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The 44th edition of the legendary Gatineau Loppet will be in-person

Some changes, but the spirt of legendary cross-country ski event will shine through

The 44th edition of the legendary Gatineau Loppet is officially happening and it will be an in-person event — 100 percent outdoors, 100 percent fun. 

The event is scheduled for Feb. 17-20 on the enchanting trails in beautiful Gatineau Park, Quebec. And, although there are some modifications due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, what remains is the essence of this fantastic event — a weekend of racing outdoors in nature and a competitive and friendly atmosphere.

"This is a work in progress, and we are working very hard with the various stakeholders to ensure the safety of everyone who will be present on our site,” says Louise Poirier, president of the board of directors. “Above all, we are happy and proud to be able to welcome back our skiers at the end of February, as it has been the tradition for the past 44 years.” 

Some of the traditional Gatineau Loppet post- and pre-race activities that are normally held indoors will either move outside or be cancelled. For example, the ski salon, which showcases new ski gear and associated products, will happen outside. The food and drink portion of the weekend has been cancelled. Proof of recognized vaccination will be required, and participants will have to commit themselves upon registration to follow the health instructions related to the COVID-19. A health guide created specifically for the event will be available to skiers and the general public on the Gatineau Loppet website by Jan. 26.

The 5, 15, 27, and 50 km classic skiing events will return on Saturday, Feb. 19, as well as the 10, 27, and 50 km free technique events. For kids, there will also be races adapted to their level including the mini 2 km Sport Éxchange Outaouais for the youngest crowd, the 5km and 15km classical technique as well as the 10km and 15km free technique for ages 12 and under.

In addition to the traditional Gatineau Loppet events, there will be new features for the 2022 edition. For instance, there is the Gatineau Loppet and the 2022 Ski Health Challenge, which is a relay race to benefit the Fondation Santé Gatineau. 

And, of special note is the Salomon Team Relay, which takes place on Friday, Feb. 18. On hand for this event will be Alex Harvey, three-time Olympian and three-time world champion, who will participate with his team of veterans in this three-way race.

On Feb. 18 and 19, all levels of skiers are welcome to test their cross-country skills at the Discovery Waves Decathlon, which is a new non-timed wave that has been added to all distances (except the 50 km).

Finishing up the weekend on Feb. 19 is the Junior Challenge. A new sanction has been added to the program for the 27km free technique race for JUNIORS (16-19 years old) and U23 (20-22 years old). This race will allow eligible skiers in this category to accumulate additional Canadian Ranking Points (CPL). 

There is indeed something for everyone.

The Gatineau Loppet dates back to 1979 and has grown in popularity as the only Worldloppet event in Canada, often drawing upwards of 2,500 participants. It is the largest international cross-country ski event in Canada. 

Stephan Meyer has attended many Gatineau Loppets for Get Out There, and is now sitting on the Loppet’s Board of Directors. He loves it that much. 

"With a huge number of people learning to cross-country ski, and the introduction of a new low-pressure non-timed option, there is no better time to take part in Canada's largest International cross-country ski event, the Gatineau Loppet!” says Meyer, otherwise known as Active Steve. “There is truly something for everyone. Over the past decade, I've raced every year, and this year I hope to notch my15th finish, tackling both the 50k Freestyle and 50k Classic events. Skiing in the woods with hundreds of like-minded people always puts a smile on my face. I know that the organizers are doing everything they can to ensure a safe and secure event this year, and as one of the few in-person events happening, there is no way I'm going to miss it in February!"

In more good news, the Loppet is announcing an extension of the early bird registration prices until January 30, 2022 inclusively, instead of the original price hike that was scheduled for January 17, 2022.

For more information and to register head to the Gatineau Loppet website here

See you out there. 

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