Gatineau Park

Trails Skied: #56, Glide Wax: Vauhti purple, Grip Wax: Carrot

Surprised to read that the parking lots weren't filled to capacity today. As I passed the Old Chelsea off ramp there was a long line of cars... must have been downhillers :( I opted to go further afield today (after spending yesterday afternoon in the maelstrom skiing the bc trails out of P7). Today I opted to go all the way out to the Eardley escarpment road and parked at the "Camp Gatineau" junction to pick up trail 56 (Black... or sometimes Blue?). I met a small group of snowshoers who were staying at Lac Richard yurt and had hiked out to meet some friends who would be joining them tonight but apart from that I saw no one else all day. Skied up to Lac Richard on their tracks and then from there was breaking trail the whole way (and loving it!). Wasn't sure if I'd get my wide boards out this year so this was a real treat. The snow depth varied from 15 to 25cm although I did plow through some knee deep drifts at times. Climbed up and over the main ridge to the junction for the Pontiac lookout (56 green?). I had hoped maybe to find this trail broken out but it was also untouched. Having already used up most of my quotient of fun - and was maybe a little tired - I opted to turn around here and go back to the unofficial lookout. Outbound from the car I set a blistering pace of 3km/hr but once I turned around I more than doubled that in my hard fought tracks. Took a few turns at the lookout and then continued on back enjoying a few more turns on the steep trail descents.

I was particularly keen to see if the huge washed out sections of this trail had been repaired this fall and am pleased to say that the worst sections appeared good as new. There is still a stretch in the last 2km on the way out to Lac Richard that didn't get looked after. They are currently marked with a lot of yellow "danger" tape. Probably ran out of time with so many other repairs to be done and, to be fair, these spots aren't too bad and can wait till next year to be fixed up.

As I returned to Lac Richard I met the group staying at the yurt and they were busy trampling my tracks with their snowshoes ;) They seemed apologetic but I told them that out this far in the park - on this lonely trail - its "catch as catch can". Without formal grooming out here, a snowshoe track is just as good to ski. I don't expect they got too far anyway.

Gatineau park map

Gatineau Park is ski paradise! The network of ski trails offer machine groomed skate skiing and classic skiing as well as little groomed backcountry trails. Multiple access points allow skiers to access a variety of terrain and scenery. The NCC offers season or daily pay rates.

Gatineau park map

For suggestions on where to ski, excellent trail descriptions, photos and maps checkout Michael McGoldrick`s website about recreational xc-skiing in Canada`s National Capital Region (with an emphasis on the Gatineau Park).

Gatineau park map