The Sovereign 2 SilverStar Ski Marathon (S2S) was excited to join the Ski Classics Challengers series last season by adding a significant long-distance event in Western Canada. Due to the long travel distances and being the second biggest country in the world (25 times the size of Norway), marathon ski races in Canada mainly attract local racers. Currently, limited events in Canada attract international skiers. The S2S is thrilled to invite local, national, and international skiers to end their ski season with fantastic late-season snow on April 1st and 2nd, 2023.
Located in Vernon, BC, the S2S starts in a World Cup Stadium at Sovereign Lake and finishes in the main street of SilverStar village after 800 meters of climbing along the course.
You can read more about the Ski Classics Challengers event here.
ProXCskiing.com talked with the Event Director for the Sovereign 2 SilverStar Ski Marathon about long-distance skiing in Canada and how they want to develop their events further.
Regional Loppets and Long Distances
“Due to the size of the country and the large wilderness areas between population centers, most trail systems are locally based. There are many excellent local events across the country, with the biggest concentrations of trail systems and events being in the Ontario/Quebec and BC/Alberta regions.”
There is no dedicated series in Canada for long-distance skiing, and it is typically older skiers that focus on training for the longer events. Nonetheless, the level in some bigger events is high. At the S2S in 2022, over a dozen Olympic athletes did the event and promised to come back due to the event’s excitement.
The largest long-distance events in Canada are the Gatineau Loppet and the Canadian Ski Marathon.
“The Gatineau Loppet is the largest loppet in Canada and is an event where about one of every five racers come from abroad and has regularly attracted some high-performance skiers. It is a two-day event with multiple distances each day. The Canadian Ski Marathon has been around for many years but focuses more on participation and completion rather than the first across the finish line. Ultimately skiers can carry their packs and stay out on the trails overnight between the two days. Both events are located in Eastern Canada, which is why we at the S2S are so excited to be offering such a great venue in Western Canada to complement the other offerings in Canada.”
“The Sovereign 2 SilverStar Ski Marathon is a new event planning to be a long-term anchor for long-distance skiing in Western Canada. It is also planned as an end-of-season event due to the excellent late-season snow. In 2022 skiing was still possible into June.”
For more information about some of Canada’s trail systems, see the Nordic Pulse Website.
Desire to Expand
Long-distance races in Canada are mostly volunteer organized by clubs and often supported by their communities.
“The main reason is that we have so few large events because of the size of Canada and its population density. Europe has many events that attract many thousands of people. Here in North America, there is only one (the American Birkie) that attracts those types of numbers. There is the Gatineau Loppet in Canada, and we are looking to build into a similar size for Western Canada (attracting people from Europe and the rest of North America).”
Sovereign 2 SilverStar Challengers Event
“The Sovereign 2 SilverStar Ski Marathon is a two-day (classic and skate) point-to-point event with two distances each day (21 and 40km). The trail system offers some of the earliest and latest snow conditions in Canada, despite being just above the Okanagan Valley, which is a major fruit growing region and world-renowned for its wine.”
“The Sovereign 2 SilverStar Ski Marathon has been created to provide an event in Western Canada that can provide an opportunity for skiers to end their season with a great “Point to Party” event. The snow is still fantastic at that time of the year, and the finishing venue in the alpine ski village of SilverStar gives a great vibe to the event.”
“Last year’s event had many first-time participants who were out there with a “Finishing is Winning” attitude as well as over a dozen Olympic athletes to provide some hard-core racing at the front end.”
In early April, the skiers can enjoy the best of both worlds in Vernon, BC. Nordic and alpine skiing is still very active on the mountain, while down in the valley, it is possible to enjoy summer sports and warmer temperatures already. The event hopes to attract many participants from around the world so they too can finish their ski season in Vernon and enjoy all the great activities that are available in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, and the rest of Canada.
The skiing remains excellent at that time of the year, and the valley floor is opening up for summer sports. The organizers hope skiers will come to the event and then “Stay and Play”!
Registration for 2023 Sovereign 2 SilverStar is open, and you can enjoy special registration prices for a limited time here.
- April 1, 2023 Free technique 21km & 40km
- April 2, 2023 Classic technique 21km & 40km
Photo: Ken Wood/Sovereign 2 SilverStar Ski Marathon