New Book Celebrates 100 Years of Trail Skiing in the Gatineau
Burnstown:- Burnstown Publishing House is pleased to announce the release of The Trail
Beckons: 100 Years of Cross-Country Skiing in the Gatineau (164 pages, $25.00) by former
Olympian Malcolm Hunter.
Thousands continue to enjoy skiing the Gatineau trails each winter and thousands more hike
many of the same trails. We have been doing so for 100 years. The storied history of this long
tradition is the heart and soul of the book.
Meet the original trail builders in the 1920s, Charles Mortureux and Joe Morin, and the trails
they made, The Western, Little Switzerland, Highland and Merry Go Round. Hear their many
stories; how Penquin Parking Lot got its name, how Camp Fortune became the centre of the trail
system well before the establishment of the Gatineau Park in 1938.
“As a youngster in the 1960s, I enjoyed all the thrills Joe Morin had to offer. Ski with me the
Merry Go Round, the Highland Trail, and Little Switzerland with all its follies and challenging
efforts,” writes Hunter in his introduction. “Skiing first in the park in the 1950s, I enjoyed the
trails the way they were originally built and was able to meet many of the old-time skiers who
skied those trails right back to the 1920s.”
Malcolm Hunter has known the Gatineau for more than 60 years. He began as a 7-year-old
skiing to Keogan Lodge and in the 1972 Olympics was Canada’s leading male cross-country
skier. The sport has remained a big part of his life; he has been a ski coach, a trail consultant for
the NCC and Executive Director of Cross Country Canada, the national governing body for
cross-country skiing. He now lives part time in the Gatineau and continues to ski many hundred
kilometres there each winter.
So, what is the great affinity to trail skiing in the park? What is the great attachment to the hills?
Hunter draws on Old Mort in his introduction: First it was the hard work and the challenge of
being outdoors in the wintertime. But with time, the landscape and one’s efforts beckoned you to
return. The wintry sky, the ancient Gatineau mountains, the camaraderie of fellow skiers all drew
you in til it became a dream each approaching winter season to get out those skis and look for
snow in the air.
Indeed, the Gatineau Trails beckon again.
Anne Kari H. Ovind, Norway’s Ambassador to Canada, has graciously offered to host a launch
event for The Trail Beckons at her official residence in Ottawa on November 13. In her
Foreword to the book she writes, ”When I arrived in Ottawa as Norway’s ambassador to Canada,
one of my first outdoor experiences was skiing through the beautiful Gatineau Park. . . . I fell in
love with the park immediately and my enthusiasm for skiing the Gatineau hills continues to
grow as I constantly explore new trails.”
The Trail Beckons: 100 Years of Cross-Country Skiing in the Gatineau is available in select
bookstores, and directly from the publisher.