Today’s post comes from Chris Stromberg, Field Operations Specialist at Quetico Provincial Park.
Quetico Provincial Park is known worldwide among canoeing enthusiasts for its connecting lakes and waterways, undeveloped landscape, and roadless and mechanized travel.
In winter, Quetico becomes very quiet. Casual ice fishermen, snowshoers, or skiers will likely witness many more animal tracks than human signs.
However, in late winter, Aitkokan’s local ski club, The Beaten Path Nordic Trails, hosts a unique event that creates a pattern of ski trails along the icy canoe routes of Quetico Provincial Park.
An annual event in March
The Cross Quetico Lakes Tour is scheduled each year for mid to late March in hopes of enjoying spring skiing ideal for an all-day, multi-lake adventure.
Often the conditions allow you to choose between skate ski or classic.
These ideal conditions do not always exist and since this tour takes place in rural areas and not on equipped ski slopes. Whatever Mother Nature throws at them is what skiers will deal with.
For out-of-town visitors, tour coordinator Chris Stromberg suggests bringing several options of ski equipment, if you have them. There have been a couple of runs where the snow was knee-deep and traditional skiing was the only option.
A thick layer of snow in 2013 turned the ski tour into an adventure of yesteryear
Skiers feeling the spring sun and taking off their morning jackets
Annually, most runs have been ideal for both skating and traditional skiing; The 2019 tour was one of those ideal years.
The participants were accompanied by a pleasant southwest wind at their backs, and a firm crust on lakes that facilitated effortless sliding.
The warm spring sun had the skiers removing their extra clothing before noon.
It is a traditional ski tour.
A participant brings in a lake trout during the lunch break at Pickerel Lake
The Cross Quetico Lakes Tour is not a race. It doesn’t include numbered bibs, stopwatches, or someone handing you sports drinks while you ski.
Participants pack lunch and drinks for a full day of skiing with occasional stops and meet for refreshments.
It’s a tour in its truest sense and returns skiers to the roots of cross-country skiing over frozen lakes and ungroomed portages. What other ski tour do you know where one participant can fish while others enjoy coffee and brunch around a campfire?
Quetico is a lovely place in winter.
Skiers along the coastal cliffs of Batchewaung Bay
Intrigued? Be sure to join us and plan to ski the Quetico canoe trails in 2020!
Join the challenging all-day adventure with a fun group of skiers during the Cross Quetico Lakes Tour.
To see a clip from the 2015 event, watch this video by Chris Evavold – Black River Photography: Cross Quetico Lakes Tour 2015. Find a map of the route and photos of past events here: TravelTheHeart.
For more information about the tour, contact Chris Stromberg at 1-807-598-1074 or [email protected].