Embrace the season with Canada's largest winter sports festival
Quebec City's Pentathlon des Neiges runs Feb. 26 to March 13
Winter is not the time to hideaway. We’ve done enough of that the last two years. Now, more than any other year is the time to get out there and embrace the season and have fun. And what better way to begin than with a classic Canadian winter event, such as the Pentathlon des Neiges.
“Of course, everybody's excited to be doing events again,” says Gilles Morneau, communications and marketing director for the Pentathlon. “Because everybody’s lives have been put on hold because of COVID, we expect more participants this year.”
Newly expanded for 2022, and scheduled for Feb. 26 to March 13, the Pentathlon des Neiges de Québec is the largest winter sports festival in the country with enough events and sports challenges to satisfy one and all.
This landmark event is like a multisport dream with 20 challenges and up to five individual winter sports in which to participate solo or with a team. Oh, and did we mention it’s in Quebec City on the historic Plains of Abraham? One of the country’s most charming, active, and snow-loving cities.
It’s an event that has kept Alberta resident Doug MacIsaac coming back on three occasions, and has a bucketful of memories that keep him coming back for more.
“My fondest memory would be the spirit and atmosphere of the event,” MacIsaac says. “Although everyone is there to compete in each of the five disciplines against each other and whatever elements winter has to offer, the camaraderie amongst the participants is energetic and so supportive. With the ‘carnival’ festivities and music, the Pentathlon des Neiges also has a very European vibe to it which is quite refreshing and a different experience for someone like me from Western Canada. Once the race starts, your heart is warm no matter what the temperature is.”
There are several events and challenges from which to choose during the competition period most revolving around five essential sports: cross-country skiing, ice skating, cycling, running, and snowshoeing. There are long-distance endurance competitions as well as short-distance sprints. There is something for everyone even family and corporate challenges.
One of the featured events running on the first weekend is the Iceman Challenge, which replaces the ICU Triathlon World Cup.
“We still want to give it an international connotation. The Iceman Challenge is the winter counterpart to the famous summer Ironman Triathlon. A real endurance event for the winter, which is 10K of running, 40K of skating, and 25K of cross-country skiing.”
But the big event continues to be the Pentathlon itself, which features all five sports, and especially popular is the team challenge where as many as 150 teams or more compete in the ultimate endurance challenge in five winter sports.
The Pentathlon has even made it easy and fun to decide what events to do and with whom with the Find My Challenge platform.
This year, the long-standing event will expand to offer an even wider selection of activities for participants including a special program during school spring break that will allow people to show up and try a multitude of new sports from ultimate frisbee on the snow to ice canoeing to skating and skiing.
“If there are people who are not interested in racing and participating in the different challenges, they can always come during spring break and enjoy just trying different sports and have fun,” says Morneau.
There will, of course, be many social events and fun to be had on site and outside of the competitions, and the official hotel of the Pentathlon is the Chateau Laurier Quebec, a perfect base to enjoy a trip to a winter wonderland for the entire family.
“The Pentathlon des Neiges offers an experience that is unique, rewarding, and exciting!” MacIsaac says. It’s unique in that the event takes place on the Plains of Abraham in the heart of Old Quebec, rewarding as you are competing in five separate disciplines that are individually a challenge in itself, and exciting as the energy from the other participants, volunteers, and spectators gets you through to the finish line.”
For more information on this event go to www.pentathlondesneiges.com.