skiers at starting line of loppet

Getting ready for the Sleeping Giant Ski Loppet

Today’s post comes from Peter Gallagher, coordinator of the annual Sleeping Giant Loppet.

The 42nd Annual Sleeping Giant Loppet is set to take place on Saturday, March 2, 2019.

Approximately 800 cross-country skiers will participate in this family friendly event that features distances from 8 km to 50 km. Almost one third of the skiers will participate in the 8 km Mini-Loppet.

snowy pathway

The heavy snowfalls that arrived in Thunder Bay after Christmas have created some difficult challenges for park staff and volunteers. Most of the 50 km of trails were clogged with downed trees caused by the heavy wet snow and winds.

man and children holding refreshments
Photo: John Sims

About 30 km of trails have been cleared with work continuing to get the rest of the course ready for the Loppet.

snowy trail

Just imagine the difficulty of trudging through waist-deep snow to cut tree limbs and drag them off the trail.

The Loppet usually attracts about 100 skiers from the United States, as well as another 200 from towns throughout northwestern Ontario and across Canada.

This year, we are looking forward to hosting 40 skiers from the Halton Outdoor Club whose members hail primarily from the Burlington area.

In addition to the 800 skiers, about 200 volunteers will be needed to conduct the event. They will perform tasks that include staffing checkpoints, parking vehicles, shuttling equipment and timing skiers, just to name a few.

volunteers holding medals
Photo: Lois Nuttall

We are pleased to welcome about 40 students from the Outdoor Recreation Parks and Tourism Program of Lakehead University. They are following up on a tradition that began in 1978 when students from the Lakehead Outdoor Club began what was then called the Thunder Bay Ski Tour.

Online registration is open until February 26 at midnight.

In-person registration will be available at the Kamview Nordic Centre from 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm between February 28 and March 1.

There is no registration on the day of the Loppet.

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is spectacular in every season of the year so be sure to encourage friends and family to join you at the 2019 Loppet.