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2007 Canadian Ski Marathon (CSM) Report #2
By:  Zoe Panchen   (2007/02/13)


Due to lack of snow this year the Canadian Ski Marathon that would have been a 160km ski over 2 days from Lachute to Buckingham was changed to a 70km loop north of Montebello skied forward on Saturday and backwards on Sunday. For those interested the CSM was originally started as part of the Canadian Centenial celebrations and was a 3 day ski from Montreal to the Rideau Canal in Ottawa but suburban build up over the years has caused the route to change & reduce in length.

Though this year's tour was shorter, we started later than usual and the checkpoint cutoffs were earlier than normal, so there couldn't be too much slacking off! Never the less there wasn't the usual mad dash to make the cutoff and made for a more civilised & relaxed ski.

It certainly was a different CSM this year and easier than previous years with the shorter course and easier terrain. The CSM did a great job considering the lack of snow, much of the trails were on roads (similar to Gatineau Parkways) and the snow conditions there were excellent and made for easy skiing. The sections through the trees & on hills fared well and didn't get too skied out, just the odd rock to watch out for.

Actually 2 of the sections were along the regular route (sections 3 & 4 this year are the last 2 sections on Lachute -Montebello route). There were a couple of steep hills where we had to walk where normally we would ski, I learnt that the CSM team chewed these steep hills up to discourage folks from skiing them as they were icy & had very little snow but there were still a couple of crazy guys that did ski them!

There were a couple of places this year where the route was an out and back which was kinda nice as you got to exchange word of encouragement with other skiers going the other way. I also got to see the front guys. Man do those Golds move fast, they've got huge 15-20kg packs and they are still moving faster then the Bronze CdB who are just carrying a water bottle!

The other nice things this year were that the weather was a tad warmer than usual and there were no sections across open farmers fields that are prone to high wind chill. Also starting later meant no skiing in the dark when depth perception is a problem!

They said it got down to -26C at Gold camp on Saturday night but it didn't seem too bad, there is hay to sleep on and wood fires going and hot water is provided. Gold camp is a social place with time to catch up with fellow golds each year and make new friends.

It is good training for an IM certainly in the departments of endurance and "mentally toughing it out". I'd say it's tougher then an IM especially the Gold!

So now I have 4 Golds to my name! But there are lots of tough dudes that have more than 20 golds and some of them are women too!

There's rumor that the CSM may be in financial trouble. If any of you folks have connections that might provide the CSM with sponsors you should get in touch with them - ski@csm-mcs.com. It would be a shame to loose this event!

Zoe Panchen

Canadian Ski Marathon Website

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