Birkies, Hoppet 2020 starts today

Hoppet 2020 – Do It Your Way

Birkies, support the 2020 virtual Hoppet by entering for only $10.00.
Click Hoppet 2020 – Do It Your Way to enter.

The Hoppet has been the main financial supporter of the Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club since the first event in 1991. In return, the club, the community and other supporters have provided the workforce needed to conduct this international skiing event. Here is your chance to be a participant instead of a volunteer. Club members are encouraged to support this year’s event and help make it the biggest event ever.

Entrants have from Monday 10th to Sunday 23rd August to complete their chosen distance in the activity of their choice at a venue of their choice, i.e. ski, run, jog, walk, cycle, swim, roller ski, rollerblade, rollerskate or canoe/kayak (or any combination). For those under stage 4 restrictions, your event can be completed over several days.

More detailsClick [HERE].

2020 AUSXC Awards

Snow Australia Cross Country Committee is proud to announce the winners of the 2020 AUSXC Awards. These awards celebrate and recognise the achievements and efforts of Australian skiers, coaches and volunteers over the 2019 Australian winter and the 2019-2020 northern hemisphere winter. Because of COVID-19, the 2020 awards were announced via Instagram in the last week of July.

Ewen Silvester VIC Volunteer of the Year – congratulations!

The full list of 2020 AUSXC Award winners is as follows:

  • Cross Country Skier of the Year: Jessica Yeaton
  • Coach of the Year: Callum Watson
  • U23 Skier of the Year: Seve de Campo
  • Junior Cross Country Skier of the Year: Bentley Walker-Broose
  • Rising Star (must be U18 in 2018): Zana Evans
  • Development Coach of the Year: Robert Catto-Smith
  • Youth Achievers (must be U16 in 2018): Heli Laajoki & Jayden Spring (Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club junior member. Congratulations Jayden)
  • Masters XC Skier of the Year: Jane Scheer
  • NSW Volunteer of the Year: Arnold D’Bras
  • ACT Volunteer of the Year: Geraldine Blanch
  • VIC Volunteer of the Year: Ewen Silvester
  • Special Achievement: Jessica Yeaton

Further details and images of all award winners can be viewed on the AUSXC Instagram account.

Looking Back – Hoppet Beginnings

From Allan Marsland re celebrity entrants for this year’s Hoppet

Our latest Hoppet 2020 celebrity entrant has been involved with the event since 1990, not a bad effort since the first Hoppet was held in 1991.

Bib number 6 goes to Tom Duffy from Hayward Wisconsin (USA), home of the American Birkebeiner, where Tom is still a member of the Board after more than 40 years involvement with the event. Tom has been involved with the Worldloppet ski federation since its inception in Uppsala (SWE) in 1978. Tom and his wife Carol have completed some 45 Worldloppet events between them with Carol holding Worldloppet Master medal #1 and Tom medal #3.

Tom’s involvement with the Kangaroo Hoppet began at a Worldloppet meeting in Hämeenlinna (Finland) in June 1990 when the Australian International Ski Marathon was a candidate for membership of the international series. The meeting appointed Tom Duffy (USA), along with Robert Steiner (AUT) and Rolf Kjaernsli (NOR) to visit the 1990 event and decide if it was good enough to become the eleventh member of Worldoppet. They gave the OK for the event to join, but recommended that the name be changed as Worldloppet already had two Birkebeiners (the original Birkebeiner in Norway and the American one) and a couple of international ski marathons (the Engadine in Switzerland and the Sapporo in Japan). After much discussion, allegedly involving some good North East Victorian red wine, the name Kangaroo Hoppet was created. Tom came back to Falls Creek for the first 1991 for the first Hoppet, bringing a number of his friends from Hayward to swell the international field, and visited again in 1992.

Tom Duffy at the inspection of the 1990 Australian International Ski Marathon.  l-r Rolf Kjaernsli (NOR), Robert Steiner (AUT), and Tom Duffy (USA)

Development of Skating

For decades, the skating techniques lay forgotten or ignored by racers, but in the 1970s they were reintroduced by Pauli Siitonen (FIN), whose contribution to popular racing (citizen/tour racing) and to cross country skiing, in general, cannot be overestimated. He popularized the Sitonen Step (later to be called the Marathon Skate). In the 1980s Bill Koch (USA) introduced it to the World Cup and in 1982 won the overall World Cup using primary skating techniques.

Read all about these two skiing innovators. Click [HERE].

Pauli Siitonen (FIN) demonstrating his skating technique (know as the Siitonen Step) later called the Marathon Skate.
Bill Koch (USA) credited with developing modern skating techniques.

Also, read this article taken from the International Skiing History website on ‘How Skating Started‘ written by Bengt Erik Bengtsson. Click [HERE]. Read about Australia’s part in the decisions made at the captains meeting prior to the 1985 World Championships in Saalfeld Austria.

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