Epic cross-country skiing adventure
I am on the cusp of embarking on the greatest winter cross-country ski adventure of my life. I have done some good ones in the past including a Minnesota/Wisconsin Birkie week two years ago. Last year I did the Birkie and then two weeks later I skied the Great Bear Chase, but none will touch the degree of the trip I am about to launch.
On Thursday, I will be leaving for Québec, Canada to ski the Gatineau Loppet. The Gatineau is the Canadian equivalent of the American Birkebeiner in Hayward, Wisconsin. I will be racing the 51 kilometer Gatineau Loppet on February 14th. It will be my second Worldloppet passport stamp.
My second Worldloppet Passport will be stamped
The Worldloppet International Ski Federation designates the elite cross-country ski race in each participating country. Currently, there are 20 countries that participate. Along with the U.S. and Canada, you have your Nordic heavy hitters like Norway, Sweden, and Finland as well as France, Germany, Poland, Italy, but there are also some countries you would not expect like Japan, Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, and even China that have a race in the federation. What a great way to travel the world.
Each time you complete a Worldloppet race, you get a stamp in your Worldloppet passport. I have done the Birkie three times, which is the American Worldloppet race, but I have yet to do an international race. This will change on Saturday once I complete the Gatineau Loppet, which is just across the river from the Canadian capital of Ottawa in Gatineau, Québec. I will need to bring two passports – my real one and my Worldloppet one.
On to Montréal
This is just the beginning of the trip. After I complete the Gatineau, I will stick around for a day and take part in a Worldloppet Federation cocktail party and other post race festivities. Then it is on to Montréal for three days exploring this beautiful city. I am dusting off my school boy French for this part.
Marathon cross country skiing road trip
After Montréal, it will be an epic trek across two Canadian provinces through Québec, Ontario, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and through northern Wisconsin to ski my 4th American Birkebeiner in Hayward, Wisconsin.
I am excited for this trip for several reasons. First of all, the Gatineau Loppet, Tourisme Outauais, and Tourisme Québec have welcomed me with open arms. They have created an exciting itinerary that combines winter, culinary, and cultural adventure. Besides skiing, I will be ice skating, eating poutine and other wonderful Canadian food as well as touring Montréal and if I have time Québec City.
First time racing with Madshus
I am also excited to use my very own Madshus skis. This Norwegian ski manufacturer is making the best skis in the world right now and the lightest. The kind I will be using is the second lightest in the world, and the lightest are also made by them. I borrowed a pair of skis last year from them for the Birkie and this year they offered me a pair at reduced cost. It was an offer I could not refuse, and I am so happy to have a pair of these awesome skis. I have used them last year and several times this year in training, and I thoroughly approve and recommend for your next cross-country ski.
I will be updating my progress as much as I can using the hashtags #RTMarathon (short for road trip marathon) as well as #gatineauloppet #birkie #quebecoriginal and #MTLmoments.
On a sad note. A couple of years ago at the Toronto TBEX, I met fellow travel blogger Anita Mac who lived in the Ottawa region. When I told her about my Gatineau ambition, she cordially invited me to stay with her. Unfortunately, she took her own life last summer. I dedicate this trip to her memory.
Two races, two countries, 105 kilometers of skiing, over 30 hours of driving, three days in Montréal, and a heck of a lot of poutine and Tim Horton’s coffee. Canada and the Birkie, here I come!
This trip is partially sponsored by Tourisme Québec with assistance from the Gatineau Loppet and Tourisme Outauais and also assisted by Madshus skis. This will in no part alter my reporting on the trip. I simply chronicle my adventures as they happen.
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That sounds pretty awesome trip. How much preparation it take for conditioning?
De’Jav recently posted..Foreign Tax filing a B&*%T
It depends on how serious you are about your time. You definitely need to be in reasonable shape to even enter, but the better conditioning you do the faster your time will be.
Stay Impressive, good luck on this winter adventure…. all these cross country ski posts and races, some day I really need to just put on a pair of these skis and attempt to do a few kilometers.
And when I do, I’ll wear a fanny pack in your honor sir. (I was so happy to finally get a look inside what is the fanny pack too, nice photo)
Finally,great to see you mention Anita…. I wonder if completing the Worldloppet Passport is something of a bucket list. Keep going sir.
stay racing the winter away, Craig
Craig Zabransky recently posted..The Big Sur Sunset, Inspiration to the Beat Generation and Beyond
It was sad to be in Ottawa and not have a chance to hang with Anita, but the race was great although it was really freaking cold.
I am really curious as to how the Loppet went – and hope you got a chance to visit Spa Nordik. I think I’d need some super lightweight skis to make it to the finish line.
Hope you’re having a blast.
Leigh recently posted..Myakka River State Park: A Haven for Nature Lovers
The race was grueling, but I did hit Spa Norik the next day and it was heaven. I think I need to rebrand as a spa traveler.
I was expecting a snotty picture.. great job, Ted!
ps, I still think of Anita whenever I think of bucket list. 🙂
Kieu recently posted..Snapshots from the Serengeti
There were snots a flying although it was so cold I think they froze to my face.
Glad to hear you had a great experience. I only got to know Anita at Toronto. I’m sure it would have been a lot of fun hanging out with her.
Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted..30 First Dates: Romance and Travel Collide
Since I was by myself, it would have been great to have a blogger to hang out with. Made a sad situation sadder.