An additional 90 photos are posted here More Loppet Photos. These are mostly participants who were on Leg 3 between Castle Lookout and Castle Junction.
Congratulations to Jon Arne Enevoldsen, fastest skier with a time of 2:56:37. Karen Messenger was the fastest female at 3:34:45. Fastest team was Mr and Mrs Smith at 3:21:04. Full Results.
I didn’t participate in the loppet as a racer but I took hundreds of photos today. I’m posting a few of the hi-lites on this update but I also have dozens of photos of individual skiers which I will post at a later date.
I arrived at Castle Junction around 11:30 a.m. CJ is the 36K point of the 50K race. A few of the faster skiers had already been through. The air temperature was -7, the sun was shining and not a breath of wind. Beautiful blue wax weather.
The nice weather is especially helpful for all the volunteers who are out on the course. Nobody had to freeze this year.
I had planned to set up camp at Castle Junction and snap photos as skiers came through, but once I saw the good tracksetting, I couldn’t resist. I put on my boots and grabbed my skis and set off towards Castle Lookout.
I skied the 5K to Castle Lookout, taking photos of most of the skiers. A few were too fast and I couldn’t get my camera out in time! I had a delicious brownie at Castle Lookout, talked a bit with Jo Lunn, and headed back.
I’ve skied the third leg of the loppet three times but you get a whole new perspective when you’re not racing. There’s time to look around, notice the surroundings and, as Helen says, take your eyes off the tracks.
My first surprise was seeing the trail double-trackset for almost the entire 5K distance. I can only remember single tracksetting from back in the day. The 8K portion of Leg 3 which is between Castle Junction and Johnston Canyon was single trackset.
The 3-4 cm of snow which fell in the past four days improved the trails to what I would call “normal loppet conditions.” There was a bit of debris in the treed section, and some bumps and twigs but it was better than I was expecting.
Driving along Leg 4 on the Bow Valley Parkway, the snow looked much better than four days ago when I posted some photos of the gnarly conditions. There was still a little dirt mixed into the snow on the berm, but it was appreciably better than before the snowfall.
The steep downhills in the trees were manageable. Pretty much as I remembered them.
The best thing I heard all day was from a skier I met who didn’t realize what I was doing. Keep in mind I’m going against the flow. With a concerned look on her face, she warned, “there are a lot of skiers coming.”
Some skiers were grimacing, some were smiling, and Dave Mathews was so relaxed that he actually stopped to talk for a while.
I also took a few pictures at other locations and at the finish line. Even though I wasn’t racing, it was a very enjoyable day.
It would be interesting to hear impressions from anyone who was doing the loppet for the first time. Did it meet your expectations?