The longest mass participation ski tour in the world is a uniquely adventurous combination of expedition skiing, race against time, beautiful terrain and, of course, socializing. Skiers of all ages, many as families and groups of friends, choose their own level of challenge and distance.
This year a longer distance of 167.3 km (usually it’s 160 km) made it even more challenging for those ski pilgrims who attempt all 10 sections: the Coureur des Bois and those fast and rare 10-section-Tourers. With not enough snow for the "classic" route between Lachute and Gatineau to be safely feasible, the organizers and volunteers managed to pull off a great event, again in the Fairmont Kenauk Reserve. There were excellently groomed, double and triple, classic tracks with 10 checkpoints for food, waxing, and first aid, with even more hydration stations. Starting just North of Montebello, the route looped around, and reversed directions for the second day. The final Finish was at the Chateau Montebello itself. Very picturesque!
The occasional fresh snow on Saturday morning made for variable grip and glide, with a few hills getting a bit thinly covered for the later starters, but the conditions were almost ideal for the whole weekend. The Coureur des Bois Gold camping out over Saturday night were blessed with dry and relatively calm conditions. The new Gold Camp, relocated this year closer to Montebello, is on a more exposed site. This could be tough camping under wet and windy conditions. Rather than having snow coming down to make a damp camp, as was originally forecasted, we had a lovely sunset, and then a beautiful half moon and bright stars to look up to.
The participation level was a little lower this year, around 1800 skiers (compared to the usual 2000), but there were more Coureur des Bois than ever and a significantly higher number of women were taking up this challenge. And, from my own club, Nakkertok Nordic, girls and boys, all ages, and all categories, were out there in wonderful multitudes! Friends were on the trails having fun and encouraging one another to make it more cheerful and stronger skiing. On Sunday especially, when my tired body was dragging a bit, whenever I saw our Nakkertok youngsters skiing so well, I would get inspired to smile up and ski better.
Congratulations to all who participated in the CSM. Thank you to all our friends and family who supported us. And, let’s remember that the CSM is an incredibly complicated event to stage. For us to enjoy it, the staff, the board, the sponsors, and particularly the hundreds of hard working and cheerful volunteers including school students, Scouts Canada, Canadian Forces Reserves, safety patrolers, and our local ski shop staff put their heart and effort into it. THANK YOU!
À la prochaine!
Parham Momtahan, CSM#166, 10 Gold Bar