Last year, Inuvik’s Top of the World Loppet celebrated its 50th anniversary. This year, it’s not happening at all.
In November, ski club representative Holly Jones told Cabin Radio the club hadn’t been open all season due to a lack of volunteers.
That issue persisted, meaning the historic loppet won’t go ahead this year.
Jones doesn’t think that news will come as a surprise to the community.
“Everyone is aware the ski club wasn’t operating this year,” she said this week.
“But definitely the bigger loss for all of the skiers I know has been the loss of programs.”
Jones, the program coordinator back when the club was fully functional, said there have been no lessons all year.
The trails were only groomed for the first time since November when four-time Olympic skier Sharon Firth and her former coach Anders Lenes recently toured Beaufort Delta communities and hosted workshops.
“It was good to see kids out and skiing,” said Jones. “It was a minor victory that people were able to get out at all.”
She said that even if the loppet had been organized, the warm weather would have called its feasibility into question.
“We had a huge thawing period that got rid of tons of snow and made the trails not hospitable,” Jones explained.
She’s hopeful things will start to come together over the summer in time for the next ski season, so a 51st loppet can be held in 2020.
“Something I’ve been thinking about is how to support budding athletes who want opportunities to compete, to follow in Sharon and Shirley Firth’s footsteps, to build great programs and get skilled coaches at a club that doesn’t have great resources [compared to some clubs in the south],” she said.
One idea is to open the club up to mountain biking in the summer, and snowshoeing and fat biking in the winter.
Additional sports would mean being able to pool resources with other sport organizations to support the club.