Ottawa news: 29th NCC Keskinada Loppet
The National Capital Commission organized its 29th Keskinada Loppet February 15 to 18, 2007.
It took place in Gatineau Park located in the Gatineau Hills of Canada’s Capital Region just minutes from Parliament Hill. It has become quite popular with cross-country skiers coming from as far away as Australia and Japan.
Contrary to most perceptions of that continent, Australia is noted for its Kangaroo Hoppet which is its premier long distance cross-country ski race held on the Bogong High Plains of Victoria’s Alpine National Park. It is a member of the Worldloppet series of ski races.
Worldloppet races are held each year in Australia, Austria, Italy, Germany, Japan, Canada, USA, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Norway, the Czech Republic, and last but certainly not least, Estonia!
In Estonia, the 37th Tartu Marathon , considered the most important of the ESTOLOPPET series of races, took place February 18, 2007. It was won by Jerry Ahrlin of Sweden. The best Estonian skier was Olympic champion Andrus Veerpalu who finished 7th.
This year 22 skiers came from Estonia to compete in the NCC Keskinada Loppet. As well, many Canadians with Estonian backgrounds participated.
Raivo Pärnpuu from the fatherland placed second in the 53k Classic Style Saloman. Len Väljas, of Toronto (whose grandparents came from Hiiumaa) placed first in the 16 kilometer classic style. Karl Saidla (with mandri roots) of Ottawa placed 4th in the 53k skate style.
On Monday, February 19, 2007, locals and visitors from Estonia got together for an informal wrap up evening at the Ottawa RA Centre Fieldhouse Bar and Grill. Pictured enjoying themselves are some of the Loppet participants as well as members of the Ottawa Estonian Society.