PA Nordic Ski Club to host Kistaphinahnik Classic Loppet

PA Nordic Ski Club to host Kistaphinahnik Classic Loppet

Photo of the Herald file. A skier at the Kistaphinehnik Classic Loppet 2022

The Prince Albert Nordic Ski Club is getting ready for its biggest event of the ski season with the Kistaphinahnik Classic Loppet taking place this Sunday at Little Red River Park.

PANSC board member John de Padua says it takes a lot of work for the club to host an event like Loppet.

“It’s a big group effort to pull this off, so the whole board is involved. We have a great trail crew out there making sure the trails are ready and they started preparing trails in the summer and all winter the trail crew is out there grooming the trails.”

Skiers can choose between four different distances on the Loppet, with 5 km, 10 km, 20 km and 30 km distances being available.

De Padua says the trail crew will be working outside to prepare for the event days in advance.

“They prepare around 40 kilometers of trails because there are many distance options. The longest route is 30 kilometers. They have to have options for up to 30km, so they’re going to be working a lot out there.”

De Padua adds that there is great support from the local ski community at all levels.

“Regarding the actual board outside of the crew. It is of course the promotion of the event. We have tried to keep our social media updated and in touch with the club members. We have a really good community. The actual ski community is just fantastic. They are really supportive.”

The Kistaphinahnik Classic Loppey is open to skiers of all skill levels. De Padua says it’s common for skiers of all ages to participate.

“That’s the fun part of a loppet. The spirit of a Loppet simply brings the skier community together. In terms of skiing level, we have brand new skiers, people who are just starting out and we have a great option. We have the five kilometer loop that they can start on and that’s welcome for everyone.

“Family families often come to Loppen, i.e. very young, young skiers or parents who pull the children behind them in the sled. That’s another fun thing to see. We have the advanced skiers who can choose from the 10km or 20km course.”

The Loppet will bring together members of the community from all sorts of skiing backgrounds.

“We have these competitive and true lovers of a challenge who want to do the 30km. We have some incredible skiing talent who will just try to go as fast as possible,” says de Padua. “We have those who just go with their friends and like to have hot chocolate or enjoy the fires because there are a couple of checkpoints where people can stop and relax around the campfire and warm up. Everyone is definitely welcome and it’s for all levels. And as much as you want to challenge yourself, you can.”

The Loppet has undergone a name change in recent years, becoming the Kistaphinahnik Classic Loppet. The name is a First Nation word for the Prince Albert area where the Loppet takes place. De Padua says it was important for PANSC to include a reference to the origins of the land they ski on.

“I asked some of the other board members because I am new to the board myself and they said it was a First Nations name for the Prince Albert area. The name was recently changed just to honor that we are on First Nations land and just to get back to the roots of our skiing.”

Registration for the Kistaphinahnik Classic Loppet is already closed. The event begins Sunday at 9am at Cosmo Lodge.

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