The “Rabbit Parade” at the 2022 Wetzink’wa Loppet. (Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club photo)

The “Rabbit Parade” at the 2022 Wetzink’wa Loppet. (Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club photo)

Loppet cross country racers in it for the long haul

Participation was high in this year’s 60 km and 40 km cross-country races

The Bulkley Valley Nordic Center welcomed 182 skiers for the mass start at their 33rd annual Wetzin’kwa Loppet.

Roger McMillan won the 60 km event in an outstanding performance by finishing three laps of the 20 km course in three hours, 16 minutes, 56.5 seconds.

Also of note were local U18 skiers Maya Clarke-Doering, Darah Gillis and Caitlyn Gillis who were three of only nine participants to complete the 60 km distance and U12 skiers Morgan Hamhuis and Ethan Rosenberger who were the youngest two skiers to finish the 40 km distance.

The chief of competition for the event, Robbie Dunbar, said that the Wetzin’kwa Loppet is all about participation and going the long haul. He said it was encouraging to see such high levels of participation in the event.

Almost 50 of the racers were part of the club’s Rabbit Ski Program, which offers kids four to 10 years old weekly cross-country ski lessons. Prior to the mass start, there was a parade and these young skiers showed off what they had learned while gliding (and shuffling) around the stadium.

To wrap up the day all skiers, their families and more than 50 volunteers who supported the race were invited to mingle and celebrate at a barbecue.

Dunbar said it was a beautiful, sunny day with the air temperature hovering around 0 C.

This is the first time the club has been able to host a mass start at the Wetzin’kwa Loppet in three years. In 2020, the race was cancelled altogether and in 2021 they hosted a virtual version.

This year they tried a hybrid model of the race, with the mass start event on March 12 and an option to complete the race virtually between March 13 and 20.

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1 km Bunny Trail Free Mass Start

Riley Holtzman; Rabbits male

Robin Wiggill; U12 male

Freya Guillon; Rabbits female

3 km Bunny Trail Free Mass Start

Ronen Pearce; Rabbits male

Soren Hersee; U12 male

Steve Williams; 18+ male

Emma Ellis; Rabbits female

Isla Hurry; U12 female

9 km Free Mass Start

Kohen Sanborn; U12 male

Leif Bourrie; U18 male

Dustin Hersee; 18+ male

Macey Nisbet; U12 female

Kate Wills; 18+ female

9 km Classic Mass Start

Nicholas Maclean; 18+ male

Morgan Pellow; 18 + female

20 km Free Mass Start

Gabriel Wimbush; U12 male

Finlay Beedle; U18 male

Ryan Chapman; 18+ male

Maisie Hoehn; U12 female

Gabby Hoehn; U18 female

Abby Morgan; 18+ female

20 km Classic Mass Start

Eric Holdijk; 18+ male

Ali Howard; 18+ female

40 km Free Mass Start

Ethan Rosenberger; U12 male

Caedmon Dunbar; U18 male

Michael Jordan; 18+ male

Morgan Hamhuis; U12 female

Wren Williston; U18 female

Nellie Dow; 18+ female

40 km Classic Mass Start

Len Vanderstar; 18+ male

Andrea Scarth; 18+ female

60 km Free Mass Start

Roger McMillan; 18+ male

Maya Clarke-Doering; U18 female

Helene Fleury; 18+ female

60 km Classic Mass Start

Alex Woods; 18+ male

Theresa White; 18+ female

1 km Virtual

Ethan Rosenberger; U12 male

3 km Virtual

Finn Rosenberger; U12 male

Isla Hurry; U12 female

Adrianne Rosenberger; 18+ female

10 km Free Virtual

Ethan Rosenberger; U12 male

Duran Hurry; 18+ male

Yeva Glover; 18+ female

10 km Classic Virtual

Robbie Dunbar; 18+ male

Poppy Dubar; 18 + female

20 km Free Virtual

Ethan Rosenberger; U12 male

Mike McMillan; 18+ male

Yeva Glover; 18+ female

20 km Classic Virtual

Robbie Dunbar; 18+ male

Cobey Oliemans; 18+ female

32 km Free Virtual

Kohen Sanborn; U12 male

Mike McMillan; 18+ male

Elsa Nisbet; U12 female

Abby Morgan; 18+ female

32 km Classic Virtual

Mark Gillis; 18+ male

Ali Howard; 18+ female

 

The 2022 Wetzink’wa Loppet 60 and 40 kilometre races were the first mass start events for the Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club since 2019. (Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club photo)

The 2022 Wetzink’wa Loppet 60 and 40 kilometre races were the first mass start events for the Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club since 2019. (Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club photo)

The 2022 Wetzink’wa Loppet 60 and 40 kilometre races were the first mass start events for the Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club since 2019. (Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club photo)

The 2022 Wetzink’wa Loppet 60 and 40 kilometre races were the first mass start events for the Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club since 2019. (Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club photo)

The 2022 Wetzink’wa Loppet 60 and 40 kilometre races were the first mass start events for the Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club since 2019. (Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club photo)

The 2022 Wetzink’wa Loppet 60 and 40 kilometre races were the first mass start events for the Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club since 2019. (Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club photo)

The 2022 Wetzink’wa Loppet 60 and 40 kilometre races were the first mass start events for the Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club since 2019. (Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club photo)

The 2022 Wetzink’wa Loppet 60 and 40 kilometre races were the first mass start events for the Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club since 2019. (Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club photo)