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Preparing for the Top of the World

Dez Loreen
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, April 03, 2008

INUVIK - Inuvik will be flooded with skiers this weekend for the annual Top of the World meet.

Organizer Brian Terry said this year's event will be a different pace, because it is also the territorial championships.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Brian Terry, with his son Luke and fellow skier Grant Sullivan during last year's Top of the World Skip loppet. This year, the event is celebrating its 40th anniversary. The event takes place on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the ski club. - NNSL file photo

"In past years, the meet has been more of a casual event," said Terry.

"This year, we'll have a few competitive skiers out as well."

With the influx of competing racers, the name of the event has also been changed from a loppet to a ski race.

Terry said there will be divisions made for the participants in the event, separating ages and skill levels.

"We will be giving out medals for the top skiers in each division," he said.

The competitiveness should not deter any casual skiers who want to participate though.

Terry said that the event will be structured to cater to all levels of skill.

"We will have a staggered start, where the faster ones will be in the front of the pack, with the slower skiers and children in the back," he said.

Keeping the traffic moving is another of the challenges.

"We want them to leave in two-minute intervals," said Terry.

"We're trying to configure this so we don't get pile ups or backed-up traffic."

Terry said there are narrow parts of the trail, like the culvert under the Marine Bypass road.

The skiers who want a challenge will not have to look much father than this weekend, because the longest race of the meet is 12-kilometres.

The shortest distance is half a kilometre for the youngest cross-country ski athletes.

Terry said he hopes to get a lot of people out, and is expecting a group of nearly 50 people.

Registering for the event is easy, it can be done through the website of the club.

Terry said registration was closed for a bit through the website, but should be up and running this week.

He also said some of the information on the site may be dated.

"The race notice on the site could be an older version," he said. "The race distances have increased and the cut-off dates have been extended as well."

Athletes are expected to be coming from Hay River and Fort Good Hope.

The weekend will wrap up with an awards banquet on Sunday night at the recreation complex.

Inuvik veteran skier and ambassador for the North Sharon Firth will be a guest speaker at the event.

"She is one of the prominent skiers from Inuvik," said Terry.

"She will be there to talk about the history of skiing in Inuvik."

Terry added that a clinic will be held on Saturday, as well as Sunday, for new skiers who are registered.

For those who want photos of the event, Terry said it shouldn't be a problem to have people walking on the sides of the trails, but he asks for co-operation and respect on the ski trail system.

"If you plan on being down there, please watch for others and don't disrupt the trails," he said.

He also extended an invitation to people who used to be involved in the ski program through the residential schools to come for the banquet.