There will be pictures in the future! Promise! But I did want to get this snowball rolling….
P1 aka centre Asticou is one of my favourite places to ski from. Ok ok…I confess that it was in the not so romantic government buildings here that I met my husband. Romance aside, there is lots of parking, some fun trail options, and its fairly close for those coming from Ottawa.
P1 Parking is at the back of a large government complex known as centre Asticou. The centre is located just off Boulevard de la Cite des Jeunes and is a 10 or 15 minute drive from downtown Ottawa.
From P1 there are several trail options:
Green: 29, 5, 26
Red: 15, 35
Although trail 5 has a nice long hill near the beginning, it also offers some very fun “s” turns, and then flattens out to a very pretty meadow (a rare bit of flat if you feel like working on your glide, or going out with beginners….they just have to get there first or consider parking at P2).
A great approximately 13 km loop if you are classic skiing would be to take trail #5 to #15 to # 35 and then follow the parkway back to P1 (don’t miss the turn off from the parkway at the end of a long gentle downhill). There are some good hills and a few open swampy areas which are a nice change in scenery.
The parkway is always a good option for beginners, or night skiing if you don’t like to bring a light, which I don’t. Although long, the trail is wide enough for people to fall down and not cause too much commotion as well as work on technique (spoken from first hand experience trying to teach my husband how to skate ski on ice). There is a fair bit of uphill though and not a lot of variety in the terrain. I find the parkways a little boring….but…at night or with beginners they are great! I tend to always loop the same way…trails 5/15/335 to start, and then the parkway for the descent. Click here for the Gatineau Park Trail Map: http://www.canadascapital.gc.ca/sites/default/files/pubs/11055_gp_wintertrail_map_4.pdf
What I like:
- Its a relatively quick and convenient drive from downtown Ottawa;
- Lots of Parking which never seems to be crowded or full;
- Great for long uphill training (hello parkway or that nice hill about 2 km in) or a meandering ski through the woods. Plus, no matter what trails you take the return is a nice gentle downhill.
- Despite being fairly close to town, I rarely find the trails overcrowded. Saturday at noon I didn’t pass anyone on trails 15 or 35.
- Trail # 5 has some fun S turns to play with;
- Variety of terrain – meadows, hills, and Pink lake!
- Classic and Skate options;
- Some skate loops available such as 5 to the parkway.
What could be better:
- Its not really a downside, but since I tend to always go here I sometimes get a little bored with the trails.
- Its a long slow uphill on the parkway, and oddly, sometimes I don’t quite get the rest I am expecting on the downhill (maybe its just me..or skiing when I was very pregnant last year).
- I’d love to be able to skate all the way to pink lake. Sometimes I cheat and try to tackle 5 and 35 with a double polling workout…..yah….sometimes that double polling turns to rest stops every few feet….and thats when I find I don’t get that magical downhill all the way to my car when I reach the parkway.
I’ll update this when I bring Max out, but I’d guess the parkway by dark, and trails 5, 26 and 29 by day would be just fine. Lots of green options for skiing with the Chariot.
Gatineau Loppet Training Update:
Excuses excuses excuses. But really, I’ve been kicked in the butt by a killer cold. Tie that with going back to work this week, and a baby still up every few hours and that whole working out thing has taken a bit of a back seat. I’m trying to rest up and get healthy so I can get some great skis in this weekend if not sooner.