New Courses for the Keskinada? An Interview with Claude Laramee
By: Sheila Kealey (2006/01/17)
The Keskinada Loppet is
The 28th annual Keski will take place from the 17th to the 19th of February 2006. This year's edition will feature a new course for some of the events.
I asked Claude Laramee, president of the Keskinada Loppet, a few questions about the event, including the new race course.
In 2005, the
Keskinada start area moved down the road to the Mont-Bleu stadium and secondary
school. How did this change affect the
skiers and organizers?
The new start area made it much easier from an organizational standpoint. With the start/finish at the same spot, it was easier and less expensive than our previous site. From the feedback I received, it created a better race atmosphere and was more popular with skiers.
This year there are
more course changes. Can you describe them briefly, and note the reasons for
The main course change involves a loop through the start/finish area at about 8.5 km. For the last 27 years of the Keski, spectators saw skiers as they left the stadium and then only again at the finish. We think the new format will increase visibility, attract more spectators, and hopefully more sponsors for the event.
We have also changed the finish so that skiers will loop around the baseball field. Again, this will increase visibility and be more exciting for spectators since skiers will be visible for about 300m before the finish.
The new format is definitely better for spectators. But there has been discussion and some concern among the ski community about the course for the premiere event, the 53km skate. The new course uses narrower trails in the earlier part of the race (trails 5 and notably 15) and doesn’t have several long uphills on the wide parkway to separate skiers like the previous course.
Do you foresee any
skier traffic congestion with the leaders running into slower skiers in the
later starting waves as they loop through the start area at 8.5 km?
The leaders will likely be looping through the start area in about 17 minutes, and we will be reducing the number of waves to minimize any overlap.
I think reducing the
number of waves will put more skiers out on the course at the same time and add
to the congestion. Can you reduce the time between waves, or have seeding lines
within the waves to make a more pleasant experience for skiers?
That is something we’ll consider. We’ll be watching Saturday’s events closely (the classic races use the same course) and adjust if necessary.
Trail 15 is quite
narrow to skate on and currently only groomed for the classic technique.
The NCC and Lafleur will be widening trail 15 so that it is similar to trail # 3 (
About 3,000 skiers
participate in the Keskinada events. While this seems large, the American Birkebeiner (
We definitely want to increase the number of skiers in the Keskinada. This will help meet our costs, increase visibility, and attract sponsors.
have long-term participation awards, and/or special bibs to designate the
number of years participating in the event. This seems to be extremely popular
and motivating for the skiers. Does the
Keskinada have plans for any type of long-term-participation awards or special
We have no plans for this at the moment. A lot of it comes down to money. We don’t have the major sponsors that the other Worldloppet events have, so our funding limits what we can do.
The Keski Sprints
haven't been well attended. Do you have any plans for a different location,
course, or format this year?
Yes. Instead of
The sprint course will be more interesting than the oval format used in previous years. We’ll do what we can without compromising the start/finish area for Saturday and Sunday’s events.
When will the
Keskinada be an official FIS
It costs $35,000 to be part of the FIS Marathon Cup. At this point we don’t have a major sponsor to pay for that.
After 6 years, you
will be ending your term as president of the Keskinada. What’s in the cards for
It’s been busy! So now it’s time to go out and ski so I can earn the title of “Worldloppet Master”! This year, I’ll be skiing the Konig Ludwig Lauf in
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
It’s been a funny year with the weather, but regardless the course is in good shape.
Lafleur does a great
job with the grooming. It’s incredible what they can transform into great ski
tracks . . . we’re lucky!
Yes, since Lafleur has been grooming the park there has been a notable improvement in ski conditions.
For more information about the Keskinada, visit
Follow these links to view the course maps:
53 km classic and freestyle:
29 km classic and freestyle:
16 km/ 10 km/ 5 km
The race is largely made possible by many volunteers . . . consider being an integral part of this major sporting event. For more information, see
Sheila during last year's Keskinada.