Falls Creek – Hoppet Ready
As primarily a downhill and alpine touring enthusiast, an argument has been put forward that extending my quiver to include cross country kit is the next natural evolution of my snow sport journey.
To this effect I have accepted the challenge of FCRM’s very own Ben Derrick (4 time winner of the event) and agreed to participate in the Hoppet weekend by entering the 21km Birkebeiner by the end of my term in the role. So training has begun! It may take some time to condition people into the prospect of seeing me in lycra, but I have accepted the challenge none the less…
This year the Kangaroo Hoppet celebrates a significant milestone - the 25th edition of the event. An outstanding achievement and firmly reinforcing Falls Creek’s status as the premier cross country mountain in Australia, and further evidenced by being home to the National Cross Country team.
An exciting development and one that makes this years’ event even more significant is that post the World Loppet AGM in France in June, the decision has been made to integrate the system of FIS-Points to Worldloppet events. What this means is that for any athlete with a valid FIS-code, they are eligible to collect FIS-Points at all Worldloppet competitions, with points going towards eligibility for competitions like World Cup, World Championships or Olympic Games.
Falls Creeks very own Kangaroo Hoppet, is one of the 20 Worldloppet races held around the world, which attract over 130,000 competitors annually. This year at Falls Creek there will be 24 countries represented on the starting line. We anticipate having over 1000 athletes competing across all the events.
The premier event, the 42km Kangaroo Hoppet race is the big one. The question on the tips of every ones skinny skis is, will the winner be domestic or international? There have been three previous Australian winners (Paul Gray, Ben Derrick and Ben Sim) and the expectations are high this year given its 25th anniversary status.
With the prospect of entering the marathon version being too exhausting for some to contemplate, the event also hosts the 21km Australian Birkebeiner and the 7km Joey Hoppet. Whilst the distances may be shorter, the competition is no less intense, with bragging rights and podium status still up for grabs.
Great events don’t just happen. They require exhaustive preparations, many months of planning and the assistance and contribution of sponsors, volunteers and organising committees. On behalf of the Falls Creek community and surrounding areas, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the hard work of those associated with the event. Whatsmore, the Hoppet provides a significant boost to the local economy, with circa $1m being pumped into the local businesses on this one weekend alone.
The week leading up to the main events contains many great activities. The Village Bowl Night Sprint series is one not to miss on Thursday 20th of August, starting at 7pm. For more information on all activities and to view the event sponsors visit www.hoppet.com.au.
Finally, a big congrats to the XC grooming team who have received significant praise from Parks Victoria for their great work and collaboration on the trails in the National Park.
Now, On your marks, get ready….GO!
Pic: The Hoppet brings out all types to compete with the best. Chris Hocking 2014