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Around the Ring Road



Base Layer: Getting Down to Basics Freedom and Fun on Skis


Taking Care of your Sleeping Bag

ADVENTURA _ WINTER 2011 _ _ 1 WINTER 2011 _ VOL. 3, NO. 4 _





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Quebec Subaru Dealers’ Association | * Cash purchase starting from $27,635 for the 2011 Forester 2.5X (BJ1XO), with manual transmission. On buying, freight and preparation ($1,525), taxes on air conditioning ($100) and on new tires ($15) are included. Dealer may sell for less. Vehicles shown for illustration purposes only.† Top Safety Pick for all 2011 models. Rating of ˝Good˝ is the highest rating awarded for 40-mph (64 km/h) front offset, 31-mph (49.8 km/h) side-impact and 20-mph (32 km/h) rear impact crash tests and in the roof strength test (rollover protection) conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ( A ˝Good˝ rating obtained in all four crash tests and the availability of the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) (Vehicle Dynamic Control) is necessary to achieve a ˝Top Safety Pick˝. ‡ ALG 2011 Canadian Residual Value Award for the Subaru line-up: first place in Mainstream Brand category.

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CONTENTS // WINTER 2011 :: VOL. 3 :: NO. 4








• Camping 101: How to Take Care

of your Sleeping Bag • ParkBus: Bringing New Campers to Ontario’s Most Spectacular Outdoor Destinations • Developing the Lake Erie Bike Route • Ray Zahab: Running for Change • Tech Meets the Outdoors • Alastair Lee: Capturing Canada’s North



Crawford Lake • Baxter Conservation Area • Montreal’s Hidden Gem

[12] LIVING LARGE Caledon • Mont Saint-Sauveur • Blueberry Lake Resort • Lac Sans Loi


Iceland: Around the Ring Road

GEAR [24] Nordic Skiing: Freedom and Fun [26] Base Layer: Getting Down to Basics [28] MIND & BODY Balancing the Promises of the pH Alkaline Diet

[30] LAST CALL Sleep(walk)ing Bags in the Sahara



The TRIUMPH of Trailblazers The first time I caught a glimpse of the Auberge de montagne des ChicChocs, I was hiking the International Appalachian Trail (IAT) far below. At the foot of Chute Hélène, a glorious waterfall, you can see the luxurious refuge that looms several hundred metres above. Majestic, in the middle of a sea of mountains, seemingly cut off from the rest of the world. Grandiose.

A few years later, I finally set foot inside the Auberge. At that moment, I came to understand how a visionary idea has the power to push people to make their dreams come true. This perfect, picturesque spot wasn’t just stumbled upon: it took a whole lot of scouting trips on foot and on snowshoes – not to mention long nights camping under the stars! – to make sure it was just right. And it was probably even more gruelling to convince the government to invest important sums into the project. No matter, these trailblazers’ strong belief in their idea gave them the drive to see that their vision would eventually come to fruition. On the IAT, I’ve encountered numerous fallen trees that cost hikers time and energy, but I’ve always known that they’d be cleared in no time as a small army of volunteers regularly travel the secluded kilometres armed with chainsaws, clearing any trees and debris to make the hike enjoyable for those that have come from near and far (sometimes as far as Florida!) to reach the Gaspé Peninsula. I admire the devotion of these volunteers. Think of all the trails you have hiked on, the climbing routes you have scaled, the perfectly laid rock staircases you have travelled up, the tracks in the snow that have been opened up over several kilometres, those maps and topos that we share with each other… No matter how far in the brush you are, someone has likely already been there before you and found a way to make the journey easier and more enjoyable for those that followed.

the obstacles in a mountain biking trail for hours or meeting with elected officials to establish new kitesurfing spots. Sometimes they’re paid to do so, sometimes they aren’t. In any case, their efforts do not earn them fortunes. They are outside day after day, braving rain, cold and sun because this passion for trailblazing is so strong. And that’s all that matters to them: spending as much time as possible outside, rather than sitting at a computer. Fresh air instead of pollution. Nature instead of concrete. Blue jays instead of pigeons. Sunlight instead of fluorescent lights. They are the aficionados who work tediously behind the scenes, making our weekend playground bigger and better. And that’s great news for anyone who wants to enjoy it. Their efforts are crucial in helping spread our passion for the great outdoors. When ego and artifice are removed, love for nature is all that remains. And that’s all that matters. Whether it’s through guidebooks, books, exploits or simply sheer devotion, passion for the great outdoors leads us to these people who invest their precious time to make our lives easier when we take it to the trails. The goal of all of this, I suppose, is to share the joy that I have felt in reaching places that I would have never set foot in had it not been for people who showed them to me on a map, told me about them or invited me to tag along. The sense of sharing in this community of ours is wonderful and I love these new discoveries, but all this can make us forget that we can also take this path ourselves: getting our hands dirty to clear a new hiking, mountain biking or snowshoeing trail. To all those who work in the shadows for the great enjoyment of others, I have one thing to say to you: thank you! Chris Levesque, Editor Twitter: @chrislevesque

© David Jones

It’s human nature to want to take the easiest route, but there’s a small marginal group of society that will never be happy to follow it. They’re the ones an old Apple ad called the “crazy ones” – the ones who live to shake things up and shape the world around them according to their world view. These characters are often well-known in the outdoor adventure world: they often hold conference to tell others about their exploits. But the rest of them spend their time and energy in the shadows, living the only life they see fit – outdoors. These anonymous trailblazers have all my respect. They spend long hours shovelling to level a trail, walking for kilometres on end to clear fallen trees, hanging from a harness to build a new climbing route, pondering

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CirCulation: 60,000 copies distributed to outdoor enthusiasts everywhere. ADVENTURA is published four times a year by Groupe Espaces Inc. artiCle submissions: ADVENTURA welcomes editorial and photo submissions, which must be sent by e-mail only. Contact the Editor to discuss. ADVENTURA is not responsible for articles, photographs or any other material sent to its attention. If you do not keep a copy of ADVENTURA magazine for your personal archives, please give it to a friend or recycle it.The opinions expressed are those of the authors and are not necessarily shared by Groupe Espaces Inc. Some of the activities reported on in ADVENTURA could entail injury risks for anyone engaging in them. ADVENTURA and its reporters, contributors, photographers and other staff members do not recommend the practice of these activities by anyone who does not have the required skills and technique. ADVENTURA is not responsible for the information contained in advertisements. Any reproduction of material published in ADVENTURA is prohibited without the expressed consent of Groupe Espaces Inc.



© Doug Berry

for several nights in a row, unzip your sleeping bag and hang it outdoors for about 10 minutes whenever possible. Don’t lay it on grass or on the ground; instead, hang it on a laundry line or throw it over your tent’s roof. Stains can be spot-treated with water, and to minimize the need for washing, use a liner (a sheet that goes inside the sleeping bag) and an overbag (a nylon or otherwise waterproof shell that you slip your sleeping bag into). Aside from protecting the sleeping bag against dirt, these protectors can also slightly improve the isolating properties of the bag. Every little bit counts!

What happens if you don’t take good care of your sleeping bag? It will start to lose its insulating properties, turning cozy nights into shivery nightmares. Here are a few tips to prolong the life of a down or synthetic-fill sleeping bag. 1. KEEP IT CLEAN With every wash, your sleeping bag’s filling – be it feather or synthetic – suffers. Washing breaks down the natural oil in feathers and they will eventually become so brittle that they break and lose all of their ultraisolating volume. Synthetic fibres, on the other hand, have a rough surface (so that they don’t attach to one another) that is coated with silicone. Every wash damages this layer, making the fibres less puffy and less effective in trapping heat. The bottom line: don’t wash your sleeping bag after every use unless absolutely necessary. Most often, airing it out will do the trick.

: 9,5 xtrip, 5,625” When Pub you getsans home bleed after a camping shake out your sleeping bag and let it Bleed air out for several hours on a laundry rack, preferably one that is 0,25” placed outdoors. Make sure that it is completely dry before putting it away, especially if you sweat a lot during the night or it rained. If you’re camping

2. WASHING A SLEEPING BAG 2.1 – Down-filled Given their hefty price tag, washing a down-filled sleeping bag is always a delicate, slightly nerve-wracking operation. This is why brands offer professional cleaning (and some dry cleaners will offer the service as well) – a pricier option than going the at-home route, but definitely safer. Think you can take on the job yourself? Here are some essential ground rules: 2.1.1 – For a heavily soiled sleeping bag, try a soak in soapy water (20°C maximum) for at least six hours, and lightly brush any stains away. 2.1.2 – For a basic cleaning, you have two options: in the machine, or by hand. If you choose the former, opt for a “delicate” or “knits” wash cycle and cold water. Turn your down-filled sleeping bag inside out (or place it in a washing bag) before putting it in the machine – this will protect the often delicate and snag-prone outer fabric. 2.1.3 – Use mild soap (or a third of the normal amount) or a formula specially conceived for washing down. Most importantly, choose a formula that doesn’t contain strong detergents or phosphates. Add two or three clean tennis balls to keep the duvet from balling up. 2.1.4 – If the washing machine makes you nervous, you can also launder your sleeping bag in a big sink or bathtub. Let it soak for a while before washing. Then, swirl the water so that it bubbles, then rinse until the water

runs clear. Squeeze excess water out, but never wring a sleeping bag. Upon removing it, lay it flat to dry. 2.2 – Synthetic As long as the manufacturer’s instructions are followed, there’s no danger in machine-washing a synthetic-fibre sleeping bag. Remember that the fill is delicate and that high temperature or vigorous agitation can damage it. Always remember to choose a mild, liquid soap, close any zippers and Velcro ties and always wash sleeping bags one at a time – this goes for both synthetic and down models! 3. DRYING 3.1 – Down Once washed, tumble-dry on air or low heat. Add a few tennis balls to speed up the drying process and help disperse and plump up the feathers – nobody wants a lumpy sleeping bag! 3.2 – Synthetic While the procedure is the same as for a down model, know that drying time is dramatically quicker for synthetic fill. Furthermore, there’s no need to worry about clumping. In fact, air-drying is often sufficient with these sleeping bags. 4. STORAGE When not in use, stash your sleeping bag in a roomy and breathable (i.e. non-plastic) storage bag: you don’t want to squish it into its transportation bag for long periods of time because it can permanently lose some of its volume. Another option is to lay it out flat in a dry, dark place like under a bed. Contrary to popular belief, keeping a sleeping bag rolled up is not the best option – laying it flat is much better. Certain styles may claim to be designed to be stored rolled, but save yourself the hassle of rolling it and be on the safe side in terms of maintaining the all-important insulating fibres in tip-top shape. Give your sleeping bag room to breathe and it will return the favour by keeping you warm for years to come.

Plan your getaway with ease. An exciting selection of itineraries, activities, photos and maps await you at:




What were some of the highlights of your most recent expeditions? Each year I participate in an average of three expeditions. Two of those are ones that my non-profit organization – impossible2Possible – selects at no cost for Youth Ambassadors to participate in and complete an epic project somewhere on Earth. One of these three expeditions sees me kicking off the beginning of each year by running in some extreme environment. Sometimes supported, sometimes unsupported, but always challenging! The greatest highlight for me is being able to share my expeditions with the thousands of students who follow along. I do this with live websites and video conferencing into classrooms. You must hit some really low moments in your expeditions. How do you talk yourself out of these situations? In 2006–7, two friends and I ran 7,500 kilometres across the Sahara Desert, averaging 70 kilometres per day for 111 days. There were many days that I felt I couldn’t go on, mostly because I missed my wife and family so much. It was physically and mentally so difficult, too. When I started, I weighed approximately 160 pounds, and on day 111, I only weighed 119!

© Courtesy Ray Zahab

In recent years, the name Ray Zahab has become synonymous with epic feats of endurance. He has led running expeditions across extreme landscapes – including the Sahara Desert, Atacama Desert and the South Pole – traversing thousands of kilometres on foot for weeks or months at a time. You might assume that Zahab has always been an athlete, but until 2000, the Ontario native was an inactive smoker and heavy drinker. And then he decided to change his life. Now 42, he’s also changing the world through his passion project impossible2Possible, an organization whose mission is “to encourage youth to reach beyond their perceived limits, and to use adventure as a medium to educate, inspire and empower our global community to make positive change in the world.” Adventura was fortunate to catch up with Ray between expeditions.

When I reach these low points, I remember that I chose to be here, that I am very fortunate to be doing what I am doing – meeting the incredible people I am meeting – and learning things about myself and my world I otherwise may never have learned. This journey taught me that we are ALL capable of extraordinary things. I have since learned that with dedication and ridiculous effort we can move mountains in our lives. What events or expeditions are you currently planning? This November, i2P Youth Ambassadors will be running 290 kilometres in eight days across the Thar Desert as part of i2P Expedition India. The

Experiential Learning program will be focused on world health and access to healthcare. In March 2012, I am attempting to run across Saudi Arabia from west to east, over 2,000 kilometres. I have a few backup plans up my sleeve if logistics don’t work out! Of everything you’ve accomplished, what are you most proud of? My two daughters, Mia Sahara and Anika Ixa. For more information on Ray Zahab and his incredible expeditions, check out or











Developing the Lake Erie Bike Route By Kathleen Wilker Marlaine Koehler has big plans. 1,400 kilometres of plans, in fact, for cycle tourism in Ontario. As the executive director of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, Koehler has been instrumental in developing the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure, an annual eight-day, 720-kilometre bike tour along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

Koehler is keen to welcome American cycle tourists to Ontario. The Adventure Cycling Association, America’s key cycle touring organization, estimates that American cycle tourists spend $47 billion annually. “We’ve had repeat visitors on the GWTA from the States and from Quebec who have been asking for new routes,” says Koehler.

Now in its fifth year, the GWTA successfully brings local cyclists as well as riders from Quebec and the United States through 41 communities in Ontario – and the tourism promotes trail building, sign posting and cycle-friendly communities.

“The Lake Erie route is a wonderful introduction to cycle touring,” says Koehler, noting the flat routes, mild climate and unique Carolinian forests. Highlights of the route include provincial parks like Rondeau near Chatham and Long Point near Port Rowan, where birders can enjoy spring and fall migrations.

“Cycle tourism is great for local economies,” says Koehler. “Cyclists travel slower than visitors with cars; we shop more and we eat more.” Not only do cycling travellers enjoy local food and independent wineries, they are also ideal visitors because they enjoy riding in off-peak seasons. “Early spring and later fall are great times to ride because the weather is cooler,” explains Koehler.



ParkBus, a new express bus service from downtown Toronto to Algonquin Park, has just completed its first season. Over

nine weekends, a total of 321 people rode ParkBus and enjoyed car-free camping in one of Ontario’s most spectacular outdoor destinations. A project of Transportation Options, ParkBus was developed with partners at Ontario Parks, Mountain Equipment Co-op, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and a number of private outfitters and tour operators in and around Algonquin Park. The goal was to introduce Algonquin Park to new Canadians, international visitors and residents of downtown Toronto who might not have access to a private vehicle or much experience camping. Almost 44 percent of ParkBus passengers had not been camping in Algonquin Park before, indicating that the program met its goal of bringing in new campers to the park without increasing the environmental impact of more visitors in private vehicles. With the price of round-trip bus fare from Toronto set at just $72 plus HST, travel was affordable. “The program ran off the cost of bus fare,” says Justin Lafontaine, programs director at Transportation Options. “We wanted to present a business model that would work for the bus company.” Lafontaine, who spearheaded the enormously successful BikeTrain project designed to enable passengers to easily bring their bikes on select VIA Rail trains, is experienced in creating “valueadded programming” to encourage people to choose transportation alternatives to the private vehicle. “We had ambassadors aboard each bus who were able to answer questions on anything from hanging food to setting up tents,” says Lafontaine, who also noted that through ParkBus ambassadors, passengers could learn about and be connected to any other activities that interested them in the park, like kayaking.

For new campers, online lessons in camping skills, including packing checklists, were provided by Ontario Parks. And MEC offered half-price deals on camping equipment rental for ParkBus passengers. Once in Algonquin Park, ParkBus stopped at five different locations to suit every type of camper: private lodges, car camping sites, hike-in sites and canoe-in sites were all possible stops. “Ontario Parks are eager to accommodate visitors who aren’t arriving by car,” says Lafontaine. “Delivering firewood to campsites and providing bear-proof food barrels are two things that Ontario Parks staff are doing to make camping easier for visitors without motorized vehicles.”

Building on the success of the GWTA, Koehler is developing a bike route along the north shore of Lake Erie from Windsor to Fort Erie. To plan the 600-kilometre route, Koehler invited municipal leaders, transportation planners, cycling advocates and tourism operators from Ontario, Quebec and the States to join her for a 600-kilometre ride to experience bike travel collectively. The group rode together and met for lunch and a daily debriefing session as they planned the route. “We’re developing a route using existing infrastructure and creating signage and maps,” says Koehler, who is working with municipalities all along the route. The new Lake Erie route will begin at the international bridge connecting Detroit to Windsor.

By 2013, the Lake Erie bike route will be signed, maps will be printed and a website dedicated to the route and to promoting regional connections and highlights will be up and running. With a link from St. Catharines to Niagara-on-the-Lake – where the Great Waterfront Trail begins – provided by the existing Niagara Great Circle Route, Ontario will soon have a 1,400-kilometre bike route ready for cycle tourists. In the meantime, the region already has lots to offer early adopters: “Windsor and Essex county has a well-signed route on the Chrysler Trail that takes you right past wineries for bathroom and refreshment breaks.” And for cycle travellers who enjoy having their meals taken care of, their luggage transported and their campsites pre-arranged, the 5th Annual Great Waterfront Trail Adventure from Niagara-on-the-Lake to the Quebec border is celebrating 2012 in a big way because it is the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

Parcs Québec

Opt for Parc National d’Oka

Halfway through the 2011 ParkBus season, passengers were invited to bring their bikes on board on a first-come, first-served basis. And two to four bikes were regularly accommodated on the bus, allowing passengers greater self-propelled mobility when they reached their Algonquin Park destination. The summer of 2012 will see ParkBus adding one or two new routes to different parks. 2011’s season ended with a pilot trip to Killarney National Park, a destination 73 percent of the ParkBus campers had never been to before. From passenger surveys, Lafontaine can see that the Bruce Peninsula and Tobermory are popular future destinations: “It’s an especially beautiful region in Ontario that is currently under-serviced by public transportation,” says Lafontaine, who also notes that there is significant interest in operating ParkBus service out of other large cities like Ottawa.

For more: • • online_resources.html

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Snow walking Snowshoeing Cross-country skiing and a 4-kilometres lit trail Rustic camping : sleep in your tent Turnkey accomodation package : camping made easy Gîte sous les pins : a rustic inn

1 800 665 6527 •

ADVENTURA _ WINTER 2011 1_ _ 7 2011-12 Adventura V2.indd

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Drystein Mountain Hard Wear is also going after Gore-Tex’s glory (following in the footsteps of Columbia and Polartec) by launching a new line of garments made from Dry.Q Elite, its very own hardshell membrane made in collaboration with a subsidiary of General Electric that has been producing the eVent membrane. The new fabric is said to let sweat and humidity escape immediately to keep you dry. Drystein is compact and lightweight (605 g), and uses different materials in different areas, like Microfleece Plus at the chest (for warmth), spandex under the arms (to let moisture escape and instead of ventilation zippers, which are uncomfortable and often difficult to get to) and Dry.Q Elite everywhere else (for waterproofing). This product really delivers on all of its claims and is ideal for high-intensity sports like mountaineering or hiking. Access to pockets is a cinch, even with a harness on, while the hood leaves enough room to be worn with a climbing helmet MOUNTAIN HARD WEAR, Drystein | $450 |

Tech Meets the Outdoors By Christian Lévesque

Peuterey 35 French brand Millet is back on the North American market, and that’s great news for us: their products are highly niche, but perform incredibly well! The Peuterey 35 pack is perfect (really!) for mountaineering, backcountry skiing and ice climbing. It is made from robust nylon (ideal for anyone who is rough with their gear) that resists wear and tear (especially if you’re carrying ice axes) and keeps its contents dry, but this does make it slightly heavier than competitors boasting the same volume. It opens completely in the middle, giving easy access to the very bottom without having to remove skis. The large top pocket also has a zipper to allow quick access to its contents. On one side of the belt, you’ll find a pocket to store a camera and on the other, gear loops to hang your carabineers. MILLET, Peuterey 35 Pack | $259 |

Sierra Full Zip

iStick Tired of perilously taking your iPod or iPhone out of your pocket on chairlifts to switch songs? With the iStick, you can control what you’re listening to without the risk of dropping your device. The unit puts three commands at your disposal: play/stop the music, turn the volume up or down and skip/go back to the next song in your playlist. Easy to manoeuvre with gloves on, it allows you to stay warm while listening to exactly what you’re in the mood for. DEW, iStick Wireless Armband for iPod | $55 |


Few manufacturers have figured out the art of warm clothing that is also functional and fashionable, but Icebreaker is definitely one of them. This season, the company is giving its signature all-natural spin to fleece, an old favourite. Made from the highest-quality merino wool that has been knit into a dense fleece fabric, the pieces in the Realfleece collection are sure to please. Our favourite? The Sierra Full Zip: with a carefully thought-out design, zippered pockets and outstanding comfort, this sweater is the perfect ally on the coldest of days. And while its price is admittedly steep, this versatile style will go everywhere with you, from the snowshoe trail to hearthside at the chalet. ICEBREAKER, Sierra Full Zip | $199 |

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Jammu Jacket Gore-Tex has dominated the hardshell market without competition, but that’s about to change with Polartec’s latest innovation, a polyurethane-based fabric they’ve dubbed NeoShell. A great pick for active sports like ice climbing or skiing, this outer layer lets moisture escape quickly, without ever letting water in. Air penetrates into the jacket, allowing humidity to escape. The inside is lined with fleece, which adds a layer of thermal isolation similar to that of a softshell. With a hood and wellpositioned pockets, this jacket could be the only thing you need to pack, no matter what you’ll be up to. POLARTEC + THE NORTH FACE, Jammu Jacket | $429 |,

Kit It Out For you tech-savvy types who use their iPhones as GPS devices in the car, here is the ultimate accessory to make the most of this modern convenience. With the GPS receiver built right into the holster, you’ll get incredibly precise directions, no matter where you are. Plus, it plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter, keeping your phone’s battery fully charged. The suction cup is a breeze to install and solid enough to withstand even the bumpiest of roads. MAGELLAN, Premium iPhone Car Kit | $99 |



Capturing Canada’s North By Travis Persaud

Alastair Lee knew he had a rare opportunity when Leo Houlding, a worldrenowned British climber, asked him to document his ascent of Mount Asgard on Baffin Island in Canada’s Arctic. Lee, a British photographer and filmmaker, came armed with an unruly amount of gear to capture this dangerous ascent near the end of the island’s climbing season. The results are seen in Baffin Island: The Ascent of Asgard, which provides an intimate view of this mystical land, from the vertigo-inducing summit photographs to the awe-inspiring northern lights. Lee speaks with Adventura about his incredible journey – and his greatest tip for aspiring landscape photographers. How did the idea of documenting this climb first come about? The idea was entirely Leo Houlding’s. Leo is one of Britain’s top adventure climbers, and I’d worked with him the year before on another climbing film I made entitled On Sight. Leo’s idea to make a free route on Mount Asgard was easily the most ambitious project I’d ever taken on. I had a lot to learn about big-wall climbing in a short span of time, but we nailed it. I took all my filming and photographic kits, including a large-format panoramic camera. What was your first impression of Baffin Island when you arrived? It’s hard to pin it down to one thing – it just had a magical feel to it. Landing in Pangnirtung (on Baffin Island) was really wild. I think that’s the first time I’ve landed on a gravel runway. It really felt like the final frontier. Then within 24 hours of arriving we were in a DC3 doing an air drop of equipment over Mount Asgard and the climbers skydived in. I was perched on the edge of the plane with the door off, flying over Baffin’s amazing landscape; probably the wildest, most inspiring and beautiful – yet savage – landscape you’ll ever see.

What was the feeling you had before climbing Mount Asgard? There was a lot of trepidation – we could all feel it. The main issue was getting on the route, as we were late in the season and there was a huge rockfall danger on the slopes. We studied the face for 10 days, trying to work out a safe way onto it. We had a lot of bad weather too, and getting on that north face was nothing short of formidable. What was the most challenging part of documenting this whole process? Physically carrying a heavy pack for the five-day walk-in, which we did in three days, was pretty tough, although the walk is amazing in itself. Then getting the footage and images of the climbers on the face required some good teamwork in order to set ropes up for me to get a vantage point above the climbers. Getting off the mountain once the ascent was complete was also epic, as the weather turned really nasty. How long have you been a photographer? I got serious about it when I was around 22, so I’ve been doing it about 16 years now. I really love mountains, landscapes and the environment. Much like all outdoor photographers I just love being out there, and it sure beats a real job! What tips do you have for photographers? Light, light and light are the only three things you need to know!

Baffin Island: The Ascent of Mount Asgard by Alastair Lee / Frances Lincoln Publishers $43.99




With the weight of winter finally melting away, it’s time to breathe in the full effect of spring. Here are four activities you can start when the sun rises and finish before it sets.

SNOWSHOEING THROUGH IROQUOIAN COUNTRY BY SHELAGH MCNALLY Combine a snowshoe hike with a bit of history at Crawford Lake. This 232-hectare park, located one hour from downtown Toronto, is owned and operated by Conservation Halton. As part of the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve, it’s famous for spectacular views of glacial canyons and forests.


Crawford Lake has the rare distinction of being a meromictic lake – a small and deep sheltered basin with no current. There are only 120 of these lakes on the planet. Beginning at 15 metres below the surface there is no oxygen, so the waters remain still and serene, giving Crawford a certain mysteriousness. The 1.5-kilometre Woodland Trail gives a good feel for the area since it follows both the scenic woods and takes you into the wetlands. The 3.6-kilometre Pine Ridge Trail brings you through rolling woodlands to pine plantations and open


Level: Beginner to intermediate

On Friday and Saturday evenings in January and February, Crawford Lake offers a series of guided evening snowshoe hikes, which begin with some history about snowshoeing and finish with a basic instruction to the sport. Afterwards, you get to strap on a pair of snowshoes and head out for a guided trek along the trails to see some of the natural features of the area.

Cost: Park entrance fee is $7.25 per person

An evening fire and hot chocolate await at the end of the hike. These nighttime hikes have become very popular, so it’s recommended that you register early. And don’t miss out on the Iroquoian village on site, which offers an accurate depiction of life in a 15th-century longhouse. It remains open throughout the year, with exhibits and workshops highlighting the area’s first settlers.

BIRDWATCHING AND SNOWSHOEING FOR BEGINNERS Level: Beginner to intermediate Season: Winter, after a good snowfall Cost: Entrance is $6 per day per vehicle or $2.50 per person. Annual passes are available Gear: Snowshoes; binoculars for birdwatching Other activities: Birdwatching Getting there: Take Dilworth Rd. off Hwy. 416 between Manotick and Kemptville For more: 613-489-3592 •

New to snowshoeing? You may want to check out a little gem just outside of Ottawa on the shores of the Rideau River: the Baxter Conservation Area.

© Courtesy


meadows leading to a massive glacial ridge overlooking the escarpment and Nassagaweya Canyon.

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority is responsible for the site and has created five kilometres of wide, multi-use trails that meander through 180 acres of mixed forest, alder thickets, open meadow, wetlands, beach and nut tree plantations. It’s particularly appealing for families because of the open fields alongside the Visitors Centre – a perfect location to get your footing and practice manoeuvres before heading out on one of the five trails.


Season: Winter (after a good snowfall) Gear: Snowshoes, available for rent at the Crawford Lake Visitors Centre Other Activities: Visit the Iroquoian village Getting there: ake Conservation Rd. (formerly Steeles Ave.) to Guelph Line, 5 km south of Hwy. 401 and 15 km north of the QEW. GPS coordinates: 43.47, -79.951

For more: 905-854-0234 (ext. 221) •


The Fiddlehead Trail offers a 2.2-kilometre circuit that takes 45 minutes to complete. It’s also the only circular route at Baxter – all other trails feed off Fiddlehead. The trail travels through the shady, deciduous forest area and continues down along the Rideau River, eventually passing open fields. Grouse Trail is the topmost route that is easily accessed from the McManus Centre, while the middle Hare Trail and bottom trail cut across the middle of Fiddlehead Trail, travelling through the quiet forest areas and a grove of speckled alder trees. Cattail, the shortest trail, follows a small loop along the bend in the Rideau River. The main bridge off the Fiddlehead Trail leads to the Fillmore Park Nut Grove, with over 30 varieties of nut- and beanbearing trees and shrubs. Trails are marked with interpretive panels along the way, so you can learn about topics such as “life along the water.” You’ll have more than the beautiful landscape to gaze at, too: Baxter is also a winter refuge for birds. Along the trails you can spot downy and hairy woodpeckers, black-capped chickadees, blue jays, white-breasted nuthatches, evening grosbeaks and flocks of snow buntings. Head out after a fresh snowfall and you might see tracks left by porcupines, rabbits, deer, lynx, coyotes and fishers.

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Winter pleasures in our


national parks!


MONTREAL’S HIDDEN GEM BY SHELAGH MCNALLY Sometimes the best-kept secrets are found in our own backyard. The Morgan Arboretum, located on the western tip of Montreal, offers a quick and easy day trip that feels like it’s off-island. This 245-hectare forested reserve is a mosaic of trees and flowering shrubs that attracts over 170 species of migratory and overwintering birds. As part of the McGill University Macdonald Campus, Morgan Arboretum is also one of the most heavily protected areas on the island as well as the largest green space in Montreal. We have F. Cleveland Morgan to thank for this oasis. In 1945, the amateur horticulturist and heir to the Morgan estate donated 350 acres to McGill for the purpose of creating a research, teaching and demonstration forest. It’s considered an excellent example of multiple-use forestry, supporting a healthy population of Quebec’s native trees as well as an additional 18 collections of trees and shrubs from around the world. Here you’ll find magnificent full-growth fir, oak, birch, maple, linden, spruce and flowering trees. It’s also home to 30 species of mammals, 20 species of reptiles and amphibians as well as all those birds. A five-kilometre dedicated snowshoe trail that begins at the Arboretum clubhouse winds its way through the hidden corners of the reserve. It’s a glorious trail to do, particularly on a sunny day when the forest cover is filled with birds. Bohemian waxwings, woodpeckers, cardinals, goldfinches and chickadees are just a few of the birds you will see. If you’re lucky, you may spot one of the raptors – such as barred owls or great horned owls – that also live in the area. Afterwards, head over to the charming village of Sainte-Anne-deBellevue to enjoy hot chocolate in one of the restaurants overlooking the rapids where the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers merge.…

Parc national de la Gaspésie - Photo : Steve Deschênes

Experience a stay of an entirely different nature! Enjoy a vast array of winter activities and a wide choice of accommodation - and discover, or rediscover, Quebec's

Activity: Snowshoeing Level: Beginner to intermediate

national parks. You'll have a great time in our exceptional

Season: Winter after a good snowfall

protected territories, while exploring a lengthy network

Cost: Entrance is $5 per adult, $3 for students and $2 for children. A family day pass is $12. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

of snow-packed trails.


Rustic shelter






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Yurt From





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Park entry fee and taxes not included.

Other activities: Birdwatching Getting there: 15 km west of downtown. Take Autoroute 40W to exit 41 and follow signs for Chemin Ste-Marie. At the stop sign at the top of the hill, turn left onto Chemin des Pins for the registration office. For more: 514-398-7811 •

1 800 665-6527 •

/night/cap. 4

© Christian Wheatley

© Dmitriy Shironosov

Fall is the time leaves turn glorious gold and red, the temperature cools slightly and kids go back to school. With smaller crowds and refreshing temperatures, it’s a wonderful time to head out for some R&R, either alone or with a cherished partner. The following three easy-to-get-to destinations will calm your mind, energize your body and let your spirit soar.

OTTAWA Lac Sans Loi

Fun fondue dinners are popular, and so is the delectable filet mignon ($28.95), smothered in a choice of spicy pepper sauce or a divine cognac sauce. English pub fare rules at the casual bistro Resto Draveur (mains from $9 • 819-441-2690). Whopping imported beer selections from Guinness to Sapporo accompany the hearty poutine and pub burger drenched in cheddar cheese, bacon and mayo. For more refined tastes, the menu also has three-course fixed menus and an extensive grill selection.

By Ilona Kauremszky Draped in a white powder cloak, this winter wonderland is the kind of place that has you instantly screaming “Mush, mush!” Those with a penchant for the Great White North are sure to revel in the dogsled action along the lakeside and woodland trails of the Pontiac. Then strap on the snowshoes, or find a frozen lake in this abundant freshwater region and try the ageold pastime of ice fishing. This westerly part of the Outaouais is an easy 90-minute drive east from Ottawa.


Dogsledding: Sylvain Drapeau and Caroline Desrosiers, a nature-loving husband-and-wife team with 21 huskies, opened Escapade Eskimo after purchasing their dream piece of land (one hour $25; half-day $99 and up • • 613-454-5443). On the outfit’s memorable day trips, guests travel with a six-dog team across 200 acres of wilderness around Otter Lake, and afterwards plunge into the steamy indoor hot tub. Pass by snow-covered bush, rolling hills and the occasional critters, like deer and rabbits. For the half-day, 15-kilometre session, full instruction on dogsledding and harnessing is provided, along with a well-deserved after-sleigh snack.



The on-site Poste de Traite at Château Logue (mains from $14.95 • • 819-449-4848) is situated in an old 1887 historic building and styled with memorabilia recalling the local lumber heydays.

Ice fishing: Further north of the Outaouais near Parent lurks a massive fishing ground. Pourvoirie Martin ($40 per day • • 819-974-1306) gets you ready to explore the frozen lake region. No stranger to this sport, local outfitter Ghislain Gauthier has been luring ice fishers to man-made Reservoir Gouin for six years for great catches of walleye and northern pike. Don’t have an instant igloo or ready-made shack? No


QUEBEC Blueberry Lake Resort By Susan Campbell A little under two hours north of Montreal is the winter wonderland playground of the Laurentian Mountains, chock-full of national parks and famous Mont Tremblant, offering scads of entertainment and activities. But venture less than half an hour further north to Labelle, Quebec, and you can escape all the commercial hubbub to experience active outdoor delights in a more pristine setting at Blueberry Lake Resort without giving up any kind of creature comforts whatsoever.


The dining options less than 20 minutes away in Mont Tremblant are legion, but if you’d prefer to eat on-site at the resort, you can stock up on groceries en route in Saint-Jovite to make your own meals in your cabin, which is fully equipped with state-of-the-art appliances, a massive BBQ and everything you could possibly need to make a meal, including herbs and spices, except the food. Or you can order ahead via their online concierge to have groceries pre-stocked in the cabin for breakfast. Or if you really want to go the whole nine yards, you can have their chef come in to prepare one of their signature gourmet feasts, serve it and even do the clean-up afterwards! Their menu can be adapted to your preferences – choices of game, meat, fish, seafood and more are all available.


© Courtesy Lac Sans Loi

Overlooking Lawless Lake near quaint Campbell’s Bay, about 37 kilometres from Eskimo Escapade, the recently opened cabins of Lac Sans Loi are ideal for a group of friends who want simple digs in a lush wooded setting (weekends $399 for a six-person lodge, minimum two nights • • 819-648-5363). There’s the three-room, one-storey Getaway Lodge and the two-story A-frame lodge, both with full bath and kitchen and quaint country charm. We like the eco-friendly design, high-speed Wi-Fi, satellite TV and fire pits on site. The year-round, 51-room Château Logue (rooms from $105 • • 819-449-4848/877-474-4848), situated north of the Algonquin First Nations reserve in the town of Maniwaki, has a heated indoor swimming pool, sauna and the Les Sens Spa (60-minute relaxation massage $60), plus outdoor activities (snowshoe rentals $15 for half-day).

worries. Eager tacklers are outfitted with a small cabin set on the ice, including five drillings.

Blueberry Lake Resort (819-686-1413 • has 60 luxurious log chalets dotted around the mountains and valleys of their 300-acre private property. For all chalets there is a minimum two-night stay; three-bedrooms start at $325 per night and sleep six, and the largest deluxe fivebedroom accommodations span three full floors and can

comfortably sleep up to 10 or even 12, with highestend rates at $600 per night depending on time of week and season. But there are often all kinds of special packages and Internet fares offering two-for-ones, so check online for deals. Though rates might sound steep initially, when you gather a gang and do the math, it becomes incredibly affordable for such stellar digs. Luxe amenities include wood-burning fireplaces (firewood included), state-of-the-art sound and entertainment systems, flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, sumptuous bedding, stunning decor and whirlpool bathtubs; some chalets have outdoor hot tubs and pool tables, and the wallto-floor windows afford spectacular views, as do the panoramic balconies. In their clubhouse, there is a warm indoor pool with a waterfall overlooking the lake, an adjacent steam room and a small on-site spa. You can also order in-chalet massages. There’s an on-site lodge bar where guests can gather to cheer on the Habs or warm up after trekking in the snow.


Blueberry Lake Resort has miles of cross-country ski trails for all skill levels, ice skating on their private frozen lake and boarded skating rink (pickup hockey games are popular), and endless snowshoeing trails. They even offer equipment free of charge if you didn’t bring your own skates, snowshoes or cross-country gear. And they also offer exciting dogsledding adventures.

MONTREAL Mont Saint-Sauveur By Ilona Kauremszky The pistes of Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts showcase where skiing first started in Quebec. Packed with five ski hills, this small Laurentian village was where Fred Pabst, in 1934, installed the first ski lift on Hill 70. It rapidly became one of the most popular ski destinations in eastern North America. The view from the 416-metre peak is breathtaking – as is the plunging 213-metre drop. Throw

walls are flanked with farm equipment and copper kettles dangle from the rafters.



With free five-minute shuttle service to the mountain, the four-star Manoir Saint-Sauveur (rooms from $199 • 1-800-361-0505 or 450-227-1811 • is a landmark manor that recently added 26 spacious suites at their new Avoriaz chalet. Amenities range from free wireless to stone-faced fireplaces to 26-inch plasma TVs and king beds in all suites. The heated bathroom floor with a stunning whirlpool bath is ultra-decadent. Locals dig the indoor pool, the Finnish sauna and the full-service Spa du Manoir (60-minute Swedish massage, $90). For country cozy, the 21 rooms at the three-star Motel Le Jolibourg (weekend standard room prices from $109 • 1-877-227-4651 or 450-227-4651 • offer free wireless, a fridge, a natural fireplace and whirlpool baths.


The hip L’Impressionniste Lounge Bistro, part of Manoir Saint-Sauveur, is where the après-ski crowd indulges in pre-dinner drinks before heading to the on-site Ambiance Restaurant (mains from $32 • 1-800-361-0505 • Chef Joel Fauque practises farm-to-table sourcing, using the best from local Mirabel Farms and piglets from the renowned Gaspor farm. Try the Laurentian Boileau Red Deer fillet, deglazed with old Port wine and juniper, served with roasted mashed parsnips. It’s cold outside, but the crepes keep flying at the roadside favourite Crêperie Saint-Sauveur (crepes $7.45–$18.70 • 450-227-5434 • Munch on the signature Breton crepe, available with 300 different kinds of fillings. Charming owners Carole and Jacques Vaudry decorated with country-style Brittany flare: wood-panelled

Ski: Take your pick of five extraordinary resorts: Mont SaintSauveur, Mont Olympia, Ski Morin Heights, Mont Avila and Ski Mont Gabriel. The white powder of Mont SaintSauveur (full-day ski $52.19, ski equipment rental $36 • 514-871-0101 • attracts Canadian athletes like 19-year-old Michael Kingsbury. That’s no surprise considering the resort has the most sophisticated snowmaking systems in North America, plus the world’s largest night-skiing area. The Rockstar MSS Snowpark is challenging for snowboarders and freestylers alike. Head to 18-trail Ski Mont Gabriel (full-day $35 • 450-227-1100 • for acrobatic moves. Revered as the cradle of acrobatic skiing in Canada, the permanent training facility has a fabulous ski-in and ski-out chalet, so you literally can ski all day and night. The longest trail (1.1 km), Laframboise, is a pleasant and easy run for those who don’t have Olympic aspirations. Toboggan: At Mont Saint-Sauveur, look no further than Alpine Coaster Viking ($9.95), an insane ride that has you careening through white powder down a 1.5-kilometre course at 50 km/h. You may not break the sound barrier, but it sure feels like it on the 1,085-metre descent.

TORONTO Caledon By Travis Persaud Nestled northwest of Toronto and just below Newmarket, the town of Caledon is a rarely talked-about gem ready to be discovered. Its location makes it a perfect getaway for individuals yearning for quiet surroundings, but without the long hike that heading to an area such as Muskoka

requires. Unlike many towns on the periphery of the Greater Toronto Area, Caledon has become a progressive town with regards to its future. It was the co-recipient of the TVO Greenest Town in Ontario award, which pointed to their active “greening,” including extensive countryside planning and a strong sustainable-future plan. For a town with five watersheds lying within its borders – the Credit, Humber, Nottawasaga and Holland rivers, and the Etobicoke Creek – it’s nice to see them taking care of their land.


The Millcroft Inn and Spa (1-888-669-5566 • is situated on 100 acres in the Caledon Hills. Its late-1800s architecture adds to the natural beauty that surrounds it. Managed by Vintage Hotels, known for their award-winning properties in Niagara-on-the-Lake, this inn and spa continues the level of excellence you’d expect from such a prominent name. Their spa was named the finest in Ontario in 2008, and guestrooms include touches of European and Canadian antiques, upping their level of sophistication. Special packages, including For Culinary Connoisseurs Only and Couples Only, are available during these colder months.


It’s difficult to look any further than Millcroft’s own Headwaters Restaurant (mains around $30 • 1-800-3833976) when looking for dining options in Caledon. Led by executive chef Jill St. Amour, the tranquil restaurant takes much of its inspiration from the vegetation located in its own backyard. The thyme-and-rosemary-crusted lamb rack is a must-eat. Tagged as “Fine Country Dining,” the Mono Cliffs Inn Restaurant (mains around $25 • 519-941-5109) provides an escape for wine lovers. Their wine cellar is available for intimate settings for up to eight people. The Spirit Tree Estate Cidery (905-838-2530) sits on a 46-acre

© Courtesy Mont St-Sauveur

in 38 groomed trails, with most open for night skiing, and now you know why Saint-Sauveur is still a hot spot.

lot perfect for growing apples, and they take full advantage of that. Their fresh-pressed sweet apple cider is a perfect afternoon treat, and their hard ciders (pub-style, estate reserve and ice cider) can warm up any chilly evening.


Trails: Caledon is littered with trails ready for exploration. Anchored by the Bruce Trail, the town has over 260 kilometres accessible for public enjoyment. The Caledon Trailway ( is another strong highlight for outdoor fun, and showcases the town’s ingenuity. Caledon purchased a 35-kilometre stretch of abandoned railway that became the first designated portion of the Trans Canada Trail. The Trailway is open for any non-motorized activities including cross-country skiing, horseback riding and cycling. Skiing: For those needing something with a bit more speed, the Caledon Ski Club ($50 for a full-day lift pass • caledonskiclub. is open to non-members on Wednesdays and Fridays. With 23 slopes – seven beginner and intermediate slopes, and nine expert hills – there’s plenty of choice regardless of your skill level. And two lodges, the main and west, provide rest no matter where you are.


© iStockphoto

By Stephania Varalli


was 1 a.m., well below freezing, and I’d been stumbling along the snow-covered ups and downs of the never-ending trail for nearly five hours. My core was icy, my extremities were numb and my cloudy brain only seemed capable of focusing on one, gut-wrenching thought:

of five adventurers met in the parking lot of Kilbride School. Headlights ablaze, spirits high, we started at a snow-shuffle pace along the Bruce Trail. I realized the flaw in my plan quickly thereafter: what doesn’t kill you can make you stronger, or it can emotionally scar you for a long, long time.

You volunteered to do this, you jackass.

It took three years before I even considered training in the cold again. This season, I’m ready to do it – the right way. If you’re interested in extending your outdoor running training to include the winter months, here’s what the experts say will get you there, safely and successfully.

It all started with a series of enthusiastic emails. One epic night of training! A great way to end the year! Plenty of fun for all! Our chief organizer described the trails he’d tested out as “icy/interesting,” and suggested, with an emoticon smile, a 52-kilometre route with only two possibilities for shortcuts, “if need be.” I had tried to get into winter running before, but most attempts had ended with the first gust of icy air on my face. Basic motivational tactics weren’t working, so I thought I’d give shock therapy a go instead. If I could survive this sub-zero ultra-marathon in the dark, a 10-kilometre training run in January would feel easy, right? On December 28, at 8 p.m., on a cold southern Ontario night, our group

GET INTO GEAR “It’s easier to run in minus 20 than it is to run in plus 30,” says Bob McGrath, an experienced ultrarunner and product expert at athletic retail chain Running Free. The key is heading out with the right gear. Start with the extremities: head, hands and feet. A tuque in a synthetic fibre or performance wool (like Icebreaker merino) can stop the significant heat loss we experience from our head. And while you may think of sunglasses

as a way to keep from squinting, they can also preserve heat by blocking part of your face from wind, which has the added benefit of keeping you from tearing up. Investing in running-specific gloves can also go a long way for comfort. Some focus more on windproofing, while others offer greater warmth with less breathability – so it’s a good idea to assess your likely needs before you buy. As for feet, many runners prefer to switch to a thicker wool sock, in a cut that covers exposed ankle skin. Another option is a shoe with Gore-Tex technology, which adds a layer of weatherproofing that’s especially useful in wetter conditions. On your body, start with the base layer. This sits right against your skin, wicking sweat and transferring it to the outside of the garment so you stay dry. Polypropylene or merino wool are your best bets, in a size that’s form-fitting. The outer layer, such as a jacket or vest, can be looser, but should still have wicking properties. And pay attention to the wind: if you’re running mostly in exposed areas, rather than, for example, a wooded trail that offers some protection from cold gusts, you may want to consider a pair of wind pants instead of a running tight. If you’re ever in doubt, Bob suggests a simple 10-Degree Rule: dress as if it is 10 degrees warmer than the actual temperature outside, including the windchill. This may require some trial and error; if you don’t generate a lot of heat, you may want to use a five-degree rule instead. The premise stays the same, however: you need to dress for how warm you are going to be, not how cold it is.


GEAR LIST Running hat Running gloves Winter running socks © Sami Suni

Warm, moisture-wicking base layer Wind-resistant, moisture-wicking outer layer


Now that your clothing is covered, don’t forget about hydration. Bob warns that many winter runners leave this off the list, since in colder weather it doesn’t feel as if we are sweating as much. Hydration packs work well in very cold temperatures, worn underneath your jacket to keep the water from freezing (adding a little salt or electrolyte drink mix can help with this, too). To keep the tube from going solid, always blow the water back into the bladder after you sip. You can also buy a hose insulator, or a pack that comes with this feature, like Salomon’s XT Advanced Skin pack.

1. Prepare your cold-weather running gear before you actually need it. If your base layers, running gloves, headbands, wind briefs, winter running socks, etc., are already collected together and within easy reach, there’s a greater chance you won’t skip that first chilly run, ensuring you’ll keep your training momentum moving. 2. Don’t change anything about your direction, speed, cadence or stride length when running over an ice patch less than 10 metres in length. Do nothing and you’ll cruise across. For snow, slush or uneven surfaces, slightly shorten your stride for balance, hold your arms out from your sides and attempt directional and speed changes gradually and cautiously. 3. Cover exposed skin with petroleum jelly in very cold conditions. You can also test out your comfort level with a balaclava (which offers full-face coverage). Just be sure to take it off if you stop at a convenience store. 4. Ask about a three-month trial membership at your local gym to give yourself an affordable, non-committal training alternative during the worst of the winter months, between January and March. It opens up the options of treadmills or cross-training when the weather is either dangerous or just too depressing. 5. Use room-temperature water in your bottle, since cold water will often freeze the spout within 30–60 minutes. And drink often! Not only does it keep you hydrated, using the spout will decrease the chance of it icing over.

“Even if things don’t go wrong,” Kevin adds, “it’s better to have company in the face of adversity. If you do it all alone, there’s a sense of self-satisfaction of having done it, but nobody else knows, really. Going out with buddies, you share in the suffering – and the success.”

HAVE A 'PLAN B' Even if you’re a hardy and dedicated winter runner, sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to run outside. As Smith puts it: “After a night of freezing rain, don’t go out the next morning when it’s a skating rink just to prove you can.” Pride will literally come before the fall. To ensure you don’t lose momentum, Smith suggests building in flexible options to your workout plan. This can include running on a treadmill, or adding in different types of cross-training. And don’t feel guilty if for the sake of your own sanity you choose to head indoors for the day – just make sure you stick to your intended intensity level.

© Mizuno

Bob McGrath often uses snowshoe running to invigorate his winter training, and recommends it to athletes at all levels. Keep in mind that it’s a lot harder than regular running, especially if you are the first person to cut the trail. Heading out on a freshly snow-covered golf course, for example, will get you into knee-deep exhaustion quickly. Snowshoe trails or regular trails work great, and if you have to blaze the path, a good tactic is to plan a short out-and-back route. Then you work a little harder for the first half of your run and get to enjoy a packed trail on the return trip. You’ll need to rent or buy a running-specific snowshoe (generally 8 inches wide x 22 inches long) to do it well, but if it keeps your training moving forward, the investment may be worth it.

© Wojciech Gajda


ensure you have help nearby, just in case.

“The proper gear makes everything a little bit easier,” McGrath notes, “but it’s important to know its limits.” If you’re out for a three-hour run, eventually all the moisture being wicked to the outside of a garment can start to get icy. “I’ve not been able to open the zipper of my jacket until I got home, because it’s frozen shut.” In very cold temperatures, he suggests breaking up your long run over two days. “You don’t have to keep yourself outside to the point where training turns into surviving.”

GREAT EXPECTATIONS Kevin Smith, running coach and founder of Marathon Dynamics training, says the key to sticking to a running program throughout the winter is to avoid losing momentum in the first place. Rather than making it a New Year’s resolution, get outside as temperatures are dropping and the snow starts to fall. You’ll not only be avoiding a late-season shock to the system, it will also give you time to test out your cold-weather gear, figure out your comfort zones as well as gradually acclimatize to winter conditions. And what about when the real nasty stuff hits? Making it through a long winter also means you’ll need to manage your expectations. “As soon as there is consistent snow cover, even a centimetre or two, you will slow down a lot, even with the same effort,” warns Smith. Runners add about one minute per mile (or 40 seconds per kilometre) to their pace. What’s interesting is that the loss of speed is about the same for faster or slower athletes, so a sixminute mile becomes a seven-minute mile, just as a ten-minute mile becomes eleven minutes long.

“This makes it very important to use intensity as your guide, not speed.” If you’re not a good judge of intensity, consider investing in a heart rate monitor, which can keep you within target training zones. If you aren’t adjusting your distance goals and pace expectations to factor in this slowdown, you might end up on a run that’s far longer or more intense than your training plan calls for. And runners who keep their eyes glued to their pace monitors – expecting to match their performance in perfect conditions – are setting themselves up for failure. “It’s a recipe for disaster, training-wise. You’ll overtrain, you’ll injure yourself, you’ll get sick – you’ll lose the passion for running.”

STAYING SAFE Smith also recommends adjusting your course to increase safety. Running in a loop shape, with options to cut the session short, is better than taking out-andback routes that can leave you stranded far from home. Also, start your run into the wind, so it’s at your back when you are most tired and feeling the elements. You can easily find the wind direction on weather sites (which you’ll be checking anyway to make sure you’re dressing properly). Other safety considerations carry over year-round, though winter adds some twists. Reflective clothing that can easily be seen by drivers has increased importance when the nights are longer, the visibility poorer and the roads more slippery. Added layers usually mean you have more pockets to stash a cellphone, cab or public transit fare, and I.D. for emergency situations. And “running social,” with as big a group as you can muster, is still the best way to ADVENTURA _ WINTER 2011 _ _ 15

Having a Plan B doesn’t mean using moderately cold temperatures as a reason to not go outside. And Smith has a logical argument for why you might even enjoy it more: “We get hot when we run. So why would running in the summer be so great? In the winter, running is still making you generate heat, but outside it’s cold. It’s the perfect match.”

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Blayne Streeper

The Bud Blast of

PARK CITY © Dan Campbell / Park City Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitors Bureau

By Ilona Kauremszky

Gliding past snowdrifts in remote Wyoming with arguably the fastest sled dogs on earth, Blayne Streeper’s only comforting sound comes from the pitter-patter of paws. At an elevation of 10,000 feet, he’s been at it since the crack of dawn. Blayne, or as friends call him, Buddy, pilots his team up massive climbs through a dramatic, isolated landscape known as the “icebox of the nation” for its meat-locker temperatures. Hailing from the eastern foothills of the Rockies in Fort Nelson, British Columbia, he’s a long way from home. Making his way across the Continental Divide, mushing through mixed forest and heading through small towns, he’s competing with 24 of the world’s best mushers in stages similar to the Tour de France. Imagine travelling nearly 400 kilometres with stops in 12 towns and two states over eight days. The only endurance event of its kind that puts sprinting, long distance and mid-distance in one world-class competition, the roster is quickly filled for the largest sled dog race in the lower 48 states. As the reigning champion of the acclaimed International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race (IPSSSDR), there’s only one thing on Buddy’s mind: his dogs. “They feel my vibe, and the dogs will pick up on the subtlety. It’s a great relationship: man and dog. They call it man’s best friend, and it is certainly deserving of that title.” For the 30-year-old, eight-time world champion, the race is just another day at work. That’s partially due to all the fine details he and his dad Terry iron out the rest of the year. Insiders say the Streepers have taken a traditional sport and brought it to a professional level. Judging by his customized kennel truck, it’s easy to agree.

“We mastered the efficiency not just in racing but in travelling. Our kennel is like walking into a business centre, the way it’s run and handled. It has to be set up for speed and productivity,” he says when I meet him in Park City at the final leg. The feedings, endurance training – it’s all teamwork. The Streepers also breed a special husky-hound dog with mixtures of either Irish setters, German shorthaired pointers or English pointers. Streeper Kennels, Bud’s team, is the only kennel in mushing history to have won the World Triple Crown with firsts at the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous Open World Championship Sled Dog Race, the Northern Manitoba Trappers’ Festival World Championship in Le Pas and the Laconia World Championship Sled Dog Derby in New Hampshire. His strategy largely comes from observing his dogs. “Dogs are creatures of habit – but they also react to the environment they are in,” he says, adding that most of the communication is non-verbal. “A lot of it is silently communicated, raising the animals from puppies. There’s


an unspoken bond. It sounds kind of telepathic, but you’d be surprised. Just by my thought process I know what they are going to do before they do it.” Telepathic or not, his strategy is certainly working. “In my opinion the race has already been won for this year and it hasn’t started. You could put jet fuel into a Volkswagen and it’s still a Volkswagen. Some people are running the Volkswagen, where Buddy Streeper’s bringing the Lamborghini. All he’s got to do is bring the Lamborghini around the course,” remarks Frank Teasley, the co-founder of the IPSSSDR, from his home in Jackson Hole. Frank’s no stranger to the winter sport, either. The eighttime Iditarod veteran separates his race from the pack in a number of ways. “The difference between me and other sled dog directors is they are not dog mushers. I am a dog musher first and foremost, so I know what it takes to set the musher up for success. I bring the two worlds together because I’m fairly successful at business,” he says, describing the popular half- and full-day tours he’s been running since 1982 with his company, Jackson Hole Iditarod Sled Dog Tours. The race was originally created to showcase Wyoming’s beauty and hearken to the Iditarod’s origins, which was to transport diphtheria serum during the 1920s in the forbidding Great White North. Today, the IPSSSDR helps fund local children’s immunization. “The towns appreciate something tangible returning back to the community,” Frank says.

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Frank’s noticed a spike in IPSSSDR attendance among the musher world, with sold-out registration a year in advance. “What other sport do you know does that?” he says, beaming. It helps that the competition has the largest purse for mushers in the world: $180,000 in total prize money. Spectators and 25 teams come from as far as France, Sweden and Jamaica for the race. “It’s not really the Canadians as much as it is the best Canadians coming here,” he scoffs, regarding the growing maple leaf presence. Last year nine Canadians competed, and out of the five top standings in 2010, four were Canadian. Buddy doesn’t seem to notice the pressure. On the day of the informal “Meet the Mushers” mingling at the Park City Ice Arena, he remains unfazed by the crowd frenzy. Decked

"We mastered the efficiency not just in racing but in travelling. Our kennel is like walking into a business centre, the way it’s run and handled. It has to be set up for speed and productivity." out in coveralls, he’s sporting a signature green parka and cap bearing a logo: “The fastest sled dogs on earth.” He moves in closer, stroking his lead dog Troya, and begins to explain the secrets of his success. “We’re running Formula One engines here, so we need to have high-gas petroleum,” he says, describing their dog food from Redpaw, one of his few sponsors. “At no point do we skimp on the food here. This is one of the things that separate us on the Stage Race. On day three, four, five – it’s now a battle of nutrition. Everybody’s trained equally, but who can sustain their energy and their reserves during the longest stage of the race?” Bud is quick to include his dad Terry, a five-time world champion who’s been in the sport for 45 years, in his

success story. With a grin, Terry admits his boy was born into the sport. “It’s probably not good to say, but when he was born I was racing in Minnesota. I just love it so much.” Inseparable, the two are on the road to a different town every week from January to early April, working in tandem on all the details, forecasting conditions on the weather, trails and everything else. “We look for the best training. We’ll travel if the conditions aren’t good in Fort Nelson. We’ll get off our typical schedule just to get the dogs where they should be,” Buddy says. One time due to a green Christmas they drove to southern Alberta for better snow. Another year in Anchorage, Alaska, rain started two weeks before the championships, so Buddy and Terry got inside their truck and drove 1,000 kilometres north to Fairbanks for better snow conditions – so the team could run in an appropriate environment that’s adequate, safe and would improve their performance.” The 13-time world champion Streepers are always strategizing. “It’s like a one-two punch. It’s like Gretzky and Lemieux on the same team. You think you can combat that one line and then, wham bam, there is someone else,” Buddy observes with the cool precision he’s known for. I watch Buddy head for the final track briefing. He stands at the back of the pack, looking a little out of place in his parka among fellow mushers sporting the latest high-tech outerwear. When I point out his style choice, he laughs and says, “I guess I like to dress for comfort.” On race day, surrounded by the Wasatch Mountains beneath a clear blue sky, a row of fans three feet thick sturdy themselves by the start/finish line. American classic rock booms from the announcer’s speakers. And then there’s Buddy inching himself up to the microphone as Frank announces the undefeated champion. “Hello, Park City. We’ve driven 3,000 miles to come and see you today, and we couldn’t ask for a better day. We want to try and put a good show on.” Later, as his aircraft-aluminum Danler sled glides by, Bud’s right foot lightly hunkers down on the groomed trail. The Lamborghini of mushers is off to win another title.



SO FAR...SO GOOD ! Municipalité de Notre-Dame-du-Laus 819 767.2999

© Chris Havener/International Pedigree Stage Stop Sled Dog Race-Park City Race


HEALTH THROUGH OUTDOOR ! Municipalité de Rivière-Rouge 819 275.2577

1 888 560.9988



© Stephania Varalli

By Stephania Varalli


It’s a good thing I don’t believe in omens.

He seemed a little surprised by my response: “We don’t even know how long the road is.”

more expensive than camping, but still affordable on a tight budget. The tent was never to be unpacked again.

Exactly one day after booking my ticket to Iceland, Grímsvötn volcano began erupting. The cloud of ash was reaching a full 20 kilometres into the air, and still managing an impressive volume: in the first 24 hours, more ash spewed out of Grímsvötn than was released in the entire 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, which famously caused the largest air traffic shutdown since World War II.

After determining through a series of standard questions that we indeed had no idea what we wanted to do with our time in his country – but we were up for just about any adventure – the enthusiastic young Icelander began loading us up with multiple maps, and the official tourist guides for all the regions we’d be driving through: West, North, East, South and the Reykjanes Peninsula. With a few more useful tips jotted down, a clockwise direction planned and a rough daily distance calculated, we headed to pick up our rental car.

In the morning we visited Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall. The force of the water was mesmerizing. And it took less than 30 seconds for the freezing spray to soak me down to my underwear, which seemed like a fitting conclusion to our northern leg of the tour.

In the days that followed, emails and phone calls from the friends and family aware of my travel plans inevitably all started with: “Did you see the news?” I reassured everyone that I was staying on top of the situation, and was confident that it would be cleared up before I was due to set foot on the island in a month’s time. Unfortunately, I had no scientific, logical or mystical evidence to support this claim – just a lot of blind hope. I didn’t put much effort into following the Grímsvötn saga, which in the end blew over without any consequence to my plans. Prior to leaving, I hadn’t really put much effort into preparing for the trip at all, short of buying a warm jacket. The itinerary I had so far discussed with my travel companion was admittedly simplistic: 1: Fly to Iceland. 2: Get on ring road. 3: Stop when we appear to be back where we started.

Go West Even with multiple stops and side trips, by the end of our first day we had already made it to the seaside town of Blönduós, on the edge of the West Iceland Tourist Guide map, and just off of Route 1. After setting up our tent in the camping park and enjoying a salmon dinner (the town is famous for its fishing spots), we settled down to build a rough itinerary for the following day. The gas station across the street offered free Wi-Fi, which allowed for a quick search of top sights in the north of the country, as well as some other useful information, like common phrases. I soon realized that my mouth would never be able to form an Icelandic sentence. Fortunately, I’d watched enough newscasts to pronounce Reykjavik convincingly, and over the next week I attempted to apply the same accent to thank you (Takk) and say hello (Halló).

On the plane ride over, as other eager tourists thumbed through thick guidebooks, I contemplated my current knowledge of the country. This was about as extensive as, well, probably the average person’s knowledge of Iceland: it’s an island, it’s cold, Bjork is strange but talented, and its volcanoes have unpronounceable names and a mighty ability to ruin vacations. We hadn’t purchased a travel book or scoured the Internet for tips or made any sort of must-see list. Iceland was a mystery we planned on uncovering as we went along. First stop: the tourist information booth in the Keflavik International Airport.

Northern Chills

“Hi. We’ve just landed, we have a week before we need to be back, and we’d like to drive the ring road. Any suggestions?”

Even after a long soak, a windy, rainy night in a tent was unappealing, so we sprang for “sleeping bag accommodation” in a nearby hotel. This discounted rate is offered by many guesthouses or farm-stays (and a few small hotels) for visitors who use their own sleeping bag on the bed, sparing the host the trouble of washing the sheets. It’s

After travelling through expansive valleys, reaching the fjords of eastern Iceland was a refreshing change of scenery. We detoured off of Route 1 to better explore the fishing villages that lined the coast; small collections of buildings nestled between the ocean and mountain ranges. By this time, thanks to conversations with locals and online tips, my must-try Icelandic foods had grown from “fish” to a lengthy, specific list of delicacies. I had picked up a tasty loaf of Geyser bread, baked in the ground by geothermal heat, at the Vogafjós Cowshed Café in the town of Reykjahlíð, the day before. We’d discovered Skyr, a thick Icelandic yogurt, by accident on a grocery run. Now I was on the search for Hákarl: fermented Greenland shark. It’s prepared by putting the carcass in the ground for a few months, so the natural poisons will leach out, and then hanging it to dry for a few months more. The town of Eskifjördur was on our route and well-known for shark hunting, so we booked ourselves into the Mjoeyri Guesthouse and made a reservation at Randulff´s Sea-house. The restaurant, which serves authentic Icelandic cuisine, is located in an artifact-filled, 19th-century herring fishery. The owner is a reindeer hunter, the son of a famous shark hunter; his brother carried on the family trade. They served the fermented shark in the traditional way, with a side chaser of an Icelandic spirit called Brennivín. The name translates into English as “burning wine,” which is kind of what you want to do to the taste of Hákarl. I was happy that I tried it, and I’m happy that I’ll never have to try it again. Reindeer, on the other hand, is delicious.

Southern Beauty We’d been told that the southern part of the island was the most breathtaking, but after driving past seaside cliffs, barren mountains, continue on page 22


“Well, what have you got figured out for your route so far?”

Compared to the sunny skies of our first day of travel, the north of the country seemed to be growing colder and darker the further we drove. By the time we reached the Mývatn region, it had started to drizzle. It was the perfect setting for a dip in the Mývatn Nature Baths, a soothing geothermal pool maintained at a constant temperature of 38–40ºC. According to the fellow Ring Roaders we spoke with, it offers the same kind of experience as the famous Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik, except you share it with far fewer people.

Eastern Exploration

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Maps, information, reser vations and hot beverages

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jutting fjords, geothermal valleys and waterfall after waterfall, it was hard to believe that the sights could get more spectacular. And then the Vatnajökull ice cap came into view, a gleaming white crown peaking through imposing black mountains, leading into a lush green valley below. Taking a gravel road to the terminus of the Skaftafellsjökull glacier, we hiked for hours on unmarked paths. Every side road off Route 1 seemed to lead to another access point; at the third we managed to find a spot to hike onto the glacier itself. On our second day, we took a boat tour past luminous icebergs in the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon – Iceland’s largest, and steadily growing due to the melting ice cap. We strolled on the black-sand beaches near Vik, awestruck by the rectangular stacks of basalt columns, that seamed more like a science-fiction set than a natural phenomenon. The day was still sunny when we made it to Skógafoss, a 60-metre-high waterfall with mists that offers a near-guaranteed double rainbow. At every stop, I was seeing something that I hadn’t seen before (not even in a guidebook).

The Golden Circle We were closing in on the Reykjanes peninsula, which includes the capital city of Reykjavik, two-thirds of the country’s population, and the majority of day-tripping tourists. Its most famous route is the Golden Circle, a 300-kilometre driving tour with major stops at the national park of Þingvellir, the waterfall Gullfoss, as well as the Geysir and Strokkur geothermal geysers. After spending a few days in the backcountry, the idea of competing for space among a horde of sightseers wasn’t very appealing. We decided to take advantage of the 24 hours of daylight, and start our tour at 11 p.m., after a dinner in Reykjavik. First, we stopped at a tourist office to make sure this was feasible. “We’re considering driving the Golden Circle at 2 a.m., and we just want to make sure that the sites will still be open.” “What do you mean?” “We don’t want to do it at that time if we can’t get in to see the waterfall and the geysers and the ridge.”

Her faced scrunched into an expression of confusion. “It’s nature,” she responded, as if she wasn’t sure she’d understood the question. “Nature is always open.” We’d forgotten our biggest lesson of the trip: Iceland is a place for explorers. Yes, there are some wise words of warning around the major sites, but mostly they let you know what to look out for and then trust you won’t do anything foolish. In our week of unplanned touring we’d scrambled up volcano craters, drunk scotch on the rocks with ice we chipped from a glacier, and sat in a hot spring in the middle of a field


Distance of the Ring Road, or Route 1: 1,339 kilometres Official Tourism Site: For more detailed notes on the regions you pass through on a ring-road tour: Favourite Accommodation and Dining Experience: Mjoeyri Guesthouse and Randulff´s Sea-house, in Eskifjördur – Favourite Hot Spring: Mývatn Nature Baths – Best Easy-Access National Park: Vatnajökull – Best Chain for Affordable Groceries: Bónus, easily spotted by its giant pink pig signage –

overlooking one of the largest ice caps in the world. Everything was a new discovery and a unique experience, the sort we wouldn’t have had if every minute had been planned, and every site anticipated.



It was close to midnight when we reached the rift valley along the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the Eurasian and North American Tectonic Plates meet. I ran through the crack in the earth’s crust, and then watched my last sunset in the land of eternal sunshine – a bright red streak across a blue-grey sky. Three hours later we were leaving Gullfoss, the Golden Falls, under a red-streak sunrise.



Nordic Skiing FREEDOM AND FUN By Stéphanie Drolet

Manufacturers are constantly one-upping each other in the goal of improving comfort and performance. Here are a few favourites that will complement your outings all season long.




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2 SEEING CLEAR There’s nothing better than a good pair of goggles. Besides protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays, the new One Way model offers quality vision without distortion: it will never get foggy, no matter what the weather conditions. The style is unisex, and strategically placed foam makes them extremely comfortable. ONE WAY, Snow Bird goggles | $100 |

1 HANDS-FREE Shaped like a key and available in several bright colours, BootMate is a new accessory developed by Skaði. It allows you to transport your pair of boots easily, efficiently and with style. Made in the United States and compatible will all recent cross-country boot styles. SKADI, BootMate | $18 |

3 COMFORT IS KEY These boxers are ideal to wear under your long johns and are a must-have for men: they offer unbeatable protection on very cold, windy days. Made with MidZero and FinoTherm technologies, their fabric prevents odours while keeping you warm (thickness is doubled at the back). Flat seams minimize chafing and the elastic band at the waist lets moisture escape. The boxers are incredibly comfortable, and are available for women also (pictured). SUGOI, Midzero Bun Toaster boxers | $45 |


4 FUEL ON THE GO The perfect way to transport some water and a few snacks: this Toko drink belt is equipped with an isothermal, one-litre, easy-to-wash bottle that keeps the temperature of its contents stable – ideal for colder conditions! The top pocket can carry a few essentials – think energy bars, wax or a camera – without sacrificing comfort. TOKO, drink belt | $55 | 5 FASHION MEETS FUNCTION An essential accessory for any outdoor enthusiast, Buff Performance Headwear is a simple and versatile garment: headband, tuque and neck warmer and some very popular ways to wear it. Designed to protect the face from adverse weather conditions, Buff products are available in hundreds of motifs. Personalized, custom orders are available: 25 units is the minimum. BUFF, headwear | $25 | 6 INDISPENSABLE A wonderful improvement on Madshus’ high-end model. These poles are lighter and stiffer than previous models. The handle was redesigned and has a solid, comfortable basket. The incline angle that existed on older models has been eliminated. The poles provide great quality for the price, and are just one notch below Swix’s Triac, the crème de la crème. MADSHUS, Nano Carbon Race 100 UHM poles | $280 | 7 THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK With global warming, manufacturers are offering more choices that cater to capricious weather conditions. Salomon’s new G2 Micro is a high-end, waxless ski that performs and feels just like a waxed style. The ski has a consistent kick thanks to the new G2 micro-grip technology and low heel-toe camber. SALOMON, Elite Aero G2 Micro skis | $315 | 8 TERRIFIC ALL-TERRAIN The Orbiters are shorter and more compact than traditional nordic skis, making gliding easier to control. It’s the perfect pair for outdoor fitness fanatics who want a ski that performs in all snow conditions, groomed or not. Premium Crown ensures great gliding and easy climbing, and the wider section in the climbing system zone enhances performance and optimizes stability. FISCHER, Orbiter skis | $270 |


9 THE PINNACLE OF PERFORMANCE A slick new look, all dressed in black, for one of the most popular skis on the market. It is known for being lightweight, and its hole at the tip that reduces swing weight, thus reducing pendulum action and making manoeuvrability less strenuous. FISHER, RCS Carbonlite Skating Plus Hole skis | $680 | 10 SMALL PRICE FOR PLEASURE An all-new classic ski, perfect for beginners or those looking to perfect their style. The ideal mix of performance and comfort makes every outing a joy. Imperfect technique? These skis are very forgiving. Available in waxless (CL) or waxable (AR), depending on your preference. ROSSIGNOL, Zymax Classic skis | $180 | 11 NEED FOR SPEED Worldcup Classic is a new featherweight ski that delivers peak performance. It owes its outstanding qualities to a Featherlight construction with Nomex that provides a perfectly balanced flex and is also very supple. Thanks to its World Cup base and narrow side-cut design, this ski is superbly speedy and is the perfect pick for anyone who is an avid fan of performance and pure speed. ATOMIC, Worldcup Classic skis | $550 |

Available at Better Retail Shops Across Canada. For More Information, Call 1.877.771.7671 1

Offert chez les détaillants de qualité à l’échelle du Canada. Pour de plus amples renseignements, appelez au 1.877.771.7671

ADVENTURA _ WINTER 2011 _ _ 25



Getting Down to Basics By Stephania Varalli

As the temperature drops, the layers come on. While adding bulky insulation works fine for a stroll, if you want to be seriously active in the outdoors, you’ll need clothing that can keep you warm and dry without limiting your motion. It all starts with a lightweight, moisture-wicking base layer. Here are eight options you’ll appreciate having next to your skin in winter. 1. BODYFIT ACTIVE OASIS CREWE AND 200 LEGGING Merino wool is the natural wonder of the performance-fabric world. The ultra-fine fibres are lightweight, soft, insulating, moisture-wicking, highly breathable and odour-resistant. Constructed for comfort and ease of movement, the pure merino Bodyfit line can keep up with any winter sport enthusiast. Available in a variety of colours and patterns, the tops are as wearable indoors as they are functional outdoors. For a bit more stretch, try the GT Technical line, which includes three-percent lycra. ICEBREAKER, Top $90–$100 | Bottom $90 |


2. DRY REVOLUTION LONG-SLEEVE TOP AND PANT The inventors of the world’s first technical base layer (way back in 1970) are still innovating. Just launched this year, the new Dry Revolution LIFA polypropylene fibres are softer, more comfortable and more efficient at keeping the skin drier for longer durations. Constructed with a minimum of seams and flatlock stitching, the only thing you feel against your skin is warmth. HELLY HANSEN, Top $70 | Bottom $65 |



4. T2 LONG-SLEEVE CREW AND LONG JOHNS If your performance is on a budget, look no further than MEC’s mid-weight base layers. Ideal for active sports, the recycled and heavy-metal-free polyester is both lightweight and moisture-wicking, and there’s a bit of spandex added for stretch. If you’d rather go the natural route, MEC also offers affordable merino wool base layers for both men and women. MOUNTAIN EQUIPMENT CO-OP, Top $35 | Bottom $35 | 5. BREATH THERMO VIRTUAL STRETCH CREW AND TIGHT Winter has no chance against this new technology: not only does the Breath Thermo fabric pull sweat away from your body, the specially designed fibres convert that moisture into heat. Plus, the Virtual Stretch design, with varying thicknesses and stretches, is based on muscle-movement studies in Japan. That means your knees have the freedom to move, while your quads stay toasty warm, for example. Lightweight and resilient (you can’t wash away the Breath Thermo magic), your training season never needs to end. MIZUNO, Top $80 | Bottom $80 | 3. SEAMLESS X-STATIC COMPRESSION TOP AND PANT If Spiderman went skiing, he’d no doubt be sporting this gear. Not only do you look like a superhero, the polypropylene with X-static silver-coated fibre used in the garment is naturally moisture-wicking, antimicrobial, anti-odour and anti-static. Compression keeps your muscles supported, breathability keeps your temperature regulated, and since the properties of silver are permanent, the performance benefits won’t fade in the wash. SPYDER, Top $110 | Bottom $90 |


6. MID-WEIGHT BASE LAYER LONG-SLEEVE TOP AND TIGHT Ever heard it’s what is on the inside that counts? Flip one of Columbia’s base layers inside-out and you’ll find the reflective silver dot-matrix of their new Omni-Heat technology, designed to send just the right amount of body heat back to you while still wicking the moisture out. Form-fitted but not as skin-tight as other products, the stretchy fabric is suitable for any high-exertion activity. COLUMBIA, Top $65 | Bottom $65 |


7. INTEGRAL LONG-SLEEVE CREW AND TIGHT Can’t choose between high-tech polyester and natural wool? Then don’t. This blend of recycled poly and merino is soft, warm and sweat-wicking, and with MicroClimate Zoning construction, you’ll get more insulation in cold-sensitive areas and breathability where your body puts out more heat. It’s more affordable than a pure merino product, while still delivering some of the benefits of the natural wonder-fibre. MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR, Top $75 | Bottom (women’s only) $65 |


8. EXO XR ½ ZIP LS TECH TEE AND TIGHT It’s designed especially for running on uneven surfaces (like trails, or perhaps a snowy sidewalk), so serious athletes will appreciate all that EXO Sensifit has to offer. Designed to fit tight, they provide postural support and increased blood flow by way of a rubbery grid-pattern integrated webbing that still allows for freedom of movement. Not only does it help with performance, it also helps with recovery. The fabric also delivers on moisture management, warmth and weight. SALOMON, Top $120 | Bottom $120 |

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ADVENTURA _ WINTER 2011 _ _ 27

Balancing the Promises of the PH ALKALINE DIET

© Sabine Kappel

By Shelagh McNally

Diets come and diets go. Some last longer than others. Some are rediscovered. The pH alkaline diet fits into that final category: it has recently made a comeback and is gaining in popularity as it promises to boost energy, optimize health and prolong life. The question is, does it deliver? First created in the 1920s by the New York physician William Howard Hay, it is based on the theory that in order to stay healthy, humans need to keep their pH levels hovering between 7.36 to 7.44 – our optimal acid-alkaline balance. The pH scale (pH stands for “potential for hydrogen”) spans from 0 (extremely acidic) to 14 (extremely alkaline). Anything with a pH of seven is considered neutral, so humans are slightly alkaline under normal circumstances. Unfortunately, our modern diet, filled with red meats, sugars, fats, coffee and processed foods, is highly acidic. Advocates of the pH diet believe that consuming high amounts of these acidic foods disrupts the pH of the bloodstream, affecting every living cell in the body. This causes inflammation, putting unnecessary stress on our system, eventually leading to breakdown. Symptoms associated with a “too-acidic” metabolism are quite long and varied. They include low energy, chronic fatigue, frequent colds, nervousness, stress, irritability, headaches, muscle and joint pain, fibrocystic breasts, leg cramps, arthritis, yeast infections, weight gain, acid indigestion, gastritis, cancer and inflammation. The problem? These symptoms are associated with a number of other diseases as well.

“People who advocate for the diet describe symptoms that apply to a lot of people, making it tempting to try. This is a problem with so many popular diets – the symptoms are so broad and so many people fit into the descriptions,” says Kate Comeau, MSc., Dt.P, nutritionist and director of VIVAÏ. “The major problem with this diet is that it confuses science with myth and can be very restrictive if followed in its extreme form.” Some supporters also believe that cells change their makeup in order to survive in the acidic environment, eventually becoming cancerous over a period of time. Research does point to cancer cells being more acidic than healthy alkaline cells, but that’s as far as the research has gone. Scientists have examined cellular changes in response to a fluctuating pH level, but there have been no clinical trials done on the diet. The true effects are still under investigation. Yet people who have tried the diet quickly become advocates – limited scientific evidence or not. Personal sports and nutrition coach Joanna K. Chodorowska, BA, NC, started after a painful injury. “I regularly follow an alkaline diet, and I also suggest it for my athlete clients, too. Why? It helps with recovery, helps with energy, helps with limiting cramps, helps with


fighting free radicals [phytonutrients]. And it also has plant-based proteins, which can be easier to digest than animal proteins,” says Chodorowska. Chad Watkins, a professional in the insurance industry, turned to the pH alkaline diet three years ago to cure his acid reflux. He found that he had more energy for weight training and snowboarding after being on the diet. “I’ve felt much better and don’t take any medication. I do find that I have better energy and perform better on this diet. It probably doesn’t hurt that I have lost 30 pounds over the last few years and am back to my college wrestling weight. It’s hard to know exactly, but I would guess that the increased energy and performance could be attributed equally between the diet and the weight loss,” said Watkins. Critics have focused on some of the associated gimmicks of the diet, in particular the regular testing of pH levels by using pH strips and urine, which should be easy since you’re encouraged to drink eight ounces of water every two hours. Alkaline water, naturally. That means no carbonated mineral water or water purified by reverse osmosis, deionization, distillation or bottling. Again, there’s no hard scientific evidence that this type of water makes a difference, but there are dealers selling it over the Internet. Continually checking pH levels can actually be misleading. The truth is, it’s hard to accurately judge the correct ratio of acid and alkaline foods because there are so many elements at play. Food preparation, genetics, individual metabolisms, exercise and lifestyle all factor in. Certain foods start off acidic (lemons and limes) but become alkaline once digested, while others (beef) start off alkaline and become acidic.

“The process of digestion is complex and highly regulated. Our bodies react to the foods that we are eating and react to keep things like pH and blood sugar within a very precise range. The foods that we eat do not instantly change our pH blood levels. The foods we eat can cause pH levels to change slightly, but our bodies react and bring levels back into a normal range,” said Comeau. Another major problem with the pH diet is that the associated benefits may be short-term. Not because the diet doesn’t work, but because people find it difficult to stick with it over a long period of time. “It’s important to make changes in your diet with long-term goals in mind. Start off with smaller goals that are realistic and can be measured,” said Comeau. That doesn’t mean the alkaline diet is guaranteed to set you up for failure, or even disappointment. Eating your greens and cutting back on junk food will have an impact on your health, no matter what your motivations are. And these guidelines aren’t unique to an alkaline style of eating: if you look closely at the pH diet, it resembles other popular diets recommended for reducing inflammation and losing weight. “The anti-inflammatory diet and alkaline diet are about the same in my opinion,” said Chodorowska. Both are based on consuming mostly fresh vegetables, grains, raw nuts and oils high in omegas. Perhaps that’s the key to the pH diet’s success – getting us to eat better. Eliminating refined sugars, flours, fatty meats, processed foods and saturated fats will bring positive results. Balance seems to be the key: too much of anything, no matter how healthy, and regardless of whether it’s alkaline or acidic, is not going to give you optimal health.

CREATE THE PH ALKALINE DIET The standard pH Alkaline diet is 75–80 percent alkaline foods, with 20–25 percent acidic foods. Don’t worry if you can’t achieve that level. Get too restrictive and you’ll be unhappy. ACIDIC FOODS TO CUT BACK Fruits: Due to their high sugar content, most fruits are acid-forming. The sweeter the fruit, the more acid will be produced. Cut back to one or two pieces of fruit per day, including dried fruit as well. Exceptions are lemons, limes and tomatoes. Their lack of sugar makes them alkaline. Tea, Coffee and Cocoa: Sadly, caffeine is super-acidic. Not only does that cut out your cup of joe, it means green tea as well, since it contains almost as much caffeine as coffee. Antioxidant-rich rooibos tea is a great alternative, as is any other tea except herbal fruit teas (because of their sugar content). Bread: A tough one to cut back since it’s a staple for so many. Abandon the nutritionally dead white bread and opt for yeast-free and gluten-free breads or wraps. Your best options are the tasty sprouted breads, which are mildly alkaline. Other moderately alkaline grains include brown rice, oats, rye bread, wild rice and pasta. Meat, Dairy, Eggs: While some fish is okay to consume, shellfish and farmed fish are off-limits. As for dairy, the only exception is goat’s milk, which is mildly alkaline. You can also try a dairy alternative, like almond milk. Condiments: Say goodbye to honey, jams, jelly, soy sauce, vinegar, yeast, artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, butter and canola oil. Nuts and Seeds: Cut back on cashews, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, Brazil nuts, chestnuts, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts. Other Acidic No-no’s: No more chocolate, wine, beer or spirits. ALKALINE FOODS TO ADD Begin by gradually adding these alkaline foods to your diet. Don’t know where to start? Salads are an easy way to get fresh vegetables into your daily meals. Most Alkaline: Cucumber, kale, spinach, broccoli, parsley, sea vegetables (kelp, wakame, nori, arame), all types of sprouts (beans, alfalfa, lentils, sunflower seeds) and natural sea salt. Moderately Alkaline: Avocado, beets, peppers, cabbage, celery, collard greens, endive, garlic, ginger, green beans, radish, red onion, arugula, onions and quinoa. Mildly Alkaline: Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrot, chives, zucchini, leeks, baby potatoes, peas, rhubarb, grapefruit, buckwheat, lentils, tofu, beans, goat milk and almond milk. ADVENTURA _ WINTER 2011 _ _ 29

© Mathieu Lamarre


Sleep(walk)ing Bags A photographer, like any other artistically inclined professional, will always try to develop his or her own special way to look at things. It is an ever-repeated challenge to photograph well-documented scenes or subjects with a distinctive eye. The desert, as a particular landscape, is one of those common subjects. Most people have seen the same enchanting (but generic) images of the Sahara – so how does one manage to find a fresh angle in this virginal set-up? Cast a few volunteer tourists, dress them up with their fancy sleeping bags and voilà! Fun, and different from everyone else’s take. THE TOOLS: NIKON F90X, FUJI PROVIA 100 FILM, 20MM F/2.8 LENS, ISO 100, F/5.6, 1/125 SECOND

- Mathieu Lamarre, photojournalist


© Wolverine Outdoors 2011


breathable, waterproof Stability, flexibility and style. You can have it all in this full-grain and nubuck leather hiking boot. Its women’s specific stride-sequenced cushioning gives you all-day comfort when you need it most. So wherever you want to go, Merrell shoes and clothing will get you there. Find out how at

Adventura - Winter 2011  

Adventura - Winter 2011