Garry and I got an early start this morning, leaving a half-full P10 around 8:30. (Note that P8 was already full at this early hour). We found excellent skating conditions on fresh grooming ascending the FLP. Garry turned west at the Ridge Road intersection while I opted for the better grooming on the Parkway and we at the Champlain Lookout. Ridge had been compacted, but the surface was still uneven for fast skating. Snow coverage was good through the Khyber Pass. West of the lookout Ridge (1A) had been freshly groomed with a nice flat skate lane and very good classic tracks. Garry turned around at the intersection with 2 above Western, but the fresh grooming continued to the west. On our return we encountered hordes of skiers ascending the LP and CP, and several kid’s teams doing drills. It was great to see so many skiers out enjoying the excellent conditions, but it was very crowded. Demsis has positioned the south classic track almost in the center of the CP, which provides a wide lane for service snowmobiles but leaves little room for skiers, particularly skaters going in opposite directions, or young team skiers skiing two abreast while chatting with their team mates. Descending the FLP we found a skier traffic jam, including skiers stopped perpendicular to the one single descending track. Needless to say when we returned to P10 it was full, and P9 looked completely jammed.
Same loop as Wednesday: Penguin climb - 19 - 34 - 6 but much improved. The hill for #1 is fully groomed and tracked by machine and is in perfect mid-winter shape. The forest trails are more skied in and most of the watery spots have frozen. We were on the Meech Lake climb (2 & 40) yesterday and grooming was minimal so I would recommend Penguin for those who like fast descents. I hope the warmer weather this weekend does not ruin the conditions.
Conditions are perfect for classic skiing today. Lots of snow with nothing poking through on our route. #30, #1 and the parkway are groomed, #3 has snowmobile grooming plus ski tracks which makes for a very enjoyable route. Demsis has done a very good job. The scenery is magnificent at the moment and not to be missed. I imagine it will hold together, though with warmer waxes needed, until the rain comes later tomorrow. P5 was almost full whereas P7 was empty, perhaps because #30 & #1 had not been labelled as groomed. So not a lot of skiers seen.
lots of skiers out this morning, P8 was at capacity so parked at P9. Demsis reported fresh grooming, but the tracks were so heavily used by the crowds. Didn't matter as the classic skiing was flawlessly easy and fast on a well compacted mid depth base. Looks and feels like mid-winter conditions. Did 4 passes of the north loop and could've done 4 more easy. I guess most skiers were out today to avoid the rains forecasted for this weekend.
I skated from P5 up the GP and CP to Mulvihill, then down to the Pink Lake lookout before returning. Conditions were just about mid-winter perfect. Fresh grooming and a centimeter of fresh powder at -5C gave great glide and control. The classic tracks are understandably still a bit shallow and wavy, but adequate. Jo-Ann (who skied classic on much the same route) reports excellent classic conditions with easy grip wax selection. Snow has now been shovelled under the bridge where the Kingsmere Road crosses the parkway, so there is now no reason not to use good skis. The trees are still coated with snow from the last major snowfall, reminding me of the scenery in the BC coast mountains. Beautiful! Get out and enjoy if you can, before the rain hits on Sunday. The only downside is that there are lots of other skiers out- P5 was nearly full all morning.
ROUTE: from P8 up to the Champlain T and then up again to the Mackenzie King turn off
SKATE: Very good conditions on new grooming. So far, up until noon at least, the skate track was still solid and allowed for good glide and good control. My poles never touched pavement so coverage and depth was excellent. There are some leaves on the trail but nothing that gets in the way.
TRAFFIC: P8 was pretty much at capacity when I got there a bit after 10 and left around 11:30.
Another nice day out. If there had been grooming it had been obliterated with fresh snow. The trail was reasonably well packed, but just the odd area with an actual classic track. Not too many people out, Air temp was around -8C with the odd bit of light, icy, snow. The scenery was magnificent, with the evergreen boughs laden with snow. We were pressed for time, so just made it as far at the Harrington Lake turnaround 4km from P16. Well worth the trip however!
Took the easy loop of 1 - 19 - 34 - "flat part of 6" and it was all good. Some wet spots where you had to be careful not to dip your ski in at -10C. Coverage was fine and the woods were lovely, dark, and deep. It looks like someone was simultaneously walking with a toboggan around 6 in the opposite direction so they may have ruined the tracks that we were using for the flat half of 6. We'll find out next time. The descent was fun on a packed Penguin hill but be careful of the small ruts from the snowmobile runners which can catch your ski.
Classic ski from P10. WOW! At minus 12, and with such perfect grooming, today was as perfect a classic day as you could want. Rarely do we see such beautiful conditions and such stunning scenery. Although I prefer warmer skate conditions, Garry claimed the skating was wonderful. By the way, the connector is now groomed down to P9.
Joint report by Garry and me. A quick skate lap of the Doldrums as dusk was falling. Conditions for skating were remarkably good for so early in the season. The surface was smooth and powdery providing excellent speed and control. I guess everyone is retired now - there were lots of skiers out! Classic tracks - meh. They were quite useable, however still a bit shallow and wavy, with some ice in places.
We made a quick detour towards P5 to check out the beavers. What a peaceful end to the day to watch an entire family of three enjoying their take-out supper of sticks on the ice. (If you are a beaver fan, check out my blog for the beaver video - www. musicianonskis.ca/blog)
Late report from yesterday - sorry about that. Great start to the season and it looks like the next few days will be great too. FLP and trail 1 were both in very good shape, even without much grooming. Skate area was very good with enough space for classic skiers as well. Not sure if Demsis is out supplying the shelters yet; no sanitizers in the outhhouses or Huron Cabin and no paper for getting the wood stove going. Snow was a bit moist yesterday, with clumping issues for grip wax users.
I had not expected to ski today but obligations suddenly disappeared. Mary and I did the 15 - parkway - 7 loop and it was magical. The parkway stretches were groomed and mid-season shape. The trails were glorious on the flats with a little bit of rock scraping when you had to edge for turning or slowing. So many animal tracks - deer, mice, squirrels, and otters sliding right over the ski tracks. We also saw two extensive deer bedding areas which will probably move deeper into the woods now that skiing has started. Great to be out.
Snow conditions were excellent with no ground evident on any of our route. I am surprised that we saw so few other people out. We skied the 55 loop and needed to trail break for about 3 km. We then took the 50 down to the end of Lac Philippe. There is no grooming except for snowmobiles, though these make a reasonable surface.
Skied from P5, between Mica and P8. I couldn't make a decision today, with all the exciting new snow so began with classic and then switched to skate. A single skate lane was nicely groomed and firmly packed, firmer than I expected with all the fresh snow. Classic was quite pleasant and there was LOTS of space to create your own track in the wide area that had been packed but not trackset before the snow stopped this morning. No walkers spotted today. A very nice start to the season! By noon there were quite a few skiers out even though it is a Monday!
Conditions were, as usual, much better in the park than in town. There was complete, though thin, snow coverage on the parkways and on the grass beside them so although I used rock skis, it would have been fine with better ones. It was quite warm and wet so fishscales worked well but others did OK with soft wax. I completed the parkway loop and my friend Dave did too but in the opposite direction, there were very few people trying it out and only the pair of us did the loop.
The Parkway from P9 to P8 had only been very lightly skied and largely on the grass which is where I preferred as it is nicer for the poles there.
Notable were the bear tracks crossing the parkway not far out of P8, I guess its been pretty quiet for them there for a while. Glide down to P10 was disappointing due to the soft and wet snow, and the fishscale skis. Its was a good early season practice and checkout for the gear.
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.
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).