March 2001 NewsLetter
|President Message||Jack Rabbit and Bunnyrabbit Corner|
|DD's Supper Club Mad Hatters||A Day at the Races|
|Canadian Ski Marathon||Ski O Results|
|Welcome New and retourning members||Touring|
PRESIDENTS MESSAGE -- MARCH NEWSLETTER / 2001 At
the moment of writing, in late February, we can look back on one
of the best snow years in recent memory. Trail preparation and
maintenance have also been excellent, allowing us the opportunity
to spend some great days on our extended trail network. This
season, part of the trails in the Lac Notre Dame area have been
included on trial basis. Regrettably, the previous problem, with
access from Jackson Road to the eastern end of Lac Edouard,
remains at an impasse. In addition, the first couple of
kilometers of the Crown East , going south from Lac
Edouards eastern end, has been out of bounds since the land
owner has withdrawn access. Our special sub-committee, formed
last year to examine the future of trail and land use, is now
looking into other options including a possible link-up with the
Crown trail system directly from the western part of our racing
The Jackrabbit / Bunnyrabbit program with our new coach Brian Morin and the Challenge / Racing program with Rick Nesbitt and Sylvie Bouffard, are continuing to be very popular and successful. The Saturday touring program has enjoyed large and enthusiastic turnouts; unfortunately, the much looked-forward-to Valdurn tour had to be abandoned, as a result of the same storm that forced the cancellation of the first day of the CSM. Unless new snow falls soon, it is also possible that the remaining two tours, the popular Loken tour and the Lac Superior - Mont Tremblant 5 day outing, may have to be cancelled or postponed, as a result of the freezing rain that fell on Loppet weekend.
On Saturday, January 27th, we had our traditional Pot Luck Supper or Social Dinner Evening at the Club House with a full turnout, this year organized by Daphne and David Mitchell. The food and ambience were indeed first class, following a day of great skiing.
Pierre Fluet and J. P. Campeau have recently completed a site review of trail intersection markers on all of our trails. An order is being placed for additional signs required and it is envisaged that all trail intersections will be fully identified, both in the field and on our trail map, by the end of the present ski season. A review is also underway of Vikings present trail identification and information signs to see what improvements or modifications should be made.
On February 25th, Loppet was held for the 29th time. This year it was scheduled one week earlier than usual because of past uncertainties with snow and weather. From my personal experience, the last few loops around the Red (Viking-50k), turned out to be quite an adventure, with the changing precipitation, ranging from snow, ice pellets of varying size and intensity, to freezing rain.
At this point in the season, I wish to express appreciation and thanks to all those who have volunteered in our many various activities such as hosting, childrens and youth programs, touring, social events, phone committees, Loppet events, Club House and trail maintenance etc. Particular thanks go to the Directors and Co-ordinators for all their contributions. I would also very much like to thank our Newsletter Editor, Helen Matheson, for her ongoing and tireless work in the production of our Newsletters. You may have noticed recently that the Viking web-site has undergone significant transformation, and from incoming enquiries and number of site-visits, it is clear that we are reaching and responding to an ever-increasing audience. We are very appreciative of Richard Labonvilles continuing work in this specialized area.
On behalf of the Directors, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the new members who have joined Viking during the season and wish everyone in the Club some glorious weeks of Spring skiing now that warmer weather is approaching.
DDs Supper Club for Mad Hatters!
Popular highlight, and welcome mid-season break on the Viking social calendar, is the traditionally termed "Pot Luck Supper". Making their brave debut as first time event organizers were David and Daphne (Mitchell). They pulled it off as the 45 well-fed and entertained attendees will eagerly attest!! Strictly speaking, the "Luck" bit has been placed in Chef Rons Ste. Anne de Bellevue restaurants "Pots" ..not unlike Mr. Fawlty ordering out meals for guests at his Faulty Towers Hotel! Behind the scenes logistics for this gastronomic event involved the services of a bonded vehicle and appropriate security .all this to convey the valuable cargo from Chef Rons premises on the West Island up to the Viking clubhouse. Thanks for this task must go to Mike and Mary Hiles Fargo! Timing is everything, as delivery organizers must face natures laws of thermodynamics i.e. hot things tend to cool down pretty quickly. Enter the womans sauna. Any late sauna takers may well have thought that they were traveling in the first class galley aboard an SAS flight! Hot mashed Swedes (turnips that is) anyone?
Around 5:30 PM saw the lower lounge transformed into a room full of Mad Hatters, unsuspecting members might wonder if the Saturday childrens program was still in progress. For visual entertainment, Supper Club attendees had been advised to attire themselves with innovative headgear. Secretly appointed judges were quietly going about their work of grading talking heads during the mulled apple cider cocktail hour. Later, prizes were awarded for hat categories covering: the most Viking-like, the smallest, the largest, and the least useful for trail clearing!
Daphne and toiling co-workers finally gave the word that the scene was all set for cocktailers to migrate to the upper dinning section for the Main Event which delectably comprised:
|Country Style Beef Stew Chicken Pasta & Cheese Sauce Rice Pilaff Roasted Vegetables and Peppers Potatoe Boulangière Mashed Turnip and Squash||.and for desert Lemon, Lime and Orange Pie Apple Pie & Chocolate Cake|
From all this you might conclude that Vikings is a gourmet club with a skiing problem!
All fine occasions must come to an end, tables cleared pots and pans to be cleaned, but here it was performed to the accompaniment of a strumming guitar thanks to Sandy and stalwart folk singing voice of Doug. and other more memory lapsed vocal supporters!
In concluding, appreciative thanks go to Daphne, David and their supporting cast and crew in pulling it all off and keeping a great Viking tradition alive!
Ski O Results
Half a Canadian Ski Marathon is better than none at all!
With the text book perfect winter so far and only a few days to go for the "Great Event", organizers and participants alike anticipated it would be a shoe-in for a great Canadian Ski Marathon on 10/11 February weekend. Alas, a potential dream turned into a nightmare in a very short space of time! On the Friday, a wicked cocktail of rain, freezing rain, gale force winds, followed by plunging temperatures, came in from the west (thanks Mega City Toronto!) and wrought havoc for everything and everybody involved. Beautifully rolled and double track set prepped ski trails were rendered into what could be best described as glazed porcelain. As well, they were strewn with pine cones, twigs, branches and the odd capsized tree such had been the violence of wind gusts.
Participants driving to the various Montebello area venues on Friday evening met with traffic jams as police and tow trucks dealt with numerous icy highway "spin-offs". In our own personal case, one of our companions just could not get to our country B&B due to ice-sheet covered roads and only a few kilometers to go he ended up sleeping over night in his vehicle!
Saturday morning and participants diligently got up early, breakfasted, and set off for the school buses but none were running. At first it was announced in the lounge of the Chateau Montebello that all bus schedules would be advanced by 2 hours. A little later it was announced that, due to the extreme conditions, Saturdays event, at least, was declared officially cancelled. Later that morning, we witnessed first hand for ourselves the trail conditions and concluded that the organizers had indeed made a very wise decision, skiing on boiler plate would have been softer than the surface trail conditions that day! I believe that this was the first time in its 35 years such a cancellation had been made. Our sympathies went out to all the hard working organizers and volunteers who had done so much preparation work and now to "abandon ship" for the 5 sections between Lachute and Montebello. Some hope, at least, was held out that Sunday, the 5 sections on to Buckingham would be "a go" since the weather was predicted to remain below zero and be sunny.
Resigned to our fates, it seemed people fell into two camps.-either becoming lounge lizards and curling up in front of the Chateaus magnetic fireplace ..or to at least get out for a walk or even a short ski on the local 2 km loop around the Chateau, it having at least the benefit of being "de-iced". It must be said that the Chateau Montebello lounge is pleasantly conducive to meeting fellow Vikings, friends and those "once a year" encounters with fellow Marathoners, all sharing the magic of this event. Those old railway barons of the 20 and 30s certainly knew a thing or two about ambiance in generously timbered structures!
Sunday morning and it was Marathon business as usual. Thanks to the event organizers, a massive Bombardier machine had been deployed to mince up the nasty and lethal glazed porcelain trails into user-friendly icing sugar trails....little short of a miraculous over night transformation! Our bachelor trio (granted temporary divorces for this weekend only) set off for the first 16 km section out of Montebello around 8:50 am with Jack Frost nipping our heels at a cool 18 degrees below zero.
Feeling in good shape, we all decided to press on for a second section of some 15 km, but this can best be described as a re-enactment of Scott's expedition to the North pole.....facing head on relentless winds across seemingly endless flat exposed fields! No stopping for idle picnics (or toilets stops) on this stretch! The only saving grace was the brilliant sun and blue skies. Never has final arrival at a check point been more welcome...hot soup, Gatorade, cookies etc. all served up by wind swept but cheery volunteers! With 31 km under our belts by 1 p.m., we mutually agreed to press on for a third section...described as only being 12.5 km. Scenery-wise it was the best and being mostly in the forest, we had some rest bite from frost bite, those cursed vicious winds. Maybe perceptions begin to wane toward the end of the days exertions, but it seemed a slogging 90% uphill and 10% downhill....had we not been cheated of our gravity along the way? The usual morale affecting ¼ , ½ and ¾ signs, were missing (visual faculties fading too?) and it was not until a faint image of a yellow school bus through the trees, plus 100 deci-Bells booming out "I feel so sexy in my shirt".....actually heralded the arrival of this forest-secluded Check Point No.9....our last for the day! The face-saver was that the next section was officially closed so no need to discuss whether we should contemplate a fourth section! Phew...we had skied a total of 45 km not bad, we concluded, for us old geezers!!
With the trio all assembled, we took the school bus back to the Chateau for a celebratory refreshment round the fireplace and then set off home....highways now dry and clear, we drove back to Montreal in a fraction of the time it took to come up on that dreadful Friday evening!
Jackrabbit and Bunnyrabbit Corner
We were blessed with plenty of snow and excellent weather conditions for the first five lessons of the season. The twelve new Jackrabbits in the first weeks classe daccueil found their places in the various JR groups.
The extended tours were refreshingly different for all those who rarely get to go north of the Clubhouse. Combining this with an on-trail lesson that day made for a memorable morning for both those who could and those who could not find their instructor at the appropriate time. The February 3rd lesson at the old Bellevue Ski Hill location received a thumbs-up for a nice change. For Viking instructors it was a reminder of years past when it provided the alternate location for poor conditions at Viking, and for heads of families, a reminder of pre-children days when they used to ski the Triangle, Salzburg and Bellevue regularly. Some of the groups will see the Bellevue Ski Hill again at the end of a point-to-point tour coming up soon.
JR 5 plus group
Under the leadership of Peter Kirby and Arne Moore, many of the JR 5 group have been able to take advantage of an enriched program that has included Saturday afternoon tours and Sunday skiing with the Challenge group. Many thanks to Rick and Sylvie for welcoming them into their group.
Jeux du Quebec Regional races
The Lac-St-Louis and Montreal/Concordia regional qualifying races for the Jeux du Québec in Rimouski in March were held January 27th, 2001 on the trails of Gai Luron Ski Centre. Karen Oljemark was there in support of
participating Viking Jackrabbits and she reports elsewhere in the newsletter on what happened.
The qualifying race for the Lanaudière region, La Coupe de Lanaudière, was held at Montagne Coupée on Saturday, February 17th. Sarah Moore and Erika Ladouceur from our JR 5 group entered this race under the close supervision of Arne Moore. The track crossed open fields where strong winds caused the course to disappear under drifting snow. With a field of 8 participating in the Mini-Midget category, the 3km skating race lasted only 14 minutes. The standings are listed below.
Reports from those Jackrabbit families who participated in the Canadian Ski Marathon were nothing but positive, even though freezing rain and water on the lakes resulted in the cancellation of Saturday skiing for the first time in the Marathons history. (Coincidentally and without guilt, Viking JR lessons were also cancelled that day.) Those returning to ski sections of the marathon on Sunday were rewarded with good weather and skiing conditions after organizers had spent considerable time working the trails. Maaike Hibbeln Kirby, Sarah Moore, and Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt completed 3 sections. Alba Taylor-Cape, Erika Ladouceur and Sarah Lone completed one section. Congratulations to all participants, especially those parents who willingly gave their time so that these JRs could experience this unique event.
Geoff Anderson and Alice Havel
JR/BR Program Coordinators
A Day at the Races
|And theyre off! On
Saturday, January 27th, I spent a day at the
races, ski races that is. I showed up bright and early at
the Gai Luron Ski Center just north of St-Jérome, site
of the Jeux du Québec Regional Trials for the Lac
St-Louis and Laurentian Regions. I was there to help out
some young Viking skiers, Sarah Moore and Erika
Ladouceur, who wanted to try out for the Jeux du Québec
for the first time.
We waxed and warmed up to get ready for their late start times. As we waited there was a lot going on to keep us entertained. We watched the skiers who had earlier start times start and finish with great cheers and ringing of cowbells from the crowds lined up along the course. There were hundreds of young racers skiing around lending a festive air to the site in their brightly-coloured outfits. Hundreds more spectators were there to cheer
on their favourite skiers and to join in the excitement of the event.
With a last pep talk from dad Mario, mom Christina (Ladouceur family) and me, our skiers were all ready to go. They completed their 3.7 kilometer race in very respectable times, Sarah finishing first in her category and Erika finishing fourth. All Viking youngsters who participated in the event did the club proud, all skiing their best that day. A few of them will continue on to participate in the Jeux du Québec Finals, to be held March 3-4-5 in Rimouski. Should you like to see some of the action of these Games, tune in to RDS March 2 - 10. See your television directory for more precise viewing information. Youll most likely see some cross-country skiing March 5 and 6 from 17h30 to 18h30.
Welcome New and Returning Members
Viking extends a warm welcome to new members previous members who have rejoined and Lac Notre Dame, Association members including:
|John Allman and
Robert Boucher et Famille
Nissen Chackowicz and Deborah Cohen
John and Sharon Cozens and Family
Julie de Chazal
Mohamed Elamiri and Anniken Kloster
Daryl and Tracey Erickson
Michael Evans and Micheline Gosselin
Ted Fairhurst and Rosanna Grande
|Martin and Hannah
Ian and Marie Gilbert
Peter and Rhea Grutter
André Larocque and Nathalie Cuende
Berndt and Marianne Lindquist
Michael and Ann Loken
John McInnis and Lynda Beriault
Heather McShane and Family
David Marshall and Ulle Doettling
David Percival and Holly Robertson
Carol Pomerantz and Rhonda Fisher
Charles Sabourin and Marjolaine Bourque
Alain Sioui et Famille
Dale Stilwell and Casey Scott
Peter Stoyel and Benita Verwoerdt
Chris and Louisa Teron
Mark Ware and Susan Smith
Drew Wawin and Nicola Philpott
Frank Wiemer and Patricia Orsoni
Doug and Kati Yeats
Blessed by a combination of timely snowfalls and clement weather our tours have attracted a large number of Viking skiers and have been of exceptional quality in terms of weather, ski conditions and hospitality. Steve and Winona Sewell welcomed 29 of us on January 6th to their house on Lac Brulé. The trail was in tip top shape and the temperature was 5 degrees. Diane and Bill Pollock hosted the crowd for our lunch stop.
Robert Weilers tour on January 13th was attended by 22 skiers at 5 degrees C. We did the Triangle and Salzburg trails which were in fast but excellent condition.
On January 20th we were at Lou and Jean Lukanovichs house on Lac Notre Dame. We skied the Notre Dame trail which has been extensively re-routed and packed by Vikings able crew of Pierre and Doug. It was a sunny 12 degrees C and 32 Vikings attended.
On February 3rd Sylvie Fendle welcomed 19 of use at Auberge Suisse. We started up the Viking West to the Rapide Blanc. We wanted to climb up to one of the look-outs but the trail had not been broken and the snow rather deep so we turned around before reaching our objective, returned to Lovers Leap, back on Corbeau to the Viking West and then back to the Auberge. The larger group turned west on the Corbeau to the Alpine, Dutch Dash and back to the Auberge. The new proprietors, a young couple from France provided a delicious bowl of homemade soup in their charming inn.
Chris and Linda Lyles tour on February 10th had to be cancelled because of freezing rain the day before and their renowned soup went begging.
Aben MacKenzie turned over his Mt. Legault tour of February 17th to Niels Hollum but the Northern Laurentians had received no fresh snow since the previous weeks rain and since this is a tour which requires fresh snow we had to cancel. However, the following day conditions were excellent for Stan and Sandy Cytrenbaums tour from their cottage on Blue Hills Lake Cook. Thirteen of us went along the Portageur, Birkebeiner, Coureur de Bois, Chevreuil and Edelweis back to Ruth Braithwaites house where our co-host was waiting for us.
Walter Van Walsum reports that the Thursday tours have a core group of 7 participants with as many as 10 and conditions have been as great as the Saturday trips.
I hope to see yall at the Loken Tour March 3rd and Michael Dohrendorfs Tremblant trip the following week. The last I heard there was still room at the Auberge Versant Nord where we shall be staying. Phone Michael at 437-4092 (H) or 932-8660 (B) for details. Some of us are going up as early as Thursday March 7th.
Gordon Cohen, Touring Coordinator
Congratulations Marathoner Roman Jezek!!
For the second year in a row, Viking member, Roman Jezek, who will be 87 years young in May this year, was the oldest skier participating in the 35th Canadian Ski Marathon contributing four sections to the total of sections completed by the Viking Maxi Team. Roman recounts his experience from what he refers to as the "the agony and the ecstasy" weekend.
"Not far from the start at Section 6, on the 2nd day, while accommodating a young and eager skier passing me on a narrow, climbing section, I lost my balance and fell awkwardly into the deep, soft snow on the shoulder. What a shock and disappointment to find myself with a broken binding on one of my skis and the screws hardly holding. What could I do now? The easiest solution would be to give up and return to the starting point. But what about our motto, "Viking Members NEVER give Up!" (Viking, December 1999). This slogan gave the answer! I am happy to report, that with special caution and perseverance, I reached the next check point, CP 7, where I got a replacement for the missing part of the broken binding and was thus able to complete the next section with flying colours."
Roman plans this year to repeat the Sprint Triathlon he completed in Toronto on July 8th 2000 where he won a first place for Men 75 Years and Older. Go get em Roman!