With the Covid-19 restrictions on social gatherings, not to mention domestic and international travel bans, the 42km Kangaroo Hoppet, the largest annual snowsports event in the southern hemisphere, will not be staged in August this year on its usual course at Falls Creek in Victoria’s snow covered Alpine National Park.
Instead organisers are offering a virtual event – ‘Hoppet 2020 – Do It Your Way’. Participants sign up, (for the princely sum of AUD$10 - about 6 Euro at the current rate) and commit to carrying out some form of physical activity over a 42km, 21km or 7km route, on or off snow, wherever you like, some time in August, creating a unique opportunity for northern hemisphere skiers to turn their summer training activities into a virtual trip to Australia for the Kangaroo Hoppet.
In return you get a race bib pdf in your email, a souvenir bandana in the snail mail, and a listing in the participant list on their website at www.hoppet.com.au and afterwards you can download and print out your race diploma.
Organisers have saved the bibs numbered 1 to 10 for people who have special links to the event and will be profiling them over the next three weeks on the Kangaroo Hoppet Facebook page. The first featured participant with bib #10 was Betsy Youngman, who was first woman in the inaugural Hoppet in 1991 and who will be doing her 42km Kangaroo Hoppet 2020 on roller skis in Sun Valley, Idaho.
The second celebrity entrant for the virtual event is Anders Aukland. Celebrity status doesn’t get much bigger than Anders - the undisputed King of Norwegian Marathon Skiing and it started for Anders in 1993 in Australia where he won the 3rd staging of the Kangaroo Hoppet. For those that can remember, it was the first time we were on the high course around Mt McKay and it was tough! Not too tough for Anders who beat a highly credentialed field including Andre Jungen (SUI, Hoppet winner in 1995), Ales Vanek (CZE, Hoppet winner in 1998) and future World and Olympic Champion Odd-Bjorn Hjelmeset (NOR). Top Aussie was the young but indomitable Anthony Evans who was beaten in a sprint for the podium third place by Vanek.
So what did Anders achieve after winning the Hoppet? Well, it’s been so much that we just have to generalise. Anders has won all the big marathons in the world including the Vasaloppet, Birkebeiner Rennet, Marcialonga, won Olympic and World Championship gold medals, won a stack of World Cups, founded a successful marathon team and has just generally been a great down to earth approachable bloke. An inspiration to many, even down here in the southern hemisphere!
Anders continues to impress. At age 47 he is still competitive in elite marathon skiing placing 8th in the 2020 Vasaloppet, 7th in the Jezerska and 5th in the 2019 Marcialonga. Unbelievable.
We welcome Anders to our event in 2020 and look forward to seeing his name in the participants list.
Please register at www.hoppet.com.au to join Anders in our 2020 Hoppet – Do It Your Way