Thursday, February 26, 2015

Remembering the First Canadian Ski Marathon

By: Olivia Oka

Rating ****

This article highlights the first ever Canadian ski marathon that took place about 50 years ago when 375 cross-country skiers took off on February 18, 1967 at Fairview Shopping Centre in Pointe Claire, Quebec.

The article talks about the cold weather, minus 25 degrees Celsius and the 192 km, three day journey to Ottawa to celebrate Canada’s Centennial.  It also talks about the fact that in those days, there were no fancy equipment or clothing.  They used wooden skis with pine tar and wore cotton and wool.  They didn’t have any hi-tech materials or equipment.

The article continues with the adventures over the three days.  They stayed in hotels or in the homes of people and there was entertainment in the evenings.  There were young skiers and old skiers, the oldest being Herman Smith-Johannsen who was 91 years old.  There were also participants from other countries, including Finland, Great Britain, New Zealand, and Italy.

I really enjoyed reading this article.  I thought about having to be able to ski in the cold with just wool and cotton clothing.  I also thought about the advancements in technology that has occurred in the sport over the past 50 years.  I think what was most inspiring of all was the fact that everyone participated with the true ideal of sport-to have a good time.  Although it was a race, it seemed that people were just happy to be involved in a three day race over 192 km.


Pollock, Bill.  Remembering the First Canadian Ski Marathon.”  Ottawa Outdoors, Winter 2014:  page 10.

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