Much more than a cross-country ski race!
The Gatineau Loppet cross-country ski race first came onto the scene in 1979 under the name of the «Rivière-Rouge» («Red River»). It took place in Quebec’s Lachute region approximately one hundred kilometres north-east from the Gatineau Park. The race consisted of two events, a 55 km and a 35 km race. This established the Rivière-Rouge as Canada’s largest cross-country ski event.
Eventually, the equipment and support services became inadequate for the growing ski race. In 1983, the Rivière Rouge moved to the Gatineau Park in the northern part of Hull, Quebec. With this move, the race was also re-baptised the «Gatineau 55».
In 1989, the Gatineau 55 replaced its 35 km event with a 25 km freestyle race and a 25 km classic race. In 1996, the 3 events officially became the «Keskinada Loppet» – a name that deserves some explanation:
KE for Quebec
SKI for cross-country skiing
NADA for Canada
The word «Loppet» is of Scandinavian origin for «large gathering» and refers to the membership in the international Worldloppet family of races.
Since its 30th anniversary in 2008, the biggest cross-country ski celebration on Canadian soil gifted itself with a brand new name: the Gatineau Loppet!