If you haven’t heard of the Kangaroo Hoppet, it’s time you did. The Kangaroo Hoppet is Australia’s premier long distance (42 km) cross country ski race, and a member of the prestigious Worldloppet series of international cross country ski events. Kangaroo Hoppet is held annually at Victorian Alpine Resort, Falls Creek.
As much as the event can be affected by lower than average snow falls, this years’ epic falls presented problems of their own. Following the much publicized Blizzard of Oz events and high winds, the entire Hoppet course had to be rebuilt in less than a week by the Falls Creek Resort Management with assistance from Parks Victoria. The efforts of staff produced all time conditions, and the ‘icing on the cake’ was a hugely exciting race.
Half a boot separated American entrant and winner Mike Havlick and second placed Australian skier Phillip Bellingham after 42km. Third place went to the Swiss, Valerio Leccardi from Switzerland, and head coach of the Australian Cross country team.
In the women’s event, Australia came out on top with Barbara Jezersek taking 1st place, American Mary Rose second and Iris Pessey of France third.
In addition to the fantatsic efforts of the athletes, feedback was also glowing for the race organizers. Conditions for the 42km Hoppet, the 21km Australian Birkebeiner and the 7km Joey Hoppet were magnificent according to race director, Peter Cunningham:
”The weather was brilliant. blue skies, the snow temperature -4C one hour before the race, the snow didn’t chop up at all the entire race and the groomers provided nice straight classic grooves and in some spots, the course was two to three groomers wide in Sun Valley allowing skiers to spread out and pass one another safely.”
For more information regarding the Kangaroo Hoppet event visit http://www.hoppet.com.au/
Main image credit: mike@top shots, Falls Creek; Podium images credit: http://www.hoppet.com.au/