Cross-country skiing: more and more young people on the tracks

Ski de fond: de plus en plus de jeunes sur les pistes

The cross-country skiing has experienced a growth of almost 5 % per year among young people under the age of 12 years, the last four years, in Quebec. And the cross-country ski clubs of the region are no exception, with inscriptions record this winter.

Last Sunday, they were a quarantine to take part in the first course of the club Jackrabbit, the skiing Center of Albanel. “It is a record of entries “, says coordinator of the club, Karine Larouche, before adding that some thirty young people were enrolled last year.

According to the latter, this growth is in part attributable to the primary School Sainte-Lucie, Albanel, who brings the young to ski to the centre two times per year. “There is clearly an excitement,” adds Isabelle Gauthier, the other coordinator of the club, which sees many parents accompany their young on the slopes.

In addition to join the skiers from the town, the magic of social networks such as Facebook has helped to get young people of Saint-Félicien and Roberval, note Karine Larouche, who believes that the program Jackrabbit cross-country Ski Canada is a program very well suited for the gym in the fun.

After being amused for a few minutes in the playground, waiting for all the little skiers arrive, the young people gather for the warm-up. Subsequently, they are separated into groups of about seven young people, according to their skill level, for a course of two hours. The small 4-and 5-year-old, who participate in the course of Bunny rabbits, following a course of an hour. For each level, the young are followed by an instructor and a coach from the club competition, Nordski.

Each time a young person completes an apprenticeship, he receives a sticker that he can put it on a poster of the program which was given to him. This allows you to highlight the growth of the techniques and move on to the next levels.

Eight courses

In the course of the season, the youth will receive eight courses, in addition to participating in the olympics of the end of the season, for an amount of $ 80 for first child, $ 70 for 2nd and $ 50 for the 3rd. Equipment rental is available at $ 35 for the season. In addition, they will also be able to participate in the various competitions organised in Jonquière (19 January), Dolbeau-Mistassini (26 January), Albanel (February 9) and Alma (16 February).

Even the sound of a bell at the cross-country ski club Dorval to Alma, where the number of young skiers is spent twenty of the 53 this winter, underlines its co-ordinator, Pauline Laprise. With the contribution of a hundred pairs of skis to the bottom of the Grand défi Pierre Lavoie, in the framework of the project The Small Expedition, the club can now accommodate more schools, providing the rental free of charge, ” she said. “Many children who are discovering the sport loved it and they signed up this winter,” adds the woman, who also notes that many adults get back to cross-country skiing.

Ski de fond: de plus en plus de jeunes sur les pistes


In the center of ski The Norwegian, Jonquière, nearly 60 youth are enrolled in the program Jackrabbit, a stable number for the past several years. It must be said that the center offers equipment rental, and free access to trails for youth for six years, said Christine Tremblay, clerk to the host. “Since it’s free, it has four times more young people who come to do cross-country skiing at the centre,” she said.

According to Maxime Venne, development coordinator for cross country Skiing Quebec, the rise of cross-country skiing among young people is being felt across the province, because the sport is experiencing a rise in annual 3% to 5% for the past four years. In addition to The Small Expedition, the regional Units of leisure and sport have greatly helped to support the centres of cross-country skiing by providing grants to clubs and schools. “It was also a unit of ski-mobile, that moves in schools to introduce the sport to young people, and provides training to teachers with the program Iniski,” he says.



In the winter of 2018, The Small Expedition, led by the team of the Grand défi Pierre Lavoie (GDPL), distributed 1000 cross country skiing equipment across the province, allowing thousands of young people to try the sport. For the second year of the program, 1000 pairs will be distributed so that the number of centres from 14 to 23. The goal : to provide the rental equipment and trail access to thousands of young people.

“We have four beautiful seasons in Quebec, but many young people are locked up for the winter,” notes Stephanie Charette, director of communications of the GDPL. The best way to love the winter, it is a sport. And to ensure that young people can move to the year, we decided to start with one of the favorite sports of Pierre Lavoie : the cross-country skiing. “

Launched last winter, the program is already a rage everywhere where equipment has been given to the clubs. “In exchange for the free equipment, asked the centres to cater for young people under the age of 12 years free of charge on the tracks,” adds the latter. The equipment is as well available for families who want to practice the sport, but also for schools wishing to offer initiations at no cost.

And the enthusiasm for the program continues to grow, as the number of centres participating in The Small Expedition went from 14 2018 23 2019, including seven in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. “The inclusion of all young people, and accessibility is our priority,” notes Stephanie Charette, who is very proud to have been able to touch tens of thousands of young people in the first year of the program.

“Only, it would be difficult to have as good results, but by working in partnership with the ski centres, schools, and companies such as Rossignol, which offer skis at a discount, you can get there,” she said.

The SÉPAQ is also involved in the adventure, delivering free access to the slopes for the youth in six national parks.



All youth 12 years and under have access to the equipment and cross-country ski tracks free of charge in these seven centers of the region:

•Mont-Edouard, L’anse-Saint-Jean

•Cross-country ski Club Dorval to Alma

•Club Tobo-Ski St-Felicien

•Centre Do-Mi-Ski,


•Centre plein air Bec-Scie, La Baie

•Club open-air Ouiatchouan, Roberval

•Skiing Club, The Norwegian, Jonquière

+ Access to hiking trails is also free of charge for young people in the skiing Center of Albanel.

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