Image by Benoit Gilbert; Text by Lena Katz, JustLuxe.com.
  • Ice Canoe Races In Quebec

    You think it's cold where you are? In Quebec, temperatures hover around negative-20 degrees, and the powerful Saint Lawrence River is a treacherous expanse of ice, snow and churning slush. Perfect conditions for the ice canoe races - a tradition in Quebec for more than 150 years.
    Image by Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac; Text by Lena Katz, JustLuxe.com.
  • Ice Canoe Races In Quebec

    The oldest and most significant race of the ice canoe circuit is held at the annual Quebec Winter Carnival. It's the second-largest spectacle of the carnival, which runs through February 17, 2013 and also includes a parade, a masquerade ball and an ice carving competition.
    Image by Benoit Gilbert; Text by Lena Katz, JustLuxe.com.
  • Ice Canoe Races In Quebec

    In addition to sheets of moving ice and chunks of snow as large as a car, racers have to battle past other canoes ? and in places where there's only one clear path through the natural obstacles, canoe racers face one heck of a traffic jam.
    Image by Benoit Gilbert; Text by Lena Katz, JustLuxe.com.
  • Ice Canoe Races In Quebec

    The object of the race is to cross the St Lawrence and return back. The elite men's division completes this course twice. The other divisions do it only once. Most people in the world, Quebecois or otherwise, could not get even 500 feet across the moving ice floes, and are content to watch from viewing areas high above, on the pier and the riverbanks.
    Image by Benoit Gilbert; Text by Lena Katz, JustLuxe.com.
  • Ice Canoe Races In Quebec

    Most of the finest athletes in Quebec participate in the ice canoe races as a test of mettle and team sportsmanship. There's a tiny cash prize for the first-place winner, but most people do it for the excitement and the honor of simply completing a course.
    Image by Michel Emond; Text by Lena Katz, JustLuxe.com.
  • Ice Canoe Races In Quebec

    In case you were wondering: Yes. Women compete on this circuit as well. Plenty of them. Many couples have met and fallen in love during the ice canoe training and racing season. It's also common to see female racers who are pregnant or have a newborn baby.
    Image by Michel Emond; Text by Lena Katz, JustLuxe.com.
  • Ice Canoe Races In Quebec

    Two young ice canoe spectators at the 2013 Quebec City Ice Canoe Race, held February 10, 2013. Also, potential Women's Elite racers of 2025.
    Image by Benoit Gilbert; Text by Lena Katz, JustLuxe.com.
  • Ice Canoe Races In Quebec

    Conditions on the St. Lawrence this year were dramatic: huge chunks of snow, dangerously angled sheets of breaking ice to scurry across, and strong current in the moving water. For beginners, it was terrifying. For experienced racers, it was a great time!
    Image by Michel Emond; Text by Lena Katz, JustLuxe.com.
  • Ice Canoe Races In Quebec

    Better not miss that buoy! Racers who fail to touch the buoy checkpoint and smoothly turn into the return leg of the course often will find themselves squeezed out by other racers or fighting the current for a second try. If they don't touch it, they're disqualified.
    Image by Michel Emond; Text by Lena Katz, JustLuxe.com.
  • Ice Canoe Races In Quebec

    The boots of an ice warrior: They don't sell these in stores. Racers fashion their own footwear. This boot is a rugby cleat with long screws embedded in the soles, supported by duct tape.
    Image by Lena Katz; Text by Lena Katz, JustLuxe.com.
  • Ice Canoe Races In Quebec

    The vernacular of ice canoe racing is full of interesting terms. For example, "skating rink" conditions: When the ice is so smooth, teams can easily glide across it. And "meat grinder": When one sheet of ice is stationery, and the one directly below it is moving rapidly in the current. Get your leg caught in it, and?
    Image by Michel Emond; Text by Lena Katz, JustLuxe.com.
  • Ice Canoe Races In Quebec

    Another familiar term: Dunking. Go chest-deep in the water, and you have about 15 seconds before your body succumbs to hypothermia. Here, a few racers cling onto their canoe, trying to move past the slush without a major dunk.
    Image by Benoit Gilbert; Text by Lena Katz, JustLuxe.com.
  • Ice Canoe Races In Quebec

    The almost-unbeatable Men's Elite Division champions from Team Chateau Frontenac make it look easy. But make no mistake: They win due to relentless training, constant technological innovations, and precise strategy.
    Image by Benoit Gilbert; Text by Lena Katz, JustLuxe.com.
  • Ice Canoe Races In Quebec

    At the end of the race, there are no fancy after-parties or sponsored banquets. Instead, racers haul their own canoes back to their vehicles, hitch them to their trailers, and head to the local bar for a beer and burger. Or back home, to start thinking about the next race.
    Image by Lena Katz; Text by Lena Katz, JustLuxe.com.
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