The 46th Gatineau Loppet is the ultimate bucket list event for cross-country skiers
Nestled in the heart of the Gatineau Park, Quebec, this iconic Canadian race is not just any skiing event; it's a member of the prestigious Worldloppet association. A global alliance of the most renowned cross-country ski races from around the world. But what does this mean for you? Well, it means a world-class skiing journey right in your own backyard.
“The rule is that it should be the biggest or most famous race of each nation,” says Gunnar Zlobl of the Worldloppet Association. “It also means that it is, from a global point of view, the most important race of the country. And all our member races have to have at least 42 kilometres, which makes it a ski marathon.”
Want some international flavour to your ski competition, when sidling up to the start line at the Gatineau Loppet, don’t be surprised to meet people from around the world who descend on this beautiful slice of winter wonderland for the race every year.
“Canada and America are quite popular for Europeans to go there to get their overseas races,” Zlobl says.
From Feb. 16 to 18, 2024, you have the chance to join thousands of other skiers, who will be converging on Gatineau Park from all corners of Canada and beyond. Together, it will be time to explore the beauty of Gatineau Park's stunning trails, making it a winter spectacle that showcases your passion for cross-country skiing while offering a chance to connect with skiers all around the globe.
Philippe Lebel, President of the Gatineau Loppet, couldn't be more enthusiastic, exclaiming, "We're thrilled to invite cross-country ski enthusiasts to ski with the World, as skiers from the four corners of the globe converge on Gatineau to enjoy the Gatineau Loppet with family and friends!"
Lebel first participated in the event as a skier many years ago while a university student, later he volunteered and eventually became president of the Loppet.
“I fell in love right there,” he says. “I was not a big competitor but I felt like I was at the Olympics with a crowd cheering with people coming from over 20 different countries. That kind of atmosphere really got to me.”
But the excitement doesn't end there. The Gatineau Loppet offers an opportunity to secure a spot and take advantage of early bird discounts. Register before Dec. 4, and you'll not only guarantee your participation but also enjoy significant savings. This incentive is designed to foster a diverse gathering of athletes, from local heroes to international contenders, coming together to celebrate this extraordinary event.
Now, let's dive into what's new and exhilarating for the 2024 edition.
The Gatineau Loppet is rolling out more "Discovery" waves, an exciting addition tailored for skiers who seek to explore cross-country skiing or partake in untimed races. The best part? You'll have all the support you need with markers, safety measures, and refreshments. In 2024, these "Discovery" waves will also be offered for the two 50-km races, available in both free technique and classic skiing.
But there's more to fuel your passion for skiing. The "Junior U30 Challenge," sanctioned by Nordiq Canada, is set to replace the Junior U23 category. This captivating challenge, scheduled during the 27 km free technique race on Sunday, February 18, is all about attracting young athletes and fuelling the next generation of Canadian cross-country skiing stars.
And participants can expect a wonderful atmosphere complete with a range of festivities once the skis come off including a trade show to find out about the latest gear, food and drinks, and more.
So, if you're looking for a winter adventure like no other, the Gatineau Loppet should be at the very top of your list.
It's your opportunity to explore the pristine trails of Gatineau Park, connect with fellow skiing enthusiasts from around the world, and be part of a legacy that celebrates the sheer joy of cross-country skiing. Don't miss out on this golden opportunity to embrace the beauty of winter and the thrill of cross-country skiing in 2024. Join us at the Gatineau Loppet Feb. 16 to 18, 2024, and be part of a skiing adventure that will leave you with unforgettable memories and a deeper love for the sport.