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2018 Press Release Article



25 August, 2018



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.

 Womens 42 podium copy11

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.

Mens 42 podium11

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


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


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


1 Nick Blackwell AUS

2 Cooper Anderson USA

3 Declan Burke AUS


1 Darcie Morton AUS

2 Tuva Bygrave AUS

3 Brianna Oldis AUS

Joey Hoppet 7km


1 Hugo Hinckfuss AUS

2 Patrick Manning AUS

3 Tommi Silvester AUS


1 Zana Evans AUS

2 Leila Pammer AUS

3 Chloe Hinckfuss AUS

Local Eateries

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. 


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