Seriously? This is my fourth winter in Ottawa, and I’ve never ventured to P16? I’m kind of ashamed to admit it…its kind of like living in Ottawa and never trying a beaver tail (oops…add that one to the “must do” list…after a long ski of course to make up for the buz-illion caloreis).

I am still longingly awaiting my ski pull for my Chariot…*sigh* …but this weekend with a sunny sky (at least when we ventured out), and warm temperatures I couldn’t take the waiting any longer.  I decided enough was enough.  It was time for Max to go skiing, ski pull or no ski pull.

I grabbed my Manduca carrier (don’t try this at home folks)….and my skate skis, and trusting my balance more on skis than on my own feet, I  thought, why the heck not.  He’ll let me know if he doesn’t like it, and if we only last a minute or two, so be it.

So Momma and Max, and my own Momma,  Max’s grandma, went out for a wonderful first ski, maybe this is why P16 seemed so special, or maybe Trail 50, is just really great!  Nevertheless,  we could not have picked a more beautiful place for Max’s first skiing experience. I loved loved loved skiing from P16.  Sure, I was huffing and puffing carrying my 20 pound bundle on my back, but what a lovely ski and what a beautiful trail.

And as for Max, he loved every minute of it! He squealed happily on the downhills, and ba ba baad, and da da daad as we skied along.  I didn’t want to push it too much,  because you never know when a 9 month old will decide he has had enough.  But we skied for 1hour and 10 minutes without the slightest complaint.  Max stared at the trees, and at the ground as the white snow passed beneath my skis.  With about 2 km left on our return to the parking lot, the fresh air did its trick and he slept soundly for the rest of our ski, and all the way home.    As for me,  maybe training with a baby on my back is going to be my loppet secret weapon!

Gatineau Loppet Training Update: I feel like this portion of my posts has become a little whining and excuse session….*sigh* I made it out for 2, 1 hour skis this weekend.  I think skiing with Max on my back was quite the work out since, when I went out on Sunday I was hurt-ing!  Maybe it was our Saturday ski…maybe it was from an insane week where, with my husband gone, and Max deciding he was going to make the most of his momma time in the evening, he went to bed as late as he possibly could and then woke up every hour wanting to feed or play. I did however, get a beautiful new pair of skis this weekend, which I took out on a test drive on Sunday (I’ve been still using my high-school and early university gear).

Overview: Heading out from P16, your one and only option  is a green trail, #50.   It really is a gorgeous trail!  Saturday we went out at about 11AM and neither the trail, nor the parking lot were too busy.  Sunday was a different story though.  I had to wait for a parking spot, and the the trails were pretty crowded.  Other than beautiful trails, I think that a major bonus skiing from P16 is that there are two fabulous cabins approximately 5km from the trail head: Healey Cabin and Herridge Cabin.  The 5km distance (each way), is very doable for new skiers!  A ski, followed by a picnic…what better way to introduce friends and family to this amazing sport, and the beauty of Gatineau Park.

For those who like: gentle rolling hills, skiing in wooded areas, skiing to a cabin (or two!),  a great trail to bring baby in a ski pull (or on your back);

Don’t Ski here if: hmmm….other than parking being a problem at the height of the day on Sunday, and the trailhead being a little farther away than some of the others, I can’t think of any reason why you wouldn’t want to ski here! The first downhill and immediate uphill could be a little intimidating for someone who has never skied, but definitely do brave it, as once these have been tackled its smooth skiing!

Directions:  Although it seems a little further to P16, the trek from Ottawa is actually quite simple, as you can follow Autoroute 5 almost the entire way.

The Trails:  Trail 50, a green trail, is your only option from P16 – but don’t despair, it is a great one.  There is an initial steep descent, followed by an immediate ascent.  Once tackled though, the route winds through a beautiful wooded area and gently climbs and descends.  I loved P11 for classic….and I feel the same way about P16 when it comes to a beautiful place in the park to skate ski.   If great terrain wasn’t enough, the two cabin options, Healey and Herridge are great ski destinations.  The 5 km distance from the parking lot makes them very accessible for even a new skier.  This is an out and back route….with more elevation gain on the way out, than on the return.

My Route:  Coming soon…my garmin is currently experiencing technical difficulties.

Elevation and other Details:
 Coming soon…my garmin is currently experiencing technical difficulties.

Bringing Baby: Really, I can’t think of a better place to bring your baby out for a ski! Other than the initial ascent and descent, the trails are sufficiently wide, and not too difficult.  With the cabins only a 5km ski away, you’ve got a great destination, and place to stop for snacks and to warm up if needed.  I can’t wait to go back!

Still awake!

All that fresh air and Max is fast aslee