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Wild Rumpus Sports

32nd Marchablanca, 8th Ushuaia Loppet (Wordloppet) Recap

Local skier Matías Zuloaga leading out of the start of the 25 k Marchablanca on Aug. 12 in Ushuaia, Argentina. (Courtesy photo)

(Press release)

Zuloaga, Giro, Cichero, and Voogne Celebrate Victories on A Perfect Day

USHUAIA – The 8th edition of the Ushuaia Loppet and the 32nd edition of the Marchablanca coincided on the same day, Aug. 12, to showcase cross-country skiing and the winter tourism destination of Tierra del Fuego known as “the end of the world.”  Ushuaia local Federico Cichero and Tiina Voogne of Estonia dominated the 50 KM classic technique Ushuaia Loppet.  Matias Zuloaga and Maria Giro, locals, won the 25 KM Marchablanca.

The races marked the beginning of the 2018-19 Worldloppet season and conditions could not have been better.  A light dusting of snow the previous night and stable winter temperatures made for perfect classic technique skiing.

Cichero held off Avo Kilsipuu and Madis Torim to take the win with the two Europeans completing the men’s podium.  For the women, Estonia’s Tiina Voogne was chased by Fueguina local Claudia Herlein and Erika Vaszilejvics of Hungary finishing of the podium.

Zuloaga Owns The Marchablanca

The Worldloppet Silver and accessory Marchablanca 25 KM race is also the region’s traditional event and one of the oldest nordic ski events in the southern hemisphere.  Over 300 skiers participated and about the same amount of skiers are expected for next weekend’s MiniMarchablanca for young skiers.

Matias Zuloaga, who represented Argentina in the Pyeongchang Olympic Games, led from start to finish on the 25 KM loop of the Provincial Cross Country Ski Trail or PiPEF.  Victor Santos (BRA) and Martin Bianchi (ARG) finished neck and neck for second and third.

Maria Giro who lives and works within sight of the venue took another win for herself followed by Andrea Bianchi (ARG) and Gretchen Lebowitz (USA).

“It’s my third [Marchablanca] in a row, the training we’ve done this year has been great because of the conditions.  I’ve got a little course near my house that I do almost everyday,” said Zuloaga to MZL TV.  He added, “I didn’t want to lead because there was a little snow in the tracks and it was slow plus there are always good competitors around you but near Cerro Castor and the Gas Duct sector I was able to open a gap.”

The Challenger Cup, donated by long-time devoted local skier Luis Argel, was presented in an emotional moment for many locals to Demetrio “Chueco” Velásquez who had not been in Ushuaia for fifteen years but who led the first wave of Tierra del Fuego athlete exchanges to Europe in the 1980s and laid the foundation for Fuegian athletes to represent Argentina in the Olympic Games.

Race CEO Pablo Valcheff noted “it could not have been a better moment for us; it’s a festival for everyone, sunny skis, perfect conditions, and—as always—loads of help from our volunteers and supporters.”

The Club Andino Ushuaia was also grateful to be able to pursue its mission and collaborate with the Brazilian snow sports federation in order to offer an eight day adaptive nordic skiing clinic.  Brazil’s Nicolas Lima did both the clinic and completed the 7,5 KM promotional course on race day.

The kid-friendly Mini Marchablanca takes place Saturday the 18th of August, registration is open until the end of the preceding week.

The Club Andino Ushuaia thanks its sponsors, INFUETUR (Fuegian Provincial Tourism Authority), Secretaria de Deportes de la Provincia (Fuegian Provincial Ministry of Sport), Popper Store, Municipalidad de Ushuaia (the City of Ushuaia), Coca Cola, Optitech, Powerade, Tante Sara, Club Argentino del Vino, Sealand, Fundación NEP y Shopping Paseo del Fuego.


2018 Ushuaia Loppet

2018 Marchablanca