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Gatineau Park, MatadorU

Waiting for the snow to fall

Waiting for the snow to fall – Gatineau Park

Waiting for the snow to fall-Gatineau Park

To buy a ski pass or to not buy a ski pass…this is the question we ponder as we sit in Starbucks, contemplating the weather forecast and lack of snowfall.  The deadline to buy discounted season ski passes for Gatineau Park’s 200 kms of groomed trails is midnight tonight (November 30th).  I already have mine.  I know what it is like to arrive at the trailhead without it.  I would rather have the pass than fumble with the hassle of buying a day pass, especially when I know I will be skiing all winter.  My friend, on the other hand, is contemplating whether to buy the season’s pass or just pay as you go.  As a former bike racer in Europe, this will be her first cross country ski season in many years.  Will she ski enough to make the pass worth while?

Every year, as December approaches, cross country ski enthusiasts of the Ottawa-Gatineau region start to get a little twitchy.  The ski season depends on mother nature.  When will she deliver that first dump of snow?  Will it last?  The die-hards are already out – they have been on roller skis since the car entrance to the park closed in November.  Next up – the dedicated – their rock skis are primed and ready to go when that first scant layer is laid down.  Not me – I only have one pair of skis.  I will wait for the good stuff.

My pass burns a hole in my pocket.  Most winters start the same…waiting for the snow to arrive.  Once there is enough for the groomers to come out and declare the parkways open, I am out there.  It may be a group of us.  It may only be me, but when they say it is go time, we are all out the door and on those skis.  The old legs may feel a little like jelly, but that is just fine.  The enthusiasm and sheer pleasure of skiing in the park more than makes up for it.  After all, this is skiing at its best.  With only the moonlight to guide our way, we will ski.  It is like our youth comes back to us as we race through the trails, rushing down the hills, panting as we climb back up them again.  The night air chills our faces, our cheeks flush with excitement.  We ski until our bodies are ready to drop!

We’ve done this before.  We know that the best place to park is P5, P8 or P10 – it is downhill to the finish and then off to the pub.  The place is always packed after the first snow.  Everyone is out and living it up!  Plans for the weekend are made over beers and burgers…the juiciest and tastiest of burgers after a night on the snow.  Perhaps we will meet up the road at Soupe Herbe for our Saturday post ski soups and chili.  Perhaps it will be back to the Chelsea pub for fondue!

Back in the coffee shop, we have moved from contemplating passes to contemplating routes.  If there is enough snow, we can ski to the Fire Tower or perhaps the Champlain Lookout.  Any day now…we just need that snow to fall.

skiing in Gatineau Park

*this post was written as my first assignment for the MatadorU writing course.

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About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


19 thoughts on “Waiting for the snow to fall

  1. Enjoy your ski 🙂 🙂

    Posted by andy1076 | December 18, 2012, 10:09 am
  2. Bring on the snow! I have my pass, too. Perhaps we will meet on the trails. 🙂

    Posted by drawandshoot | December 18, 2012, 11:05 am
    • Trail photos from XCZone show that there is enough snow. I am heading out to P8 shortly if you are interested! Will be skate skiing today. Likely to classic once there is enough snow for the groomers to lay tracks! Happy skiing!

      Posted by Anita Mac | December 18, 2012, 11:12 am
      • I have a big painting I’m working on with a deadline of SOON, but thanks for the offer. Happy skiing, Anita! Enjoy.

        Posted by drawandshoot | December 18, 2012, 11:14 am
      • No worries. Hope you are able to get it all done in time. Conditions were really wet out there today…should only improve by the weekend. The skating was pretty tough – pea soup would be the best description! Turns out the classic tracks were in pretty good shape.

        Posted by Anita Mac | December 18, 2012, 4:36 pm
  3. You are waiting for snow and I am waiting for paradise (warmth) – ha! Happy Tuesday:)

    Posted by cravesadventure | December 18, 2012, 12:14 pm
  4. if I could I would send some tons of snow for you …

    Posted by frizztext | December 19, 2012, 6:45 am
  5. We’re still waiting on the San Juans too. 🙂

    Posted by Susan Wingate | December 20, 2012, 12:43 am
  6. Skiing is something I missed out on. I was told never to do it with my dodgy spine. But then again I wasn’t supposed to mountain bike either. Always fancied doing some cross country skiing. Maybe one day… I could always stay in the pub and eat juicy burgers

    Posted by Tracey | Chronic Adventures | December 23, 2012, 10:55 am
    • I can’t imagine how a leisure cross country ski could be any worse for you that the jarring of a mountain bike ride! While I understand the risks of falling…I am sure you could get out for a a lovely afternoon in the snow! Otherwise, I just picked up some new snow shoes….not that I need a new sport…but it may give you the ski/snow pleasures in a more back friendly way!!!! Juicy burgers at the pub are always better after a ski!

      Posted by Anita Mac | December 23, 2012, 11:02 am


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