Gatineau Loppet announces 40th anniversary events

The Gatineau Loppet has announced its 40th anniversary festivities ahead of its annual ski race in February.

This year's event will include 40 km fat bike race for the first time

Gatineau Loppet vice-president Jean-François Rochefort said they want to make the event feel more like a festival than a race for the 40th anniversary. (Radio-Canada)

The Gatineau Loppet has announced the events it's planning to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the ski race.

The Loppet will take place Feb. 16 to 18 in Gatineau Park and will include four races: classic skiing, freestyle skiing, snowshoe and — new this year — a 40 km fat bike race.

Jean-François Rochefort, vice-president of the Gatineau Loppet, said including new activities is a way to market the event to a wider audience.

"We definitely try every year to be creative and come up with new concepts, things that make it more of a festival than a race event," he said.

'Trail network is amazing'

Visitors can also expect several Canadian cultural experiences, including maple taffy on snow, traditional music and some of the region's local beers.

Catherine Verreault, the National Capital Commission's senior manager of land and natural resources, said the Loppet is a great way to show off Gatineau Park to visitors from other parts of Canada and around the world.

Skiers line up at the starting line during a Loppet race in 2016. (Robyn Miller/CBC)

"The trail network is amazing; we have more than 250 kilometres," she said. "It is really an opportunity to partner with the Gatineau Loppet and host skiers from all over the world."

Organizers are expecting the international ski race to attract local skiers and visitors from roughly 20 countries.

Racers can register up until Feb. 14, but there is a discount for those who register before this coming Sunday.