A great gathering of skiers, enormous amounts of food, awards and prizes.
According to Cross Country Canada, a loppet can be defined as “a great gathering of skiers who ski on a specifically groomed trail either classic (diagonal stride) or free (skating technique) of various distances. Enormous amounts of food and drink are consumed during (and after) the event. Usually, there’s an after party and celebratory banquet with awards and prizes”.
The term “Loppet” originated in Europe, where today, they hold ginormous events such as the Swedish Vassaloppet (where 15000 usually attend) or the Norwegian Birke Beinerrennet.
The larger Canadian loppets include the Canadian Birkebeiner in Alberta; the Keskinada Loppet in Gatineau Quebec; the Mont-Ste-Anne Loppet in Quebec … and more. Other long distance events, though not termed as loppets, are Canadian ski marathon in Ottawa, or the “Tour de Gaspe” a multi-day ski event held in culturally-rich Gaspe Peninsula, Quebec.
For most skiers, they won’t necessarily be participating in the types of events listed above, but many will try the smaller local events, that are community-run, with a friendly and fun atmosphere hosted by the locals. These loppets are organized with varied distances of 15 km, 30 km or 50 km for adults and shorter for kids. Finish up your day with a feast of home made food, music and an awards ceremony with some great swag to take home afterwards.
In this website, see winter classes for training and education on how to participate. Also in this website, see Masters XC 101 and trips for organized weekend trips to loppets in southwestern BC.. For a full seasonal calendar of all organized loppets and races in BC, see the CCBC calendar
The Payaken-what? The word P’ayakenstut comes from the Squamish Nation … a place to train oneself physically … and is often referred as the “Payak” race. It is now a world class cross country ski event at Whistler Olympic Park in the Callaghan Valley, site of the 2010 Winter Olympics, and a qualifier for the prestigious American Beirkebeiner in Wisconsin. Intermediate and advanced level skiers will love the beautiful mountainous terrain, with various loppet distances for adults and teens, and a fun ski tournament for kids.
This event is organized collaboratively by several clubs between Vancouver and Pemberton, forming Callaghan Valley Cross Country (CVXC) and our members participate as race organizers, volunteers and of course, skiers. We encourage all members to be involved, so sign up early as a volunteer or racer for early bird pricing and fun volunteer opportunities. See the official Payak website here www.payak.ca
Photo Courtesy: Above Banner photo “Payak Race”: Mike Crane, Tourism Whistler
Below: Payak 2019 panoramic: Andrea Heal Vancouver Island Loppet: Jason Baker Para-Nordics at Haywood: photographer unknown.