A loppet runs through it


Contrary to what some wise guys in Whitehorse believe, there are trees in Inuvik, N.W.T. and its annual Top Of The World Ski Loppet will run through it April 9.

“We are just at the edge of the treeline so we have little trees,” says Rita Kors-Olthof, president of the Inuvik Ski Club. “It’s bushy, but we call one section the ‘Birch Loop’ because there’s a patch of birch.”

But that patch is beautiful, she says, and the trail is a dozer’s width wide, well-groomed and half of it is lit.

The loppet is three decades old and has had as many as 100 competitors. Last year it only saw 45 competitors — a third had come from Fort McPherson — but that was mostly because of the fact it fell on the Easter weekend.

“We’ve ordered 100 T-shirts for the first 100 entrants,” says Kors-Olthof. “But we are hoping for a little more because it’s on the same weekend as the Muskrat Jamboree.”

Competitors are expected from Old Crow this year and possibly Yellowknife. No one from Whitehorse has contacted organizers yet, “But they are certainly welcome,” Kors-Olthof quickly adds.

“It’s a friendly loppet,” she says. “Not really competitive.”

There will be races for the Jack Rabbits — children who cross-country ski once a week with equipment donated by the local ski club — at 150 metres. Then there will be a 1-km race, 2.2, 5, 7.5, 15 and 30 kilometres.

And Kors-Olthof wants “Southerners” to know that last year

Inuvik had “great snow”.

“We were still skiing in May.”

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