It’s been three years since the 50th anniversary of the Top of the World Loppet, but a rejuvenated Inuvik Ski Club is ready to go April 10.

A map of the Inuvik Ski Club trails. The Top of the World Loppet will use these to form 15, 10, five, three-and-a-half and half-kilometre long courses. Photo courtesy Inuvik Ski Club.

This year the loppet is boasting six events. Keeping Covid-19 safe, the loppet will kick off with the 15 and 10 kilometre runs at 11 a.m., followed by the five kilometre and three-and-a-half kilometre runs which will start between 11:45 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. For the kids and novices, the half-kilometre run will be accessible from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

A relay race for teams of three within their Covid-19 bubble to split the course begins at 3:15. Each member covers a half-kilometre and best team costume wins a prize.

Relay-racers won’t tag off — one skier will cross the transition line and the next one will take off. There is no limit on how long it takes a skier to complete a course, just the timeframe in which skiers can begin each circuit.

Noting the club was trying to avoid having large groups of people on the start line at once, Loppet organizer Tess Forbes said the stacked starting times kept the event Covid-19 friendly.

It also frees up skiers to just focus on having fun.

“This race is as competitive as you want it to be,” she said. “We don’t want anyone to feel excluded.”

Prizes ready and volunteers needed

Equipment will be available for rent from the chalet and the course is free to attended. Skiers can register for the Top of the World Loppet upon arrival. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there won’t be any food provided this year.

Anyone unable to ski but still interested in getting involved is welcome to volunteer. Forbes said the club needed help out with registration, to maintain the chalet, and to collect and sanitizing bibs. The club also needs someone to cheer the skiers on as they make their way through the course.

“The more people that want to come down and help — even for one or two hours — the better,” said Forbes. “The more we’re prepared, the easier it is.”

Forbes added the club had 16 prizes to hand out, but was still deciding how to award them. The prizes will focus on best times through the course and other feats of skill.

Inuvik last held a Top of the World Loppet in 2018, when the club hosted the 50th anniversary of the classic. Both the club and the loppet ceased operations after that for a host of reasons, but recent enthusiasm has brought it back.

Eric Bowling

Covering all things related to the Beaufort Delta, Eric Bowling is your editor for the Inuvik Drum. He came north after cutting his teeth in Alberta. Eric enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee.

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