.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

Magic Montmorency
By:  Megan McTavish   (2007/11/14)


As has become our annual Remembrance Day tradition (we government workers have a holiday which has created a long weekend for us for the last few years) this past weekend was our yearly pilgrimage to the north to ski on the elusive white stuff all us skiers seem to be looking for right now!

This year la Foret Montmorency lived up to its magical reputation and produced a 34cm snow fall merely 48 hours prior to our planned arrival. This is even more amazing when you consider the fact that this arrival time was planned last December to ensure that we had all the rooms we needed at the forestry school.

Winter wonderland!

We all rummaged through our storage rooms and dug out our skis, wax, poles, boots, hats, gloves etc. to conquer the snow and piled into cars leaving Ottawa starting on Thursday morning. While driving to the ski area from Ottawa it is hard to believe that you are actually going skiing. Even in Quebec City there was no evidence of this supposed snow storm. Soon after leaving Quebec, however, the road starts its climb to the 700 m altitude where la Foret is situated. This is when we could see that we were heading to a winter wonderland.

My group arrived late Thursday night after a day’s work back in Ottawa and were greeted with a note saying “breakfast at 7:30, the skiing is great!!!”. We unloaded the car and tried to sleep....but it felt like Christmas Eve so settling down took a little while. We woke early for our first breakfast of eggs, oatmeal and sausage (of which I ate a bit too greedily) and proceeded to prepare ourselves for our first ski of the season.

Megan as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. We all were.

Friday we did a long classic ski in the morning and a skate ski in the afternoon, simply enjoying being back on skis and trying to transfer everything we had been practising on rollerskis to skis.

On Saturday morning, we were a bit more careful with our food intake and got ready for our first interval session on snow. The plan was to do a mix of long and short classic intervals on the biggest hill on the trails (4-5 min long). Everyone worked hard and it felt good to have some gliding with the striding! In the afternoon we skied the course for the morning’s skate time trial with the Quebec training center and Junior National team.

The first time trial on snow was planned for 10am on Sunday. It was a point to point course, mostly up hill. A large group of white suits (National team and Training Center) and blue suits (XC Ottawa sporting our NEW PODIUMWEAR by BORAH suits!!) lined up at the bridge (far end of the trail) and took off for a head to head battle which was eventually won by Alex Harvey on the men’s side and Sheila Kealey on the women’s side. It was a chance to get the kinks out and to get an idea of “where you’re at” before the real races start next week in Canmore. There were a few falls (myself and Sheila) for no apparent reason, a lost basket (Karl) and a grip coming off (Brent McMurtry), which are exactly the reasons for doing this sort of race. It was a great competition and a good tune up for Canmore. Thanks to the Quebec coaches for organizing it and inviting our team to join them. (RESULTS)

After all that hard work, the rest of the camp was just easy skiing and, of course, eating in the cafeteria. The best thing about having a camp at la Foret is that there are no distractions. All you have to do is eat, sleep and ski! Of course, a few ping pong tournaments and games of pool and shuffle board are part of the fun.

Next up for our team is a trip to Canmore and Silver Star for the NorAm Cups. Let there be snow!!!


Megan still smiling after many, many hours of skiing. Who wouldn't be?

More photos of the training camp here.

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