Skiers Brave the Cold, Savour The Sun at the Keskinada Loppet

FasterSkierFebruary 21, 2006

Gatineau, February 18, 2006 – Icy winds that forced the Atomic Sprints to be postponed to Saturday could not chill the enthusiasm of participants at today’s classics. Upwards of 1,000 skiers braved the cold, winding their way through trails over distances ranging from 5 to 51 km. Thankfully, the weather forecast for tomorrow is much more promising.

The Salomon 53 km and the Craft 29 km had to be delayed by one hour because of the low temperatures, and the runs were reduced to 51 km and 25.5 km.

But none of this prevented skiers and the public from enjoying the different activities organized as part of Canada’s largest cross-country ski event. The very first Camp de Base / Swix Giant Ski Competition took place today. This original event involves teams of eight people racing on…one single pair of skis. The exhilarating final race came down to a battle between the Embassy of Norway and the Transjurassienne teams. The Norwegian team won by one metre. A fine showing for a first edition!

The winners of the Salomon 51km Classic will only be announced tomorrow. The 25 km was dominated by Canadians. Among the men, Ottawa resident Michael Vieira took the top prize, completing the course in 1 h 19 m 18 s. Gatineau’s Éric Rouleau was right behind, finishing two seconds later. Last year, he finished 16th in the 52 km Classic and 7th in the 28 km Freestyle. Third place went to a resident of Mont-Tremblant, Mathieu Fortin. He was one of the few in his category (15 years and under) to reach the podium. Last year, he finished 13th in the same event.

Among the women, Mika Karla from Collingwood was the winner, with a time of 1 h 27 m 34 s. In 2004 she finished first in the 29.5 km Freestyle. Twins Caroline and Stéphanie Drolet from Saint-Faustin-Lac-Carré tied down the second and third place finishes, respectively. They too were racing in the 15 years and under category.

For the 16 km, among the men, the three best times went to P-O Dorego from Aylmer, Tessum Weber from Alcove and Thomas Devisscher from Gatineau. Among the women, Sandra Mortimer from Montreal, Eva Meyer from Gatineau and Erika Ladouceur from Sainte Marguerite won the medals.

For the 5 km, Martel Douglas from Ottawa, Steffan Lloyd from Chelsea and Patrick Stewart-Jones, also from Chelsea, won in the men’s category. Sophie Boyer from St-Bruno, Julie Boisvert from Gatineau and Sofia Attali from Gatineau won in the women’s.

Many families and children also turned out for the event, revelling in the sunshine that helped warm up the beautiful afternoon.

The Atomic Sprints …

The Atomic Sprints, which took place this evening, delivered some fine performances as well. Speed was the deal, with participants giving it their all over a short distance to come in first or second before moving onto the next stage.

Among the women, in the 16 years and over category, the big winner was Dasha Gaizova from Montreal. She had finished first in the 28 km Freestyle in 2002. Tomorrow, she will take part in the Bell 53 km Freestyle. Sara Nielsen from Whitehorse came in second, and Sarah Peters from Navan was third. Sarah will also be in tomorrow’s 53 km Freestyle.

Among the men, in the 16 years and over category, first and second place finishes went to Tom McCarthy and Gordon Jewett, respectively, and both of them will be participating in the Bell 53 km Freestyle tomorrow morning. Stefan Kuhn, the current leader of the Salomon Marathon Cup, came in third. Earlier in the day, he had raced in the 53 km Classic.

Among the boys, in the 14—15 years category, the winners were Martel Douglas, for whom this was the second gold medal of the day after winning the 5 km, Andrew Stewart-Jones, who finished fourth in the 5 km, and Steffan Lloyd, who finished second in this morning’s 5 km.

Among the girls, in the 14-15 years category, Mareck Beaudoin-Bacon, Danielle Buckner and Karyne Carrière took the top three spots. This meant that Danielle and Karyne actually traded positions, because in this morning’s 5 km, Karyne had finished 6 seconds before Danielle.

Swift as the Wind, Skiers Savoured a Final Sunny Day

Gatineau, February 19, 2006 — The final day of Keskinada Loppet activities was filled with heart-stopping finishes. Pleasant weather and low winds lent the festivities a helping hand and enabled organizers to provide complete runs under excellent conditions.

The Keski’s most popular event, the Bell 53km Freestyle turned into a particularly fine race. Among the men, David Zylberberg from Sudbury won by 2 centimetres over Quebec’s Steve Cyr. Up to the final sprint, which ended with Steve Cyr falling at the finish line, it was impossible to predict the winner. All the same, it was a fine improvement for Zylberberg, who had finished 20th in that same race in 2004. Third place went to France’s Lucien Bourgeois, who clocked 2 h 16 m and 32 s, which put him 3 m and 14 s behind the leader. He fought hard for his place on the podium, coming in only 1 s and 4 one-hundredths of a second ahead of Gordon Jewett from Canmore.

Among the women, Montreal’s Dasha Gaizova was the winner, with a time of 2 h 29, after winning the Atomic Sprints the night before. Sarah Peters from Navan, who had finished third in yesterday’s sprints, came in an easy second, followed by Jacqui Benson from Prince George, British Columbia.

In the Bell 29 km, Gatineau’s Bruno Cyr won the top prize. Last year’s ninth place racer won this one with a lead of 1 m 23 s over his closest rival, Éric Rouleau, also from Gatineau. Éric Rouleau had also finished second in yesterday’s 25.5 km Craft Classic. Michael Vieira from Ottawa, winner of yesterday’s 25.5 km, came in third.

Among the women, Colleen Mortimer of Ottawa finished the race in 1 h 28, slightly more than 6 minutes ahead of Gatineau’s Karine Labonté. Heidi Underwood from New-York came in third.

Although there were more than 20 different nationalities, almost all of the prizes went to Canadians in Sunday’s two big races, the only exceptions being France’s third place finish in the 53 km and the third place finish in the 29 km by an American woman skier.

For the Karhu 10 km, Stéphanie Drolet, Mareck Beaudoin-Bacon and Caroline Drolet won the top prizes for the girls. The three of them had also won the Atomic Sprints in the 14-15 years category, though not in the same order. Sam Morse and Chad Day from the United States beat Mathieu Fortin from Mont-Tremblant among the men. The latter had also placed third in Saturday’s 25.5 km.

The 2 km Mini-Keski, for which His Excellency Daniel Jouanneau, Ambassador of France, rang the starting bell, had no fewer than 274 participants, most of whom were aged 8 or under. They had to ski through castles and face musketeers before reaching the prized hot chocolate kiosk. The theme for this activity was medieval France, the host country for the event’s 28th edition.

51 km Classic
Because of the course changes, official results for the 51km Classic only came out today. Among the women, the winners were Marcia Birkigt from Alberta, Sara Nielsen from Whitehorse and Marg Fedyna from Edmonton. Among the men, Phil Shaw from Rosemère, Stefan Desfosses from Ste-Adèle and Stig Morten Fakstad from Lillehammer, Norway, were the top winners.

Despite a very difficult start to the weekend because of the inclement weather, organizers managed to pull off an event that met skiers’ expectations. With their main focus on the skiers’ safety, the Keskinada jury had to opt to modify yesterday’s major runs and delay the starts times.

Regardless of the setbacks, the new Keskinada activities, including the Camp de base / Swix Giant Ski competition, the Salomon Women Will Ski Trek on Thursday night and the 16 km Classic were very much appreciated by the participants.

Keski Board Chairman Claude Laramée indicated that he was most impressed with the work done by the volunteers under difficult conditions and very happy with the number of registrants, which actually reached 3,051, with participants from 24 different countries.

Source: Keskinada Loppet


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