.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

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FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions..
  1. Rent XC Ski Equipment in Ottawa?
  2. Cross Country Ski Lessons in Ottawa and Gatineau?
  3. Where can I find a ski club for my family?
  4. How can I become a member of the XC Ottawa racing team?
  5. Buy and Sell Used XC Ski Equipment?
  6. Where can I cross-country ski in the Greater Ottawa/Gatineau Area?
  7. Can you give me driving directions to Ottawa cross-country ski trails?
  8. Can I take the bus to the Gatineau Park from Ottawa?
  9. Roller skiing in Gatineau Park?
  10. When does the snow usually fall in Ottawa, and how long does it stay?
  11. How can I support your team? Where can I buy from your sponsrors?
  12. When are the races in Ottawa?

Be sure to checkout our `That's an Excellent Question!` series for answer to excellent, but less common questions. Still have a question? Email us at info@xcottawa.ca we'll try to help.

Q: Where can I cross-country ski in the Greater Ottawa/Gatineau Area?
Q:Can you give me driving directions to Ottawa cross-country ski trails?

Here's an easy way to find new places to ski in the Ottawa area and get driving directions.

View Larger Map
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Q: XC Ski Lessons in Ottawa and Gatineau?

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Q: Can I take the bus to the Gatineau park from Ottawa?

Basically you need to transfer from an OC Transpo to an STO bus going to Cite-des-jeunes. You can get maps and schedules from STO and OC Transpo.

Here's a first hand account of using this system to ski by George Reid posted on www.TriRudy.com.

From Ottawa South, OC Transpo #1 or #7 to Bank and Wellington, switch to an STO bus going west on Wellington. The STO 31, 33, 35 buses go the Gabrielle-Roy CEGEP on Boulevard Cite-des-jeunes just up the road from Asticou and the Skinouk Relais Pleine-Aire.

Any bus that gets you to the bus transfer points between the Rideau Center and the Hudson's bay store will work.

STO # 37 also goes to the CEGEP, but it goes East along Wellington and may wait around the market for a while. it is a good choice for coming home because the 31/33/35 go to the market and rideau centre before going out wellington.

All the busses 31/33/35 take about the same amount of time, +- five minutes. Lots of buses on weekdays, not bad on Saturdays. Sunday is a little sparse.

A friend of mine would catch an STO bus out Tache and start from the very bottom of the park. I don't know those bus routes and I don't like ski-ing the trail between Tache and Gamelin. The trail goes very close to the road in places and there is a lot of salt and dirt on the trail. I like my skis :-)

An octranspo transfer plus 25 or 50 cents will get you on an sto bus. Returning, I paid cash to the STO bus ($2.75 ??)and the sto transfer is accepted on octranspo. Probably similar if you have an octranspo pass instead of a transfer.

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Q: Roller skiing in Gatineau Park?

(Modified: Sept. 24, 2004)

XC Ottawa has received a number of queries regarding roller skiing in Gatineau Park this fall. This note is intended to be a guide to roller skiing in the Park during the fall months. It explains the history of roller skiing in the Park (leaving out the grisly details like square inches of skin left on pavement at the Mica Intersection), and attempts to clarify the seemingly complicated set of rules governing the activity. It also contains a handy-dandy map that you can review! Bear in mind, however, that the opinions and advice contained below do not constitute the official position of either the National Capital Commission or the Government of Quebec, and that XC Ottawa is not responsible for any legal damages or liabilities as a result of following the advice below!

Gatineau Park has a beautiful network of roads that, due to limited traffic and winter closure, are in great roller-skiing condition. The Gatineau, Fortune and Champlain Parkway loop, generally referred to as "The Loop", is roughly 22km long. The stretch from the Gatineau-Champlain "T" stretches another 8km. (Confused about location? Consult the map below.) This much good pavement, combined with the rolling terrain of the Gatineau hills, makes for some of the best roller skiing in the country!

The bad news, however, is that roller skiing in Quebec on roads open to traffic is illegal according to the Quebec Highway Act. If you are caught roller skiing on the roads in the park, or anywhere else, you face fines and other discouraging penalties such as license demerit points. On the bright side, roller skiing on roads that are closed to traffic is legal (and very sexy, too). The Gatineau Park is closed to traffic at specific times and in specific locations, and we've laid these out below for you.

During the summer months, the Gatineau Park teams up with Alcatel Networks to host "Bike Sundays", during which the parkways are closed to traffic from 6AM until 11AM. The stretch from P8-P9 (known as the Doldrums to those who spend too much time there) is left closed until 1PM, so that kids on bikes, hard core roller bladers and roller skiers can go back and forth until their hearts are content. The closure is intended mainly for cyclists, but roller skiing is also encouraged. Please be careful, however, to avoid getting in the way of the two-wheelers- they aren't able to turn very well when descending hills at fast speeds. If you are doing a U-turn on rollerskis, or making any erratic movements, please shoulder check. These Sunday closings last until Labour Day.

In addition to the Sunday Bike Days, the gates at P8 to P9 close to traffic at 6:00 pm until dusk every Tuesday & Thursday from May 25 to Oct 28. In September the gates close earlier to accommodate the loss of daylight. Linda and Reg Landry of Chelsea Nordic look after this, and for that the ski community is very, extremely, can-never-thank-them enough grateful. If you want to help with gate closures and/or you noticed that the gates need to be re-opened, please call Linda Landry at 827-7678 or 82sport!

Can't get out after work during the fall? Take heart: this is where the NCD ski Clubs - Nakkertok, Skinouk, Chelsea, Orleans and XC Ottawa- come to the rescue of the weekend warriors and the parents of junior skiers! At this point we should mention our indebtedness and eternal thanks to Cross Country Canada (CCC), the cross-country skiing governing body in Canada, and its local National Capital Division (NCD), for negotiating closures with the National Capital Commission. The parties came to an agreement that recognizes the importance of roller skiing in the Gatineau Park. The NCC-NCD agreement allows the local clubs to close sections of the parkway so that skiers can legally roller ski every Saturday and Sunday morning from Labour Day until the first snow fall (after the first snowfall, the parkways close for the winter). The clubs close 2 stretches of parkway every weekend morning from 6AM until 10AM. The stretches are from P8-P9 and from P8 up the Gatineau Parkway to the Gatineau-Chaplain Parkway "T". This portion of the Park has some very varied terrain, with hills steep enough to challenge even the most determined one-skater, and flats flat enough to please the youngest roller-munchkin.

During this Fall period, the Gatineau Park is quite busy with the Fall Rhapsody season. The colourful fall foliage attracts tourist in droves, and we mean droves, with serious traffic jams on nice weekend afternoons. (Background reading: Traffic Jam in the Park) All of these tourists, and their wallets, are important to the NCC, Gatineau Park and Chelsea area. They are the reason you can ski for super-cheap, and buy super-yummy-delicious brownies from the Bakery in the Park. However, they are also the reason that the NCC prefers roller-skiers not to ski during open-traffic times.

For all of our sakes, please enjoy roller-skiing only when the parkways are closed (which brings to mind the following question: does anyone really enjoy rollerskiing on a chilly October morning when it's pouring rain, 2 degrees outside, and fallen leaves ice up the roads?) Seriously, though, it's for all of our benefits to respect the times outlined above. The NCC-NCD agreement exists only through the grace of the NCC and the hard work of the NCD, a group of volunteers who are trying to make ski training work for all of us. The NCC can cancel the agreement at any time, and bandit roller-skiers will contribute to their willingness to do so.

And, of course, when you do run into those tourists, in the parking lots or on the running trails, smile nice and be happy-friendly, and help them if they're lost- the big bad Park is a scary place to those who don't know it.

Keep it real, keep it rolling, and keep it righteous, ya'll!

This has been a public-service message from your local community service club,
XC Ottawa.

PS - You can also roller ski on the Ottawa-Gatineau bike paths. Here are a few routes we recommend. (Just scout the downhills before taking them full speed, there are a few sharp corners in Gatineau that aren't rollerskier friendly!)

Tom and Ian's Loop which starts at Petoria Bridge in Ottawa and loops through the Gatineau Park and comes back along the Ottawa river through Gatineau for a total of 35km.

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Q: When does the snow usually fall in Ottawa, and how long does it stay?

A good question, and let us all hope it occurs early this year. The snow season in Ottawa is usually fairly consistent. Skiing is possible but sketchy in late November, passable in early December, and usually amazing around Christmas. There are years when it is later than that, however. The snow is usually good to ski on in the Park until late March, and skiing can be eked out until mid to late April. In late April, however, XC Ottawa prefers to build a jump on the closed downhill run, sit back, and break some old rock-skis.

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Q: Where can I find a ski club for my family?

There are a whole whack of clubs in the Ottawa area, some old and some new. Here's a brief summary..

Chelsea Nordiq:

Chelsea is located in, where else, Chelsea, at the entrance to the Gatineau Park. They use the Park trails as their base, and run a wide variety of programs including Jackrabbits.

Kanata Racers:

Kanata Racers in another family-oritned club, located in Kanata.


Nakkertok Ski Club is a club located in Cantley, just east of the Gatineau Park. It has two trail systems and several cabins, and runs a variety of programs. It hosts one of the largest Jackrabbit programs in Canada.


Skinouk is a large ski club located in Gatineau. It is bilingual (mostly French), has a new clubhouse, and offers a wide range of progarmming.

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Q: How can I become a member of the XC Ottawa racing team?

First of all, we're flattered you asked! XC Ottawa is not a ski club, it's a racing team. Our purpose, as you can read in the 'about us' section of the website, is to support high-performance skiers and provide a home for those skiers who actively pursue other interests, such as work or school. We have limited coaching and financial resources, and so we have to limit our numbers. We put out membership applications in early April of each year, and select the team by early May. If you are a serious ski racer who is interested in training hard, we encourage you to put in an application. If you don't think you're in the above category, get in touch with us anyway or become a member on our website, and we'll help you find the part of the ski community where you fit in best.

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Q: How can I support your team? Where can I buy from your sponsrors?

XCOttawa.ca works hard to recruit and maintain partnerships with various individuals, companies and organizations. If you are interested in discussing how you can get involved with XCOttawa please read our Information for potential sponsors package (PDF). We're always open to discussing sponsorship arrangements or receiving chesques (hint, hint).

An easy way to help us maintain this website and fund our programs is to buy product from our sponsors. Here's ways you can do that..

Buy a shirt from our Klister Licker Shop!. These were all designed by Jessica Spring of JSID. If you contract design work from her and mention we refered you, we get a small kick-back ... all legal of course. :)

Infinity ski poles can be ordered on-line through us - Buy Infinity Poles from XCOttawa.ca

Vauhti ski waxes are available at Fresh Air Experience, Greg Christie's and at both Pecco's locations.

Rudy Project sunglasses are available at Bushtukah and Kiwi Mike's.

Eload sports drink and Emend recovery drink are available at Greg Christie's and Bushtukah.

Clif Bars are sold all over Ottawa: Mountain Equipment Coop, Bushtukah, Trailhead, the Natural Food Pantry, Herb & Spice, Loeb Glebe, Glebe Aphothecary, Kardish Specialty Foods, as well as several Loblaws locations.

XC Zone ski videos and DVDs are widely distributed, but we suggest either using their website xczone.tv or Greg Christie's.

Fresh Air Experience is the official retailer of the Canadian National Cross Country Ski Team, and carries a large variety of ski equipment and clothing. They have been open in Ottawa since 1969.

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Q: Buy/Sell Used XC Ski Equipment?

The best places to do this in Ottawa are:

There are many other local ski swaps held annually.

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Q1: Where to Rent XC Ski Equipment in Ottawa?

Many local stores rent xc ski gear. We suggest calling the stores for availability and prices as their rental fleets change from year to year.

2012/01 - Boots, poles and ski rental were available here:
Fresh Air = $15 for day 1 $10 for additional days, on Wellington
Greg Christie = $35 / day, old Chelsea, open Wednesday 10-6
TTrailhead = $15 per day, $50 for 5 days, $25 for weekend, pick up after 5pm due back next day on Scott St

2012/01 - No luck here:

Kundstadt = no pricing on website Glebe 613-233-4820, not much inventory in classic
Bushtukah = no pricing on website 613-792-1170, no rentals
Pecco’s = no pricing on website 888-595-6556 Murray Street, no rentals
MEC = no rentals this winter

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Q: When are the races in Ottawa?

NCD Volunteer Extraordinaire John Langstone maintains the NCD Calendar with all the local races on the NCD website - www3.sympatico.ca/jlangs/ncd/.

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Interested in supporting XC Ottawa or advertising on our site? Email: info@xcottawa.ca.
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