By Roman Hayter

The Don Allen Saskaloppet has returned after a one-year hiatus, with nine different races ranging from two, five, seven, twelve, twenty, thirty-five, fifty-five, and seventy-five kilometers.

“It’s a pretty long-standing event here in La Ronge; it’s our 39th anniversary for the Don Allen Saskaloppet. It’s a really great community event because we kind of have something for everyone, so we have distances as short as 2 kilometers all the way up to a two-day Kupesewin overnight 75 kilometer distance too,” said Nichole Robinson, organizer of the event.  “We have all different kinds of ages; we have toddlers skiing the 2 kilometer and a local who’s in their 90s registered for the 7 kilometer, so yeah, there really is a kind of an event for everyone and a distance for everyone.”

Robinson said the event was created by a La Ronge local nearly forty years ago. “It started close to forty years ago by a local named Don Allen, and he spearheaded a lot of the trail building in La Ronge, and the first year that he did it, it was just a few of his friends going out and doing a 50-km loppet, and then tragically, Don Allen passed away before that second year of the loppet,” Robinson explained.

Robinson said that COVID-19 had really affected the number of people coming to the event in the last couple of years. “COVID definitely impacted our numbers over the last couple of years; we had to cancel it in 2021; last year we saw about 150 people register, and this year we have almost doubled that already, so we’re very excited about those numbers; that’s kind of getting back to those pre-COVID numbers we’re used to seeing, so right now we’re sitting close to 300 people that have registered from all ages across the board,” said Robinson.

This year’s Saskaloppet will be held on Friday and Saturday. Attendees who finish their skiing on Saturday will also be served free chili and bannock at the La Ronge Legion Hall.

(Photo of the Don Allen Saskloppet. Courtesy of Facebook.)