The Kangaroo Hoppet in Australia will be held this weekend
The Kangaroo Hoppet (42km skating technique) will be happening for the 24th time in Falls Creek, Victoria on August 23. The Hoppet OC has received over 1000 entries from 24 countries for this year's event.
Normally, the Kangaroo Hoppet marks the kick off of the new skiing season, however, this year, with the the Ushuaia Loppet in Argentina and the Merino Muster in New Zealand having joined Worldloppet after the Annual General Meeting in June, the Southern Hemisphere season has already started two weeks earlier with the Ushuaia Loppet, followed by the Merino Muster the weekend after.
A long spell of sunny weather offered wonderful skiing possibilities for all locals, however as there are also no new snow falls announced for this week, the OC might be facing some problems with areas only lightly covered with snow. The organising committee might therefore be forced to shorten the course if necessary or take other action.
The Hoppet figures also as the final race of the Australia New Zealand Continental Cup. With Swiss Valerio Leccardi and Australian Phil Bellingham tied in top places in the men’s rankings, and Australians Jessica Yeaton and Esther Bottomley equal first women, this year’s Hoppet results will decide who wins the Cup and therefore a start place in the World Cup's first period.
The weather for the competition day is announced to be sunny with a slight breeze and with temperatures up to +4 degrees during the day and -4 degrees during the night.
Athletes on the start
Skiers to watch out for from overseas include 2011 Hoppet winner Valerio Leccardi from Switzerland who finished just seconds behind the winner in this year’s Engadin Skimarathon, Barbara Jezersek from Slovenia, American Lauren Fritz and Valentina Shevchenko who carried the flag for Ukraine at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Leading the challenge from Australia will be Phil Bellingham and Paul Kovacs together with Esther Bottomley, Aimee Watson and Jessica Yeaton.
A special mention goes to Hannes Larsson, a multiple Worldloppet master, who will be competing in his third ski marathon in three weeks. While this is a commonplace achievement in Europe, to do it in the Southern Hemisphere is a bit more of a challenge. Hannes started less than three weeks ago with the Ushuaia Loppet in Argentina, followed up a week later in New Zealand at the Merino Muster. He is now at Falls Creek preparing for the Kangaroo Hoppet.