Season’s first cross-country ski race in Japan held in Engaru

Competitors exerting themselves before the finish line

The 33rd Shirataki Kita-Taisetsu Cross-Country Ski Competition, officially sanctioned by the Ski Association of Japan (SAJ) and co-sponsored by the Hokkaido Ski Federation, was held on the Kitami Pass course on December 11 and 12, signaling the arrival of the ski season.

The event is the winter season’s first cross-country skiing event in Japan sanctioned by SAJ, in which high-school and university students and adults from Hokkaido and beyond participated in the Classic and Freestyle races (men’s 10 km, women’s 5 km). Last year’s event was cancelled due to the spread of Coronavirus, and this was the first time in two years that the event was held. Due to the lack of snow, the venue was changed from the usual Kita-Taisetsu course to a course near Kitami Pass.

On December 11, a total of 121 males and females competed in the Classical event in sunny, calm conditions, cheered on by friends from the sidelines of the course that affords views of the nearby Taisetsu Mountains.