Whether you are an avid cross-country skier or just looking for a taste of Nordic culture, you will want to come to Thunder Bay and be part of this popular mass participation ski festival. Each year the Loppet attracts nearly 1000 skiers and this year will be no different. Expect to ski alongside people from Manitoba, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ontario and of course communities across Northwestern Ontario.
Distances for All – 8K to 50K
The Sleeping Giant Loppet offers multiple events of different distances for skiers of all levels and abilities. The network of trails groomed and maintained by the Thunder Bay Nordic Trails Association are sure to provide a great experience for ski-loving families and ambitious ski athletes alike.
The 8km Mini-Loppet offers a shorter route and is perfect for families with children and beginners; however, if you're ready to increase your distance or work on your skills and speed, then the rolling 20km Marie Louise Lake loop is for you. There is also the popular 35km Tour, a relaxed event that takes in the scenic vistas and killer climbs of the storied Burma Trail.
The ultimate challenge at this year’s Sleeping Giant Loppet are the Loppet's flagship events, the 50K Classic and the 50K Free Skate distance. The 50K Free is perfect for elite skiers contending for one of the Loppet’s generous prize packages or citizen racers looking to achieve a personal best time. The first place winners of the 50km Free will receive $1000, $500 for the runner-up and $250 for third!
Bus Service to Sleeping Giant
A Park and Ride Bus service is offered to the start and finish for the Sleeping Giant Loppet at the Marie Louise Lake campground, located on the Sibley Peninsula about a 30-45-minute drive east of Thunder Bay. Bus service will be available from the Nor’wester Best Western Hotel and Confederation College campus. Take advantage of free parking at the pickup points. Skiers are also welcome to drive to the race site (carpooling is encouraged).
A Nordic Festive Weekend
The Loppet, known for many years as the Sibley Ski Tour, provides a full weekend of activities to take in the great Northwest Ontario outdoors and enjoy Thunder Bay’s Nordic culture. The main ski event is Saturday March 5 but come a few days early or stay later and other great skiing opportunities at Kamview Nordic Centre, the trails at Kakabeka Falls or the Lappe Nordic Centre. You will find there is an opportunity to immerse yourself in Thunder Bay's rooted connection to Finnish culture by experiencing the Bay & Algoma Neighbourhood including a stop at the Hoito for their famous Finnish pancakes.
How to Register
You can register online for the 2019 Loppet. In addition, a special incentive for skiers includes a draw for a one-year lease for a Nissan ROGUE, courtesy of Half-Way Motors Nissan!
The Best Western Plus Nor'Wester Hotel and Conference Centre is a perfect place to stay not only for bus pickup but also if you want to get in an extra day of skiing at the Kamview Nordic Centre. Kamview is less than a 10-minute drive away.
The Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel and the Haven Hostel are places you in the heart of the Waterfront District with easy access to the new waterfront development at Prince Arthur's Landing. Be sure to bring your skates along with your skis and check out the new outdoor artificial ice rink next to the new Water Pavilion.
The a number of the host hotels also have Ski and Stay Packages available this season. Reduced room rates and ski passes for local ski areas (cross-country or downhill).
Check out Visit Thunder Bay for more hotel, restaurant, event, and tourist attraction options for your visit to Thunder Bay for the Sleeping Giant Loppet!