The Prince Albert Nordic Ski Club is ready for their biggest event of the ski season with the Kistaphinahnik Classic Loppet set to take 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 such as the loppet.
“It’s a big group effort in order to put this on so the entire board is involved. We have an amazing trail crew who are out there making sure that the trails are ready and they started doing that in the summer, preparing trails and all through the winter, the trail crew are out grooming trail.”
Skiers will have the option of four different distances at the loppet, with 5 km, 10 km, 20 km and 30 km distances available.
De Padua says the trail crew will be out working to prepare for the event days in advance.
“They’re grooming about 40 kilometers of trails because there’s a lot of options for distances. The longest distance is 30 kilometers. They have to have options for up to 30 kilometers of trail, so, they’ll be out there doing a lot of work.”
De Padua adds that there is major support from the local ski community across all levels.
“In terms of the actual board outside of the crew. It’s of course, the promoting of the event. We’ve been trying to keep our social media up to date, keeping in contact with club members. We have a really good community. The actual ski community is just fantastic. They’re really supportive.”
The Kistaphinahnik Classic Loppey is open to skiers of all skill levels. De Padua says it is common to see skiers of all ages participating.
“That’s the fun part of a loppet. The spirit of a loppet is just getting the community of skiers together. In terms of the levels of people skiing, we’ve got brand new skiers, people who are just starting out, and we have a great option. We’ve got the five-kilometer loop that they can start on, and that’s welcome for anybody.
“Families often come out to loppets, so very young, young skiers or parents pulling the kids behind them in sleds. That’s another fun thing to see. We’ve got the intermediate skiers who can choose from the ten- or 20-kilometer range.”
The loppet will bring together members of the community from all sorts of different skiing backgrounds.
“We’ve got those competitive and real lovers of a challenge who want to do the 30 kilometers. We’ve got some amazing ski talent that are going to just try to go as fast as they can.” Says de Padua. “We got the ones who are just going to go with their friends and enjoy have having hot chocolate or enjoying the fires because there’s a couple of checkpoints where people can stop and kind of relax and warm up around a bonfire. Everyone’s definitely welcome and it’s for all levels. And as much as you want to challenge yourself, you can.”
The loppet has seen a name change in recent years going with the name Kistaphinahnik Classic Loppet. The name is a First Nation word for the area surrounding Prince Albert where the loppet takes place. De Padua says it was important for the PANSC to include a reference to the origins of the land they ski on.
“I was asking some of the other board members because I’m actually new to the board myself and they said it’s a First Nations name for the area surrounding Prince Albert. So, it was a recent change in the name just to honor that we’re on First Nations land and just give back to the roots of where we are skiing.”
Registration for the Kistaphinahnik Classic Loppet has already closed. The event will begin at 9 a.m. on Sunday at the Cosmo Lodge.