Muskoka Loppet has biggest turnout of skiers ever

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The Muskoka Loppet is the cross-country ski event of the season. This year, 386 skiers—the most ever since the Loppet was reinstated in the early 2000s—braved the brisk cold to compete at Arrowhead Provincial Park on Sunday, January 27.

Even though the winds created mini-snow squalls on the course, the sun was shining and family and friends were on the sidelines cheering everyone on. There were a lot of jumping jacks done by skiers and spectators to keep bodies warm.

Racers each competed in one of three distances: 5km, 15km and 30km. With the trails in excellent condition, the skiers were racing at their best. Some racers powered across the finish line in a race against the clock, while others raced side-by-side as they took their last long strides to the finish. Many came in with bright smiles.

The event was hosted by the Arrowhead Nordic Ski Club and supported by Arrowhead staff on and off the trails along with the volunteers at the finish line, at the hydration stations, on the trails, and by the fire. The Canadian Ski Patrol Muskoka Zone was on site in case of any emergency during the event. Racers were able to warm up in Arrowhead’s new visitor centre and Erika’s bakery fed the racers after their long trail blaze with hot soup and finger foods.

Podium finishes for Muskoka athletes included:

5 km Distance – Male

Age 6-7: Jakob Varieur, 1st place
Age 8-9: Alex Bianchi, 3rd place
Age 10-11: Daniel Parry, 1st place; Adam Yungblut, 3rd place
Age 12-13: Aidan Spiers, 1st place
Age 16 and over:  Peter Gottlieb, 1st place; Chad Millen, 3rd place

5 km Distance – Female

Age 8-9: Braunwyn Strickland, 2nd place; Sofia Smith, 3rd place
Age 12-13: Mya Marshall, 1st place; Mia Smith, 3rd place
Age 14-15: Kelsey Smith, 1st place
Age 16 and over: Shelly Brandon-Yungblut, 1st place; Susanne Allen Spiers, 2nd place; and Katarina Smith, 3rd place

The 5k racers line up at the start for the 2019 Muskoka Loppet

The 5k racers line up at the start for the 2019 Muskoka Loppet

15 km Distance – Male

Age 14-15: Zachary Varieur, 1st place
Age 16-17: Owen Johnstone, 2nd place
Age 30-39: John Snyder, 3rd place
Age 40-49: Anthony Shearing, 3rd place
Age 60-64: Peter Wiltmann, 1st place
Age 70-74: Walt Woolvett, 3rd place

15 km Distance – Female

Age 14-15: Clara Pringle, 1st place
Age 16-17: Fiona Shearing, 1st place
Age 60-64: Sue Sedgwick, 2nd place

The 15k racers are ready to begin

The 15k racers are ready to begin

30 km Distance – Male & Female

Male Age 16-17: Riley De Gans, 1st place
Female Age 40-49: Tracy Marshall, 2nd place

The 30k racers are off!

The 30k racers are off!

Find full race results here.

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5 Comments

  1. I find it worthy of mention that there were also approximately 75 volunteers in attendance, who also didn’t have the advantage of motion like the skiers for warmth. No event in Huntsville (or in this case, Arrowhead Park) could exist without countless volunteers. Although they never do it for thanks, I know personally how good even one “thank you” feels. Just imagine how much better a mention in the Doppler would be. Yes, there was an oblique reference to what sounded like a handful of volunteers. But these volunteers (and the Board) are busy prior to the event, and also when the medal ceremonies are forgotten by all but the winners.
    .
    My personal thanks to all the volunteers.

    • Louise Choquette on

      Great point Rob! It would have been very cold for the volunteers who were outside for the full duration of the event. I take full responsibility for omitting to emphasize that in the draft article I sent to the Doppler.

  2. Reminds me of the Original Muskoka Loppets sponsored by the Muskoka Winter Tourist Association with the help of Carlsburg in the 1970’s until 1989. We had up to 1600 participants skiing from Mary Lake in Port Sydney to Hidden Valley or Deerhurst on Peninsula Lake using the Hill and Gully snowmobile trails sometimes in temperatures of -19 degrees.

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