Although Loppets are typically known as long-distances races, event organizers want to get the message out that it will be a fun, community-oriented event.
Sanne van der Ros, a volunteer coach and the club’s main communications and media co-ordinator, said that the club has seen quite the growth in participant numbers over the past couple of years. In just two seasons, the event more than doubled its participant numbers from 52 in 2008 to 128 skiers last year. The event attracts racers from out of town as well as local families, members and first-time skiers every year.
“We expect to see lots of people taking part in this fun, friendly, community event that attracts cross-country skiers from young to old, beginner to expert, and first timers to experienced veterans,” said van der Ros.
To keep with the annual tradition, the top female and male racers will receive a small bag of huckleberries as a prize.
The distances for this year’s race (classic skiing only) are 1, 4, 8, 15 and 30 km. The 1 km is designed for the really young folks, while the 4 and 8 km are for the recreational category and the longer distances of 15 and 30 km are meant for the more competition class.
The competitive class, though, doesn’t mean you have to “competitive.”
“It’s all for fun and we want to make sure it stays that way so we don’t focus on results as much as having fun participating,” said van der Ros.
The registration fee includes a warm meal and drink for lunch as well as home baked cookies. There will be lots of prizes at the end of the race, too. Spectators, fans and non-skiing family members can buy into this lunch. If you’re interested in volunteering as a trail marshal, runner, timing, at aid stations or with food, contact Joan Dolinsky at 250-348-2578.
The cost to participate is $5 for 13 years and younger, $10 for youth 14 to17 years old, $25 for 18 and older, $50 for families. To avoid late fees, register before the deadline of January 27th by midnight at www.zone4.ca.