Just what is a 'loppet?'
It’s a Norwegian term for any athletic event which takes place across varied terrain.
And, that’s exactly what a large group of Sault cross country skiers, fat bicyclists and snowshoers enjoyed at Hiawatha Highlands Sunday to celebrate World Snow Day and the annual Hiawatha SnowFest, jointly hosted by Hiawatha Highlands and the Soo Finnish Nordic Ski Club.
The event was not competitive, but rather, as Dee Patterson, one of Hiawatha SnowFest’s organizers explained, “to promote outdoor, family-based activities in winter.”
The start line for Sunday’s loppet was situated just west of the Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority office and adjoining Sugar Shack.
Participants took part in one, two, five, 10, 20 or 30-kilometre journeys across the trail, snowshoers taking the five-kilometre run, with hot chocolate, hot grape tea and biscuits available at stations for everyone at places throughout the trail.
The event was open to all ages.
“This is the fifth consecutive year we’ve done it. We started it five years ago in honour of the 60th anniversary of the original Soo Finnish Club, which became the Soo Finnish Ski Club, which morphed into the Soo Finnish Nordic Ski Club, to celebrate so many years of continuous skiing in the city,” Patterson said, speaking to SooToday.
“We started celebrating World Snow Day last year. That’s an initiative started by the International Ski Federation in Europe. It’s worldwide. There are probably about 50 or 60 clubs in China alone that sign up for World Snow Day celebrations, as well as all across Europe, Asia and North America.”
Approximately 100 people pre-registered for the event, with another 100 projected to show up at the Sugar Shack before the loppet’s 11 a.m. start (the event expected to last until about 2 p.m.), its organizers and participants happy about the sunny conditions after many overcast days.
Adults 19 and over paid $10 to enter, children and youth $5 (children four and under were admitted for free).
Hiawatha SnowFest was not a fundraiser, with proceeds going to cover the cost of holding the event, Patterson said.
Prizes were available for those who pre-registered for the World Snow Day event at Hiawatha, including:
- An ice-climbing course for four, courtesy of Superior Exploration Adventure and Climbing
Sunday Brunch for four at the Delta Hotel’s View Restaurant, courtesy of Delta Hotels
A $50 gift card from Algoma Bicycle
A six month Wine Club membership, courtesy of Thomson Farms Cider & Winery