Preparing to brave the elements in Labrador

Ty Dunham
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Menihek ski club to host a Canadian masters series event from March 23-29

An unusually cold winter won’t stop the hardened skier.

Kathie Bonner-Harris, Rhonda Lawrence and Irene Rice show devotion to their beloved sport, braving -50 wind chills to practice for the upcoming 2014 Canadian Masters Series cross country ski race and 39th annual Great Loppet hosted by the Menihek Nordic Ski Club in Labrador City.

Cross-country skiers from across the country are preparing to brave the Labrador elements at the 2014 Canadian Masters Series hosted by the Menihek Nordic Ski Club in Labrador City March 23-29.  

The prestigious event immediately follows the locally renowned 39th Great Labrador Loppet on Saturday, March 22 at 10 a.m.  

The Loppet offers three distances depending on the participant’s skill, including a 10, 28, and 50 kilometre stretch for the seriously devout.  

The Masters kicks off with a meet and greet at the Arts and Culture Centre on Sunday. The first race is a 28 kilometre classic style on Monday. Tuesday is a day off with a pasta supper.


The skiers are back on for Wednesday’s 10 kilometre classic race. Thursday is a 10 kilometre free technique race with a social event that evening.


Friday is a day off, giving everyone a chance to rest up for Saturday’s 20 kilometre free technique race followed by a banquet at the Smokey Mountain Ski Lodge.  

Menihek president Gerry Rideout expects a good crowd, but not quite as strong as other years.  

“We’d like to see 100 or so. We may make it, but we might not, it’s been awful cold. The weather has been an awful downer in people making their decisions. We’ll be happy if we get 60 or 70.”

The chill may keep the visitors at bay from the Masters, but Rideout expects the locals to face the elements at the Loppet just as they’ve always done.  

“We’ve had 40 below, winds gusting, snow storms, rain, mild temperatures. If you’re living in Labrador you’ve got to celebrate winter. If you sit on your sofa and watch the weather channel, you’ll freeze right on your chesterfield. It’s cold just watching it. You have to get out to do stuff.”

Organizations: Canadian Masters Series, Menihek Nordic Ski Club, Smokey Mountain Ski Lodge

Geographic location: Labrador, Great Labrador Loppet

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