NORDIC SKIING — You don't have to leave North America to participate in one of the longest, toughest nordic skiing events on the planet, but it might help to brush up on your French.
The annual Canadian Ski Marathon involves skiing 100 miles over two days in Quebec while carrying a 30-pound pack and camping out overnight in temperatures that can drop below zero.
Participation peaked at about 3,500 people in the '80s and organizers expect about 2,000 entries for the 45th edition on Feb. 12-13. Many skiers take on only a portion of the route each day. Those who want to ski all 100 miles enter the Coureur des Bois category, which is named for the woodsmen who skied and snowshoed between the traps they set in the region's streams and forests.
It's a classic event with emphasis on the cross-country skiing roots of adventure and camaraderie.
First run in 1967 as part of Canada's centennial celebration, the world's longest ski tour follows a route just north of the Ottawa River in Quebec's Western Laurentian Mountains. The course is broken into 10 sections, five each day, of approximately 10 miles each.
Get more information on the Canadian Ski Marathon in this Associated Press story.
Other great North American ski marathons closer to the Inland Northwest include: