The weather has been undeniably cold for the most part this winter, and the Kamsack Ski Club was ecstatic that slightly milder temperatures rolled in for the 39th annual Duck Mountain Loppet.
“The ‘Skiing Gods’ brought us some good weather, and judging from the positive comments of participants, overall everyone was satisfied,” said Bruno Lemire, Loppet chair.
“There were no injuries or problems on the trail, and the Club wishes to acknowledge Duck Mountain Ambulance care for being on standby.
“This year, out of a total of 202 participants, we had 62 first-timers and 17 jackrabbits in the under 12 category. Unfortunately, not one of the jackrabbits was from the Kamsack community,” he said.
The youngest participant was Henry Dueck, five, of Regina, who completed 5 kilometres.
Lander Daniels of Belgium participated and skied 30 kilometres. Guillernia Frias, originally of Mexico, and now of Regina, skied in his first Loppet and completed 10 kilometres. “He had some trouble with ‘slipping back’ but watched other skiers, and soon learned the ‘herringbone’ technique to go uphill. He said he’ll be back next year,” said Lemire.
“The challenge is still ongoing to become the new King of the Mountain,” he said, explaining that again this year the Loppet has an interesting race in the making between Dave Bober of Hudson Bay, who has 27 consecutive Duck Mountain Loppets ‘under his skis,’ and Gene Josephson of Regina, who has 28.
“Thanks for the great day!” was one comment after the event. “Teulon Ski Club enjoyed the hospitality and beautiful trails again this year.”
For one dedicated Loppet skier, Sharon Rudy of Kamsack, the 39th Loppet was a special occasion as she received her lifetime certificate for having skied in 20 Duck Mountain Loppets throughout the years. The certificate entitles her to “ski for free” for the remainder of her lifetime. The second lifetime certificate went to John Blackwood of Teulon, Man.
“I feel proud of this accomplishment,” said Rudy. “I love cross country skiing, the Loppets are amazing and I am looking forward to next year.”
“In keeping with the Olympic spirit, we at Duck Mountain award a variety of certificates to those skiers who meet certain criteria,” Lemire said.
They are: a certificate given to every first-time skier and the certificate helps skiers record their achievements here for the next 20 years; the jack rabbit certificate for all new skiers 12 years and under; a bronze certificate for skiers with seven years attending; silver, for 10 years; gold for 15 years; life certificate for 20 years and allows the recipient free registration for life, and the Ambassador Award which recognizes those people who over a number of years have helped promote the Loppet.
Following Canada’s example of more medal winners at the Olympics this year, skiers at Duck Mountain were not to be outdone, he said. Thanks to Bobbi Wanner, close to 100 such certificates were distributed.
Among the more noteworthy recipients of the certificates were: gold, to Irvin Tremblay of Regina, and silver to Collett Forbes of Regina and Maureen Blight of Danbury. A bronze went to Brent Rossbrook of Regina.
“Loppet organizers wish to acknowledge banquet co-ordinator Shelly Filipchuk and Full Throttle Event Solutions for the catered meal, which included turkey meatballs, barbecue chicken, honey-mustard glazed ham, scalloped potatoes, broccoli-cheese risotto, devilled eggs, salad bar and dessert.
“We also acknowledge Allan Konkin and Shane Vidomski, and all of the 29 volunteers who worked to make the 39th annual Loppet a success,” Lemire said. “Next year, for the 40th annual Loppet, the date will be February 29 (leap year) of 2020. For those who enjoy fun with numbers that is eye-catching.”
On behalf of the Kamsack Ski Club’s Loppet committee, Lemire acknowledged the Duck Mountain Provincial Park, the Town of Kamsack and all the donors for their continued support.