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FIELD BRIEF 

Consistent mid-season snowfalls and great trail preparation has the track for the 29th edition of the Kangaroo Hoppet in perfect condition. Further predicted Falls in the weeks leading into the event will enhance the course condition for the 1,000 anticipated skiers on the 24th of August. 

The 2019 Kangaroo Hoppet is shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested events for many years. A strong international contingent, supported by an experienced Australian team, will provide a great spectacle for all participants and spectators in the Falls Creek Nordic Bowl on Saturday 24 August.

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In the men’s field a trio of Swiss stars including; Olympian and four-time Hoppet champion Valerio Leccardi, marathon specialist Lauro Braendli and World Cup Sprint finalist Fabian Schaad will be looking for a team advantage on the start line. However, competing with the Swiss will also be a trio of Italian Olympic and World Championship athletes including Enrico Nizzi, world junior medallist Giacomo Gabrielli and Italian junior sprint champion, Francois Vierin.

A very strong domestic team will be alongside the internationals with the intent to retain the big prize in Australia. Four-time runner up, and local Falls Creek dual-Olympian, Phil Bellingham will be looking to finally get his name on the trophy after being so close for so many years. However, it might be the rising stars in Mark Pollock and Seve de Campo that can bring it home for the locals.

The women’s event will be equally closely contested with a great mix of local and international athletes showcasing the elite field. Canadian Erin Yungblut and Russian ArinaKalinina both looking great on paper to challenge a strong Australian contingent including Asian Games medallist and Pyeongchang Olympian Casey Wright. Casey is fresh from a four-year stint on the NCAA for Alaska University and will be looking for a big result down under. Perennial favourite, Aimee Watson, will be back for another crack and will draw on her strength if the conditions become tough. Both the women’s and men’s events will be a spectacle to delight everyone

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AGL are again supporting our up-and-coming Australian skiers with eight $500 scholarships in the 21km and 7km events that will support winners in age classes progressing through the XC athlete pathways.

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In 2019 the Hoppet will host a French film crew for the first time to produce a cultural experiential film on the Hoppet, and the many other attractions that will interest international travellers. This will be the ninth event of the Worldloppet that has been visited to produce a culturally unique summary of the event. Other episodes can be found here www.worldloppet.com/category/video/ski-planet/

Skiing with Kangaroos? Not quite, but close…..! Keep an eye on the Hoppet website after the event to see this exciting production! 

The Hoppet is the biggest snow-sports event in the southern hemisphere and with 7km, 21km and the premier 42km event, there is a wonderful experience for skiers of all ages and abilities. More information can be found at www.hoppet.com.au 

2018 KANGAROO HOPPET

PRESS RELEASE

25 August, 2018

 

LECCARDI & JEZERSEK WIN 2018 KANGAROO HOPPET

The 2018 Australian winter has been amazing and it was no exception for the 28th Kangaroo Hoppet at Falls Creek today. Over 1,000 skiers from 24 countries took part in what is the largest international ski event in the southern hemisphere. In the 42km premier event 2018 Winter Olympian Barbara Jezeršek from Sydney made it back to back Hoppet victories, while Swiss national and Mt Beauty local Valerio Leccardi won his 4th Hoppet in nine years.

The Kangaroo Hoppet is the Australian leg of the Worldloppet series of international ski marathons, which encompasses 20 events from 20 countries across the world. Steady snowfalls in recent weeks have seen the Falls Creek snow base exceed two metres, while recent sunny days and cold nights made for well packed ski tracks and great racing conditions across the stunning Bogong High Plains.

The current Australian national team coach and husband of former Hoppet winner and three-time Winter Olympian Esther Bottomley, Leccardi won ahead of two-time Winter Olympians Phillip Bellingham rom Mount Beauty and Callum Watson from Sydney. Joining Jezeršek on the women’s podium were Aurélie Dabudyk from France and Cambria McDermott from the USA, both of whom who have been ski instructing and coaching at Falls Creek throughout the winter.

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Jezeršek, Dabudyk and McDermott broke away from the rest of the women’s field early on, until Jezersek put her foot down up “The Paralyser” onto the Bogong High Plains and skied away solo. Dabudyk and McDermott also skied most of the rest of the race by themselves. Jezeršek won her first Hoppet in 2017 after becoming an Australian citizen in late 2016. At the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Jezeršek and team-mate Jessica Yeaton achieved Australia’s best cross country skiing result, 12th in the Team Sprint event.

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In the men’s event a pack of six formed early on, before Watson picked up the pace and dropped all but Leccardi and Bellingham. However the effort took its toll, and Watson was the next to lose contact at the front. Leccardi made a decisive move away from Bellingham as they returned from Sun Valley the second time, and finished strongly for his first Hoppet victory since 2015.

In the 21km Australian Birkebeiner event the female and male winners were Darcie Morton and Nic Blackwell, while Zana Evans and Hugo Hinckfuss won the 7km Joey Hoppet.

Quote from Valerio- so happy to win my fourth title. It was a tough race but my skis were excellent and the tactics were good for me today. I’m very happy to have a new family and my fourth Hoppet win.

Quote from Phil- it’s tough to be second again but I gave it all out on the course. The pace was good and Valerio made some very strong moves. Hopefully I’ll go better next year.

Quote from Barbara - I am very happy for another victory. I felt good today and could use my strength on the course. The track was perfect and I am so happy for another win.

Kangaroo Hoppet 42km

Men

1 Valerio Leccardi SUI

2 Phil Bellingham AUS

3 Callum Watson AUS

4 Ole Jacob Forsmo NOR

5 Mark Pollock AUS

6 Liam Burton AUS

7 Cameron Morton AUS

8 Seve de Campo AUS

9 Nick Montgomery AUS

10 Michael Brennan AUS

Women

1 Barbara Jezersek AUS

2 Aurélie Dabudyk FRA

3 Cambria McDermott USA

4 Iris Pessey FRA

5 Casey Wright AUS

6 Jillian Coleburn AUS

7 Esther Leccardi AUS

8 Sarah Slattery AUS

9 Aimee Watson AUS

10 Katerina Paul AUS

Australian Birkebeiner 21 km

Men

1 Nick Blackwell AUS

2 Cooper Anderson USA

3 Declan Burke AUS

Women

1 Darcie Morton AUS

2 Tuva Bygrave AUS

3 Brianna Oldis AUS

Joey Hoppet 7km

Men

1 Hugo Hinckfuss AUS

2 Patrick Manning AUS

3 Tommi Silvester AUS

Women

1 Zana Evans AUS

2 Leila Pammer AUS

3 Chloe Hinckfuss AUS

Where to get a meal below the snowline. (Click the links for reviews and more info)

Flour + Water: 171 Kiewa Valley Highway, Tawonga South. Meals and takeaway from 5pm. Pizza, pasta and a la carte. Bookings preferred on 03 5754 4449.

Stockpot: 231 Kiewa Valley Highway, Tawonga South. Takeaway from 5pm, meals from 5.30pm. Modern Australian food. Bookings essential on 03 5754 4114.

Settlers Tavern: 232-236 Kiewa Valley Highway, Tawonga South. Meals from 5.30pm. Bistro meals with daily specials. Bookings preferred on 03 5754 4888.

Roi's Diner Restaurant: 177 Kiewa Valley Highway, Tawonga (5kms from Mt Beauty). A la carte menu. Bookings on 03 5754 4495.

Templar Lodge: New in 2018! Upmarket dining restaurant and bar. 181 Kiewa Valley Hwy Tawonga. Pasta specials. Bookings on 03 5754 4415.

West Peak Hotel: Formerly the Mt Beauty Country Club, adjacent to the roundabout in Mt Beauty. Bistro meals with daily specials. Bookings on 03 5754 4985.

Treats Cafe: Bogong Ski Centre, Kiewa Valley Hwy, Tawonga Sth. 5754 1515. Meals all day till 7:00 pm

Swiss & Chips: 223 Kiewa Valley Hwy, Tawonga Sth. 5754 4422. Fish and Chips, burgers, pizza, salads, roast chicken, eat in or ring and order takeaway.

Take Out: 16 Kiewa Crescent Mount Beauty 0411 695 546. Open Friday and Saturday till 8pm. Fish & chips, burgers, coffee and cake.