Father Mouchet started the Territorial Experimental Ski Training program that helped grow the sport of cross-country skiing across the North. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)

Father Mouchet Memorial Loppet brings Old Crow community together

‘We get more and more folks coming out and the community gets a little bit more involved’

The community of Old Crow hosted the fifth annual Father Mouchet Memorial Loppet over the Easter weekend and the event continues to grow.

Olympian Knute Johnsgaard was back in Old Crow for the event and he said the loppet seems to get better every year.

“It was really amazing,” said Johnsgaard. “Every year it just gets better and better. We get more and more folks coming out and the community gets a little bit more involved.”

This year, Johnsgaard said around 50 participants took part in the racing and many more came out to enjoy the event.

“With a community of this size, it’s pretty significant. There were just as many people who weren’t racing there hanging out at the ski lodge and just taking in the fun atmosphere of the event. It was a really special commemorative event to honour Father [Jean-Marie] Mouchet.”

Father Mouchet holds a special place in the histories of both the ski community and Old Crow.

“Father Mouchet was a very important figure in my life when I started skiing,” said Johnsgaard. “I’m just so honoured to be able to come up here.”

Founder of the Territorial Experimental Ski Training program, Mouchet is a big part of the reason so many in the Yukon enjoy cross-country skiing today, Johnsgaard explained.

“It was really him who started skiing in Old Crow and the Yukon. This is where it all started and began,” said Johnsgaard. “For me, my skiing career really started with him on the shores of Teslin Lake at the TEST camp.”

The first loppet was held in 2014, the same winter Father Mouchet died at age 96.

“It’s super special to be able to hold this event in a community where this special figure means so much and everyone really appreciates it. It’s a really special event for me to come back to honour him,” said Johnsgaard.

Perhaps most exciting for the younger skiers was seeing Johnsgaard again — now an Olympic athlete.

“A lot of the kids seemed particularly enthusiastic this year. Maybe part of it was the excitement around the Olympics,” said Johnsgaard. “I’ve been coming up here for five years in a row now, so I really got to know them and they got to know me. It’s pretty exciting for me and for them to ski together again this year.”

In addition to the two-kilometre, four-kilometre and eight-kilometre races, this year’s event also included an Easter egg hunt courtesy of Wykes’ grocery store, custom glass medals from Lumel Studios and ski equipment from Icycle Sports.

“The whole ski chalet there is really well equipped with equipment,” said Johnsgaard. “We had equipment for everyone.”

Johnsgaard said the loppet is a special event to come back to each year.

“We went for a beautiful ski yesterday morning on a clear, crisp day on Crow Mountain right where we spread his ashes five years ago,” said Johnsgaard. “It’s a fly-in community so they don’t always have the privileges and the events that we take for granted in a city like Whitehorse. [The loppet] has definitely been a really huge part of this community and everyone does an amazing job of helping out.”

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

cross country skiingOld Crow

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kwanlin Dün First Nation chief Doris Bill holds up a signed copy of the KDFN <em>Lands Act</em> agreement during an announcement at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre in Whitehorse on Oct. 20. Under the new act, called Nan kay sháwthän Däk’anúta ch’e (We all look after our land) in Southern Tutchone, KDFN will be able to allot citizens land to build their own houses on, for example, or to use for traditional activities. The First Nation will also be able to enforce laws around things like land access and littering. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s Lands Act comes into force

The act gives the First Nation the authority to manage, protect and enforce laws on its settlement lands

Two doctors in Watson Lake say they are at risk of losing their housing due to a Yukon Housing Corporation policy that only allows one pet per family. (Wikimedia Commons)
Healthcare workers in Watson Lake say housing pet policy could force them to leave

The Yukon Housing Corporation has threatened evictions for having more than one pet

The Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services building in Whitehorse on March 28, 2019. Three people who sat on Many Rivers’ board immediately before it closed for good say they were relieved to hear that the Yukon RCMP has undertaken a forensic audit into the now-defunct NGO’s financial affairs. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Former Many Rivers board members relieved to hear about forensic audit, wonder what took so long

Three people who sat on Many Rivers’ board immediately before it closed… Continue reading

Whitehorse General Hospital in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. The Yukon Employees’ Union and Yukon Hospital Corporation are at odds over whether there’s a critical staffing shortage at the territory’s hospitals. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
YEU, Yukon Hospital Corp. at odds over whether hospitals are understaffed

YEU says four nurses quit within 12 hours last week, a claim the YHC says is “inaccurate”

Two former Whitehorse Correctional Centre inmates, Ray Hartling and Mark Lange, have filed a class action against the jail, corrections officials and Yukon government on behalf of everyone who’s been placed in two restrictive units over the past six years. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Class action filed against Whitehorse Correctional Centre over use of segregation

Two former Whitehorse Correctional Centre inmates have filed a class action against… Continue reading

Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee, right, before question period at the Yukon legislative assembly in Whitehorse on March 7, 2019. The Yukon government announced Oct. 19 it has increased the honoraria rates for school council members. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Honoraria increased for school council members

Members of school councils throughout the territory could soon receive an increased… Continue reading

Triple J’s Canna Space in Whitehorse on April 17, 2019, opens their first container of product. Two years after Canada legalized the sale of cannabis, Yukon leads the country in per capita legal sales. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon leads Canadian cannabis sales two years after legalization

Private retailers still asking for changes that would allow online sales

A sign greets guests near the entrance of the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse on June 11. The city announced Oct. 16 it was moving into the next part of its phased reopening plan with spectator seating areas open at a reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
CGC reopening continues

Limited spectator seating now available

During Whitehorse city council’s Oct. 19 meeting, planning manager Mélodie Simard brought forward a recommendation that a proposed Official Community Plan amendment move forward that would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend, currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
More development in Whistle Bend contemplated

OCP change would be the first of several steps to develop future area

asdf
EDITORIAL: Don’t let the City of Whitehorse distract you

A little over two weeks after Whitehorse city council voted to give… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Northwestel has released the proposed prices for its unlimited plans. Unlimited internet in Whitehorse and Carcross could cost users between $160.95 and $249.95 per month depending on their choice of package. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet options outlined

Will require CRTC approval before Northwestel makes them available

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse. Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting instead of 30 days to make up for lost time caused by COVID-19 in the spring. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Legislative assembly sitting extended

Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting. The extension… Continue reading

Most Read