Legends Classic 2017

Legends Classic – February 25, 2017

Racers are you ready?

The 4th annual LEGENDS CLASSIC will be held at Tremblant on Saturday, February 25, 2017.

Hosted by the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame & Museum in conjunction with Tremblant and Le Club de Ski Mont Tremblant. It’s a Giant Slalom open to all Juniors (7 – 17) Adults (18 – 59) and Legends (60 & over).

The André Charron Cup awarded to the best time of the day, male & female.

Detailed information will follow shortly.

For more information and registration CLICK HERE

Click here later for: List of Registered Racers / Live-timing.
Click here for a copy of the official Race Notice.
Click here for a special lodging offer.

Cancelled – Canadian Ski Marathon 2017

Regretfully the organizing committee has decided to cancel the 2nd edition of the Jackrabbit Classic (March 11, Mont-Tremblant – Boileau – Montebello) due to the extreme weather and trail conditions.

Herman « Jackrabbit” Smith-Johannsen’s spirit has always been to promote and celebrate skiing and winter.

The CSM embraces those values and for the past 51 years the organization has always put the safety of the participants paramount in our planning. We want skiers to enjoy the sport with friends and family.

The CSM has always had the reputation of being a first class event and we refuse to lower our standards. Safety, trail preparation, volunteer support and emergency measures were all considered in our decision.

The weather is beyond our control and we feel that it is in the best interests of all those involved that the event be cancelled for this year.

Those who were already registered should expect a partial refund on their credit card shortly.

internet transaction fees will not be refunded
bus and baggage transportation fees will be fully (100%) refunded
event participation fees will be partially refunded (around 70%)

Those same skiers should already know the event policy: all transactions are final and non-refundable. The CSM Board of Directors has decided to go against it’s policy for this particular situation only**.

The refund will be as large as the CSM (not for profit organization) can manage, but the organization has to cover its bare costs and cannot handle a large financial loss. Those skiers who were already registered will receive the official 2017 Jackrabbit Classic toque ($50 value) in the mail as a token of our appreciation.

For 2018 we are planning on going back to a mid-January date (for better snow and CSM training purposes). Please put it on your calendar to join us.

In conclusion the CSM Board would sincerely like to express its thanks to all the volunteers members of the organizing committee and all participants and property owners in the buildup to holding the 2nd Jackrabbit Classic event. We look forward to seeing you in the next year’s event!


**IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: The CSM Board of Directors has decided to go against it’s policy for this particular situation. This decision will not affect or change the CSM event cancelation policy:

“Entry fees are non-refundable. The Canadian Ski Marathon, in accordance with management executives, city officials and local law enforcement has the authority to cancel any of the events for emergency purposes such as, but not limited to, inclement weather. If such emergency conditions force cancellation, refunds cannot be provided since funds will have been spent in preparation for for the marathon weekend”

The Canadian Ski Marathon: A Celebration of Canada’s Winter

(CSM) is North America’s longest and oldest Nordic ski tour. Unlike most ski events, there are no winners or losers in the Canadian Ski Marathon: it is not a race. The event offers something for everyone, regardless of age, endurance or ability. Tourers and families who ski less than the full distance make up about half the participants. Each skier can select his/her own level of challenge and try to achieve it. One can ski as little as 12 km or up to the maximum of 160 km over the weekend.

The CSM takes place in February on a trail that is only groomed once per year between Lachute and Gatineau, Québec. The trail winds through mostly privately owned land in the picturesque western Laurentian mountains. There is an over-night stop in Montebello, home of the famous Château Montebello, one of the largest log-built hotels in the world.

The CSM is a two-day, 160 kilometer ski event that is divided into 5 sections each day, with an average of 16 kms per section. Skiers of all ages and abilities are welcome to participate and can do so safely. There are feed stations, first aid and toilets available at the end of each section, as well as shuttle buses that run between accommodation and checkpoints throughout each day. The CSM alternates its direction each year, from east to west one year and then west to east the next.

This wonderful weekend in February can be enjoyed by all. Not sure if you are ready, or just want to enjoy a few kilometers of this once a year course, or perhaps you want to ski the last section with someone who is completing their first CdB or their 4th gold Bar and are reaching ‘Permanent Bib’ status? Then check out our CSM-Taster category.

For those of you who want more than a single section and aren’t ready for a full 160 kilometers of skiing, but would love to try an event that covers two successive days, then you’ll want to enter our Half Marathon category.

Our most flexible and most popular classification is the “Touring” category. Now you can define your own ‘marathon’, a single day or two days, a single section or as many as you can cover. Put together your own challenge and then make it happen, it can be done in the Touring category.

Of course our prize jewel is the Coureur des Bois category. This is the ultimate winter challenge; it covers the entire 10 sections over the weekend for a total of 160 km of classic Nordic skiing through woodland forests, rolling fields and even through a barn yard or two. Do you have what it takes to become a Coureur des Bois ?


News from the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum

Notice of Annual General Meeting

All current 2016 members and Life members of the CSHFM are hereby invited to attend the upcoming Annual General meeting of the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum.

Date: June 14,2016
Time: 12:00 AM sharp
(expected adjournment by 1:30 PM)
Place: Minogue Medical Board Room
180 Rue Peel, Montréal


1 800 726 8107 code: 481579
video webex : LINK

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum (CSHFM) will take place in Montreal on June 14th, 2016 at the time and place listed above, for the purpose of conducting the business of the Corporation, following the agenda which is attached, and electing the slate of Directors for the coming year. All members are requested to take part in the affairs of the Corporation by their presence or their proxy.


1. Call to Order.
2. Opening remarks
3. Approval of the Minutes of the prior AGM – June,18 2015
4. Financial Report and financial overview
5. Appointment of Auditors
6. Presentation of the reports from Directors
a. Hall of Fame and the Canadian Ski Museum relocation
b. Fundraising Approach
c. Digital and Web presence

7. Election of directors by Ordinary Resolution of the members

List of nominations HERE
New nomination bios HERE

8. Additional Resolutions
a. Amendments to by-laws

9. Other business as determined by the Board.
10.Adjournment of AGM

Support Ski Heritage – 2016 CSHFM Membership

What better way to kick off the new ski season than reconnecting with friends and supporters of Canada’s snow sport heritage?

The work continues … A group of passionate Canadian “ski-citizens” from across the country are working hard to create the new home for the CSHFM in the heart of the Laurentian mountains of Quebec.

Sign up for your 2016 membership and get the opportunity to participate with us in our rebuilding. Be a part of the new, exciting developments at the CSHFM.


What is in it for you?
By becoming a member, you will be in the forefront of this effort. Not only will you receive interesting news about happenings in our sport, but you will receive invitations to the CSHFM’s activities such as the galas and banquets, the Annual General meeting, Legends’ Classic race and other special events during the upcoming year. Most importantly, you will be assisting us in the fulfilling our goal to re-establish the National entity for the recognition of excellence in ski sport in Canada.

Choices are available to you …
There are four different types of annual memberships available for individuals, families or students. Also consider buying a CSM Membership for ski enthusiast as a gift for some meaningful event.

Skiing History Magazine offer – Our “Supporting Individual” membership level includes a year’s subscription to “Skiing History Magazine”.

As a registered Canadian Charity (#119219913 RR0001), you will receive a tax receipt for the donated amount.

2016 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Canadian Ski Marathon

Canadian Ski Marathon

Monday, May 2nd 2016, 7:00 p.m.
Henri-Bourassa building
266 Viger street, Papineauville (Qc.)

The Canadian Ski Marathon is a unique event in it’s nature but also in its organizational structure.

Did you know that CSM is a non for profit organization ?

The organization has no full-time employee, the vast majority of the work is done by volunteer members of the Board of Directors.

If you have the good of the Marathon at heart and want to get involved, contact us at ski@csm-mcs.com

Board meetings can be accessed remotely by teleconferencing system, we have directors from Alberta, Vermont and Toronto !

Get involved and give back to the CSM community.

Birkebeiner reflections

It has been almost 40 years since I first tackled the Norwegian Birkebeiner, carrying symbolically then the endangered 5.5 kilo infant Norsk king in my rucsac to escape the marauding hordes from the East – a land since called Sweden. Since its creation 73 years ago, the Birkebeiner has become the big “Daddy” of the World’s veteran xcty ski races!

Yesterday, I was amongst some 16,000 annually commemorating this event, racing on xcty skis over 54 kms of mountainous terrain, trying valiantly to finish under the maximum “merk” time for their 5 year age groups, calculated by averaging the five fastest times in the group and adding 25 %. The “merk” typically is reached by approximately the top 20% of the field, the remaining finishers having to content themselves with simply having done it. That in itself however means one more Birkebeiner tick, adding up to attractive trophies every ten completions. Yesterday, I received my 10th completed Birkebeiner engraved glass plate and also my tenth “merk” trophy! Always getting the “merk” in my ten races was the important trophy. So would have been more podium placings, which through heavy attrition over this past decade brought the podium tantalizingly close. However, this was only once achieved – a second place in my first 80th year, backed off to 4th in this my third year in the 80+ group, beaten by three of the “newboys” entered into this year’s grouping. Not unexpected – speed deteriorates very swiftly with advancing age!

When I first entered the Birkebeiner, I was in my 40’s, blood coursing easily to my muscles, with lungs and heart beat quite able to push the oxygen through as required. Thus, even with still much left to learn technically, I negotiated the distance that first time in 3 hours and 47 minutes. Yesterday with much effort I arrived in 4.58. Only an hour and a bit longer, however under yesteryear’s conditions and equipment, carrying 2 more kilos than today’s 3.5 kilos, and skiing 2 kms longer, Saturday’s ski would surely have taken closer to 6 hours.
Chronology takes its toll. Anything requiring physical effort, with the heart having to beat more slowly while attempting to push oxygen through increasingly restrictive blood vessels, the energy part of the equation lessons and we simply slow down. Add to this, an increasing unwillingness to endure pain or even discomfort, completes the recipe for diminishing performance.

There is also the matter of ego. Our memories vividly remember the way it was. As we oldies ( women over 65 and men over 70 ), starting at 0730 – 30 minutes before the fastest wave, graft away on the back side of the power curve, and wave after wave of younger skiers float by us, our minds tell us how pathetic we have become. Small wonder that competitiveness requiring exertion quite naturally wanes. In the 2015 Birkebeiner, registrations in the five year age groups reduced from almost 1500 between 50 – 54 to 28 for the 80+ grouping, the attrition rapidly increasing with age! Fortunately however, those left in the struggle represent the hard core and so the competition is still keen throughout the years.

Through some combination of mind and body, surely a time should come in every active elderly person’s life to face the reality of the future, mapping a new way forward compatible with one’s goals. “Extreme” should change to “maintenance mode” and new endeavours within this envelope brought into play.

This “watershed” moment has arrived for me. At almost 82, I feel the pull of “maintenance mode” just as I feel the need for new activities and direction. I want to apply myself to my memoirs. Other directions as well which the training and racing graft of recent years have severely impeded. Time to smell the roses!

All that said, my 10 Birkebeiner trips over a span of some 40 years have been a gauge of my well-being through my middle ages and I wouldn’t have exchanged the package for anything else. Winter is the time of year when I can get my body back into shape through xcty skiing – a very pleasurable activity for the entire body in mother nature – this year in Switzerland, Canada (BC, Ontario and Quebec) and Norway, not some local, fausty gym. And the Birkebeiner was the incentive. Typically 100 hours + of xcty ski training in a season in advance of the big event. The Birkebeiner throws everything at the skier from extreme cold to wet, from sleet, rain and snow to wind but also glorious sunshine. In its over 1300 metres of vertical climb from a few hundred metres above sea level to exposed, above tree line conditions, the weather extremes are as varied as the landscape, dotted with thousands of well-wishers egging one on. One’s body and mind match these extremes from sheer highs to deep lows. For me my nemesis was always the foreboding 300 metre climb from the Kvarstad mid-way point over the next 7 km to a plateau. This time powerless muscles ached and legs began to cramp. “Puff” evaporated and the hordes kept floating by! No light in the tunnel, however finally I got over the top and the Sjusjoen mountain hamlet came into distant view. The worst was over. The pace picked up and in no time I arrived at the wild, 600 metre vertical descent over the last 12 KMs towards the “Mal”. The “smell of the barn” inspired the body to new effort and daring as skiers spewed over the track, crashing into trees and each other, all somehow avoided at knife-edge speed. Then sheer euphoria as the sounds of the “Mal” enveloped my senses as I rushed madly up the final 2 Km undulations to complete.

That was yesterday – in brilliant sunshine! After the prior day’s fog, rain, snow and wind, the overnight temperature dropped to –10. Just in time! The tracks were firm, although sometimes partially filled with wind drift new snow forcing those with skis like mine, prepared with a klister base, to ski often between the tracks. Otherwise – a perfect day!
My first Birkebeiner started with a knock-down within seconds of the gun. Yesterday, having survived everything the track could throw at me, when negotiating the final downhill curve into the stadium I flipped over the bank attempting to avoid a skier crashing immediately ahead of me. Interminable moments before someone in the crowd understood my plea to help get me back up on my skis! The first one fell in the effort however finally three of us managed it. Ninety seconds was all it took to slip off the podium into 4th place.
What with a crash at both ends of my 40 year span of Birkebeiners, surely no better time to call it a dayl!
Bye Bye Birkebeiner. I did (mostly) enjoy the rides, etched in my memory bank!

Victor Emery
March 21, 2015

Smith-Johannsen 33 Km Loppet

Smith-Johannsen 33 Km Loppet

The last race in my Canadian Loppet campaign took place yesterday under blustery skies, temperature -9 at the 0915 Start, 200+ skiers fired up to go. Two days ago, for the first time in weeks, the local temperature had risen to + 4 and copious rain fell on tracks which had been carefully manicured for the big xcty race of the season for the Viking/Morin Heights Ski Clubs in Quebec’s Laurentian “Mountains” – my ski club of yore, attended frequently by my mentor – the Jackrabbit, after whom this event is named. In all, some 700 skiers were racing today, however the 33 Km longest trail attracts the best, keen to test their skill and stamina on the longest and most difficult of the trails which adorn the higgledy piggedly ever-changing landscape of these magnificent surrounds. It’s familiar territory for me. In 1980 I was the Chief Organizer of the first World Masters xcty ski event here which took place just before the Lake Placid Olympics. It drew several World and Olympic Champions to our Club and I remember well Olympic Champion Norwegian Harald Gronningen, in my age group,“levitating” past me on an uphill just before we flew down and around the infamous “Viking Wall”. The 10 Km racing trail on the Viking grounds, with very steep and twisty ups and downs, was prepared for that event and still exists to test the skill and courage of those brave enough to descend full out.

Despite a marvellous attempt by the track setting crew to scour the rapidly freezing rain-sodden tracks hours before the Start, this first 10Km of our Loppet yesterday was even more testing than usual due to a lightning fast track in harsh conditions where crashes were many and uphills required deft herringboning to conquer the slippery, crystallized snow under foot.

Somehow I survived the Racing Trail in approximately 45 minutes but then had to apply additional Blue Extra on top of my blue klister base in order to have a semblance of grip up up up into Crown Lands as we headed into the hinterland. There the track narrows to one, making it difficult to change position on the uphills and nigh on impossible on the twisting , undulating downhill portions where copious trees in this glorious mixed forest present many immovable obstacles, the going at times bordering treacherous!

Twice in the race I applied hard wax to my soft, dry snow skiis however I couldn’t complain about the glide, particularly after arriving at the brief “aerobic corridor” section of the trail – a long, gentle downhill. Aggressive double poling allowed passing literally dozens over the space of some 3 KMs there. Then it was back into the woods onto a vintage Jackrabbit trail almost until the end of the race.
All in all a wonderful experience feeling Jackrabbit’s presence in many places and saved from flame out by the infrequent possibilities for changing position on the trail. Given the constant balancing act this big daddy of good old fashioned Jackrabbit trails required of me yesterday, this was the perfect race in advance of the upcoming Norwegian Birkebeiner, with its scary downhills into Lillehammer’s Olympic Stadium, surrounded by a pack of aggressive young racers who start well after us old farts.

And how did we do? – 6 minutes slower than last year, in 2:58, with two 70+ types 1 -3 minutes ahead of me as opposed to the other way round in 2013. Not to worry – everything was working, ‘twas a great day and they are close to 10 years younger than my 80 years!

Interesting that of the four loppets I raced in Canada this winter, within a fraction, each one averaged marginally over 11 KPH. The “super wic” is definitely slowing down, beginning to enjoy the scenary a bit too much it seems, now relegated to a fast touring pace, hardly racing at that speed. “Smelling the roses” time is fast approaching. Better that than “pushing up daisies”! Not a bad way to leave the racing scene behind methinks.

Thanks for the memories Western and Eastern Canada, particularly the Vikings – I’ll never forget you!!
24 Feb 2014

Canadian Ski Marathon – 50 years on

To celebrate Canada’s Centennial, in 1967 the CSM was devised as a skiing adventure from Montreal to Ottawa. The first day entailed a 5 Km crossing of le Lac des Deux Montagnes from the west island of Montreal and the total distance for the three day event was approximately 200 Kms. I skied that first day into a biting north-westerly however opted out of the next two days, due to a business flight to Bogota – fortunately, because the route then crossed the Ottawa River into the fields and flat landscape of north-eastern Ontario all the way to Ottawa.

Herman “Jackrabbit” Smith Johannsen, the father of Canadian skiing, then in his 92nd year, was conscripted for his ideas of a more suitable routeing and within a few years the CSM became a weekend event through the lower Laurentian hills from Lachute to Ottawa, ultimately reversing the direction every second year. Jackrabbit also conceived the idea of a Coureur de Bois category for those wishing to cover the entire 160 Km distance, firstly for a bronze medal award, followed in another year by a silver medal category, carrying a 5.5 Kilo ruck sac laden with survival gear, and ultimately graduating to “Gold” which entails packing into a ruck sac everything needed on the trail from Saturday morning until completion on Sunday evening …tent or tarpaulin, sleeping and changing gear, food and water, cooking utensils – no help from anyone. In the mid- 70’s I was one of the early ones to try for the “gold”. Jackrabbit, then almost 100, had become both my friend and mentor. He encouraged me and said “Take my ruck sac – my spirit will be with you!” As he handed over his steel-framed pre-World War 1 ruck sac, I was thrilled – that is, until feeling its weight – 8 kilos without anything in it! At 40+ what’s a few extra kilos? Away I went.

At the CSM start a few days later, already and hour late at 7 AM, caused by a non-starting Renault, followed by our Peugeot developing a flat tyre, I skied off with 17 kilos on my back for a truly memorable “tour”! As advised by Jackrabbit, I quickly assembled my sleeping tarpaulin upon arrival at the Gold Camp, then stripped for my snow bath, hung my sweaty clothes on the branches to freeze over night for rubbing out the ice particles in the morning, then repaired in dry clothes to the little fire, around which were assembled the 12 other gold hawks, already eaten while I pulled out my steak, potatoes and beans for my hot evening meal.
In the dark of early morn, ‘twas the same routine- all other having eaten and off at the 6 AM starting gun while I tucked into porridge, toast, bacon and eggs, following on 30 minutes later. With a 3 kilo lighter ruck sac, I felt ready to fly which was partially kyboshed when trying to avoid what I thought was an open stream in the gloaming. I flipped, broke through the ice and immersed part of my body — which fortunately had its compensations because we were heading NW and the west wind froze that side of my clothing such that I had a marvellous wind-break all day long.

Flash forward 50 years from1967. I am now 82 and decided to ski my final CSM for my Red Bird Ski Club on a mixed veteran touring team which is allowed to start at 750 AM and cannot go through any Section Checkpoint after 2 PM except 3:15 PM for the last check point each day if one gets that far. That means skiing close to 50 % faster than the heavily weighted Courier de Bois. This was a snap in the old days but became more and more challenging as the decades rolled by. The last time I was able to ski all of the Sections this way was 5 years ago at age 77. The years take their increasing toll and so 8 of the 10 was the goal this year, meaning approximately 65 KMs /day!
Until Tuesday before the big event, the little snow on the ground was mainly ice and ice crystals which on xcty skiis is not good. Then came the biggest one day local storm on record – a half metre of snow falling on most parts of the CSM trail. Cheers all round. However without thinking how difficult it would be to pack down and track set such an amount. Then the weather changed from a perfect – 8 on Friday afternoon to + 3 by the Saturday Start. Soft, powdery snow became quagmires of slush and by the time 800+ Coureur de Bois aspirants had skied on the semblance of tracks, a good portion had become slick and wobbly – lethal for both kick and glide. It was like learning to ski all over again.

Most skiers had klister wax under foot. While providing a semblance of “kick” under foot, klister gums up over snow not yet transformed, such that a gliding ski can be suddenly stopped. Particularly lethal on downhills, of which there are many in the CSM, run entirely over unprepared private lands, each parcel presenting its own challenges.

Fortunately, the temperature stayed warm enough on the Saturday to prevent freezing – instead a piling up and rutting of snow on the downhills, complete with muguls and sitz marks, turning many descents into obstacles to overcome, OR NOT!
I have the fitness to ski a complete CSM. However with age comes decreasing balance and strength. Both are required to survive dodgy downhills on xcty skiis intact. As the hours wore on, even ski poles as braking and supporting levers between the legs were less and less able to help me negotiate the furrows and ruts. Tumbles began – not good for a body just recovering from cracked ribs at the Year’s end. Of course there was always the option of taking skiis off, however to get through check points, only rarely could I choose this option. With less than marginal control, I had to simply attempt to survive!
Not fatigued except in tested muscles and adrenalin rushes, after 30 Km I arrived at the end of the second section well before the 2 PM cut-off time only to find the entrance to the third section closed with literally 100’s of “coureurs”and some touring skiers waiting for bus pick-up. The ski machine had fallen through tracks only partially groomed and so all who arrived at the check point before the deadline were given credit for the section and bussed out. The credit appeased almost all because on balance these were the worst xcty ski conditions most of us had ever experienced, in spite of which we had survived what were at times beautiful wilderness scenes and sweeps of trails through nature preserves where we could effortlessly double pole, only to be sadly upset by the horrendous downhill track conditions.

Our team planned to avoid the third section on the second day, a section which entails a truly tortuous up and down trail. Thus we resigned ourselves four sections maximum out of the five, the total number of sections determining the winning team. However, given the conditions – still above freezing but fortunately without rain, we should have been content with three sections again that day by skiing the first one and then the last two ending us up for changing and banqueting at the Lachute Golf Club. Out first two sections covered almost 40 Kms of difficult skiing and only one of us got there in time to get private transport to the second last section before closure. I arrived on time to go through to the toughest and longest section of the CSM however, as for the day before, it closed early due this time to emergency evacuations and so we frustrated few were given credit for the section and bussed out. While I had tried to be allowed into the third section the day before, I whimpered softly this time round, having dreaded the thought of that Riviere Rouge section, sinking myself gratefully into the comfort of a warm bus. Amazingly, some several hundred Coureur aspirants made it to the finish line, all sections completed. The “Golds” in particular, some having slept out more than 30 times over the years, are the true “Jackrabbit “ followers. I saluted them admiringly when called up to talk about the event.

For me countless CSM memories will persist. However I am grateful to have arrived intact at the close of the CSM’s 50th celebration and to move on to new adventures rather less taxing on the body. Maintenance mode has become my credo and where I shall remain!

Victor Emery
Feb 2016

Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum

From the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum

February 3, 2016

Dear Honored Members, Members and Skier Friends, I am honored to be writing as the new Chair of the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and Museum (CSHFM). On behalf of the Board of Directors I want to welcome you to a new and exciting year in the future of the CSHFM. It is fitting to begin with a special thank you on all our behalf to Chris Edgell who has devoted so much time over many years, stewarding our institution and legacy through some very challenging times. Without his devotion and dedication we would not be where we are today. Thank you Chris!

It has been some time since so many of you actively support the proposal process where the Board of Directors selected Mont-Tremblant to be the new home location for our institution. This journey to opening new doors is admittedly taking more time than originally envisioned. I have learned now, more than ever before, that all great things do take time and this effort is no exception. I can tell you that we continue to work forward and should have more details to share in the near future. As we move to finalize many of the details regarding our project we continue to have tremendous support from all our partners in the region and across Canada.

Your emails and letters of support are a big part of the reason we will showcase our national skiing heritage here in Mont-Tremblant. Our project needs your continued interest and I hope membership to continue honoring our past, share our present and look to the future.

As a first step I invite you to renew your membership or become a first time member. Be part of an exciting new national, pan Canadian project. Share in our passion, for not just a sport but a way of life. By renewing or establishing your membership, you will provide financial support to the CSHFM at a critical time in our project and help preserve the heritage of the sport we all love. Not to mention the opportunity to receive your copy of Skiing History magazine, an interesting and fun bi monthly publication. It is the world’s most widely circulated magazine about our sport’s past.

Your membership is important to us. Click this link to visit our website membership page.

Legends Classic – This year we are lucky to have be able to combine the Canadian Alpine Ski Team Alumni reunion with our Legends Classic ski race. Picture yourself departing from the same start gate as Nancy Greene, “Jungle” Jim Hunter, Laurie or Kathy Kreiner, Emily Brydon, Peter Duncan and many other of our champions. Click here to register and join us February 27th in a fun and memorable day.

Please feel free to write to me with your ideas or suggestions. I will do my best to reply.

Thank you in advance for your support and my regards,

Stephen Finestone
Chair, CSHFM

Jackrabbit Classic

Source: cbc.ca

The new northern trail, running from Mont-Tremblant to Montebello, may become part of the Canadian Ski Marathon’s official route in years when snow cover is poor. (CSM)

Jackrabbit Classic: Global warming spurs ski marathon organizers to carve out new northern trail
Inaugural cross-country ski event from Mont-Tremblant to Montebello in Herman Smith-Johannsen’s spirit

When 275 skiers set out from Domaine Saint-Bernard in Mont-Tremblant at 6 a.m. on Saturday in the direction of the Ottawa River, they will be following roughly in the tracks once skied by Herman “Jackrabbit” Smith-Johannsen on his annual trek from Piedmont to Montebello.

Smith-Johannsen, the Norwegian-born pioneer who coached Canada’s 1932 Olympic ski team and blazed cross-country ski trails throughout the Laurentians, is the stuff of legend – skiing well past his 100th year.

He helped establish the Canadian Ski Marathon and attended it for a last time when he was 110, dying a year later, in 1987, at 111.

Snow cover a climate-change issue

The Canadian Ski Marathon (CSM) turns 50 this year.

However, for the past several years, organizers of the 160-kilometre, two-day event between Gatineau and Lachute have worried about the effects of climate change on snow cover along the Ottawa River – especially on the low-lying areas west of Montebello.

“We’ve had years when the snow is not so good,” said Paul “Boomer” Throop, the one-time coach of Canada’s national ski team who is past-president of the CSM. “The western trail really won’t hold snow because of all the farmers’ fields it crosses.”

There is no immediate plan to change the ski marathon’s route permanently, although that may be down the road, Throop said.

“Our intention now is to have a backup.”

Throop said the Papineauville heavy-equipment operator who has been responsible for trail-cutting, grooming and sign-posting the route for years, Denis Marcotte, has long advocated for a northern trail, to go where the snow is more reliable.

“Now he’s created it,” Throop said.

Farmers, municipalities enthusiastic

Of course, when Johannsen plied the route, there were no double-tracked trails, no water stations or pit stops.

“He would just bushwhack,” his granddaughter Karin Austin said. “He had an amazing sense of direction. He was born with a compass in his brain.”Herman ‘Jackrabbit’ Smith-Johannsen

Austin is the honorary president of the inaugural event, and she will be on hand at the 60-kilometre mark in Boileau and then later, 39 kilometres farther south in Montebello, to hand out medals to the finishers.

“This event is so much in my grandfather’s spirit,” said Austin.

In Johannsen’s day, “he would just ski into a farmhouse and say, ‘I’m Herman Smith-Johannsen, could you put me up for the night?'” Throop said. “And they’d put him up.”

Today, planning a new trail means getting permission to cross the land of dozens of property owners, obtaining the co-operation of snowmobile associations to keep their members’ machines off portions of the route and finding volunteers to shovel snow across roads, escort skiers through towns and villages and hand out water at key points along the way.

Experts only for 1st-time event

Throop said the plan has come together with the help of two other major ski organizations, les Traversées des Laurentides and Ski de Fond Mont-Tremblant, as well as the Redbirds Ski Club, the Arundel Outing Club and municipalities along the entire route.

Participation for this first-time event was limited to expert skiers, but even for experienced skiers, in a year in which the snow arrived so late, 99 kilometres in a single day is a big challenge, Throop said.

“I’ve never skied more than 80 kilometres in one day,” Throop acknowledged. “But I think we’ll be impressed with the number of people who finish it.”

Map of the inaugural Jackrabbit Classic