Date Skied: 11 February

Gatineau Loppet Training Update: If I had been following a real training schedule, like I had every intention to do, I’d be entering that lovely final rest phase…..”IF” I said. Instead part of me is wondering how much skiing I can get in over the next week to make sure I can tackle the 50 odd kms.  Part of me…the other part thinks that I might sit on the couch with a glass of wine, and do that oh so important resting.  I’ve been averaging probably 2 skis a week, and that has been the grand total of my exercise achievements, not exactly what I set out to do, but hey, some days, weeks, months, life just gets in the way.  In any case, I am REALLY looking forward to the Loppet.  I don’t remember ever looking forward to a race when I was actually serious about racing. Strange. It will be exactly a decade since I last did the Loppet. In those days, now I’m dating myself, it was called the Keskinada. For some reason, I think I prefer the title of Keskinada, or its nickname  “Keski”  to the “Gatineau Loppet”, maybe it just sounds a little more exotic. Check out Charles Hodgson’s Guide Gatineau for his explanation on  the origins of the rather bizarre, but very Canadian name  “Keskinada”.

Overview: P10 is a popular little place to ski from (I guess that long, long, long hill isn’t so intimidating after all).  The parking lot can be quite busy, and I’m sorry to everyone who showed up around 10AM this morning, but I actually stole that last spot.  I victoriously snagged it, right before a convoy of about 5 cars pulled in.  Luckily though, you can hit up the trails from P10 fairly easily by just parking a little further away at P9 -Dunlop.   P10 is another one of those great places to ski from.  Once that hill is tackled, you have some great cabins at varying distances (Keogan, Huron, Western, Shilly Sally – does anyone out there know the origins of the name “Shilly Sally?”)(Charles Hodgson @ Guide Gatineau came to my rescue on this question. Here is the answer as to why Shilly Shally is called Shilly Shally:

For those who like: Wide trails, hills, skiing to a cabin, great views,variety

Don’t Ski here if: You want to be assured of a parking spot on the weekend, if you hate hills, if you want the trails all to yourself.

Directions:   Its a touch further than some of the other parking spots, but your ability to reach some great trails in the park makes the extra 5 minutes of driving very worth it.

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The Trails:  Oh that hill, the long one… if you hate hills, even nice, gentle non-intimidating hills, that keep going and going and going, you may want to stay away from P10.  The first kilometer is pretty much all uphill, but its a rather gentle, non-intimidating hill, you know the type that tuckers you out, but is oh so nice and fast on the descent?  The trail flattens just a little near Lac Fortune, before continuing to climb right to the end of the Fortune Parkway.  There are some nice resting spots along the way, like a little bench overlooking Lac Fortune. Once you reach trail #1, turning left will take you to Keogan Cabin, and right will take you to Huron and Western.  If you continue straight from the intersection of the Fortune Parkway and Trail #1, you’ll continue to the beautiful vistas of the Champlain parkway.  To the right is Shilly Sally, just a few hundred yards, but is quite small,  and if you continue a little longer up a steeper and more significant hill, you’ll reach Huron Cabin. Three kilometers further  is Western Cabin.  If a cabin is your destination, it’s about 5km each way to Huron and about 3.5km each way to Keogan Cabin. I think one of the great things about skiing from P10 is all the options you have.  I’m a big fan of the #1 Green system, and apparently so are most people skiing in the park.  There are some really pretty parts, and some fun ups and downs.
My Route:  Unfortunately my garmin froze on me, and I have no idea how long I was actually out, but I loved the loop I skied.  I followed Fortune Parkway to the #1 trail and turned right.  I followed #1 almost to Western Cabin, and turned around and looped back on the 1B to Champlain lookout, then followed Champlain Parkway back to Fortune parkway, and then followed Fortune Parkway for that lovely, quick downhill back to P10 (I am always surprised at how little time it takes to descend).   With a variety of parkway and smaller trail skiing, some fun hills on the 1b, and the great views on the Champlain Parkway, this is a great ski loop and one to be repeated! My guess is that it is about 15km.

Elevation and other Details: Even without my garmin I can tell you that the trail goes up, up and up, but oh that downhill is so nice and quick on the return.

Bringing Baby: If you don’t mind lugging your baby up a very long hill, and have the energy to do so, this is a great place to ski from. You have lots of Cabins to ski to, great views and some great trail choices, if you can make it up that long hill that is.

I’ve been lazy brining my camera lately…more photos soon! I actually have some fun ideas for Gatineau Park photo shoots. We’ll see if I can ever make them happen!  Maybe next year’s challenge!