Gatineau’s ENGNE organizing committee will host the first stop of Canada’s Eastern Canada Cup cross-country (XC) ski race series, this weekend, Dec. 10,11, at the Nakkertok Nordic Centre. The event is made possible thanks to our artificial snow loop, the Nakkertrak and presenting sponsors Tourisme Outaouais and Ville de Gatineau.
Over 580 racers are registered from 60 clubs across Eastern Canada and beyond, including the U.S.A. and National Training Centre athletes from Thunder Bay and Quebec City (CNEPH). Local favourites include Cantley’s Bronwyn Williams of Nakkertok and Chelsea’s Tory Audet on the women’s side with Quebec City’s Emmanuelle Simard and Élie-Anne Tremblay expected to provide stiff competition.
On the men’s side National (Next Gen) Team skier Leo Grandbois of Orford will be challenging last year’s double gold winner, Julian Smith from the Thunder Bay Training Centre. Local Nakkertok athlete, from Chelsea, Mats Halvorsen, should be in contention for a podium position.
Up for grabs is over $8,000 worth of prize money including $4,000 contributed for the overall winners by former Canadian National Team coach Marty Hall and his wife Kathy, a “Hall Mark of Excellence Award”.
For university competitors, these races serve as a qualification event for the Canadian Team going to the World University Games to be held in Lake Placid, U.S.A., Jan. 12 to 22.
Jacques Dumont, the head of the organizing committee said, “The volunteers are ready and thanks to our Nakkertrak artificial snow loop so are the trails. We are all set to launch another great racing season in the region.”
Racing starts with sprint action Saturday at 8:30 AM at the Nakkertok (South) Ski Centre, 900 Ave. Gatineau in Gatineau. The Sprint Finals for the older categories will take place around 11:30. Racing starts back up on Sunday at 9am.
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