The Kananaskis Ski Marathon is a "loppet", a cross-country ski race open to the public, emphasizing participation, personal challenge, camaraderie, sportsmanship, and fun. The competition takes place in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, one of Alberta's finest cross-country ski trail systems, about a ninety-minute drive west of Calgary in Kananaskis Country. All competitors - over 500 of them - are treated to beverages and hot soup, and (most importantly!) plenty of home-made cookies - that's why our loppet is called "the Cookie Race"!
Staging this event is only possible thanks to the coordinated efforts of many people (over 150 volunteers, plus all the cookie bakers). To help us continue this tradition we need an annual commitment from our members to:
Let's save the environment this year! Please bring your own soup bowl and spoon.
Registration for the 2016 Cookie Race has gone live. Register now
500 Meter and 1 km Jackrabbit courses initiated in 2008. There will be a pedestrian crosswalk on Kananaskis Lakes Trail (main road). Please obey all traffic signs and directions from traffic controllers. While there will still be a timed 'Touring' category for 15km and 24km courses, medals only given for the 'Racing' categories. There is an overall limit on participation, so registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. So far, we have never had to cut off registrations, but there is always that possibility. Pocaterra parking lot reserved for car-pool vehicles only (greater than 1 person per vehicle).
You will need to review and fill out the following forms in order to participate.
Be sure to bring extra clothing and wax for changing weather conditions. If you wish to discontinue racing, you MUST hand over your bib and transponder to a race official at Boulton or at the finish line before leaving the area. A shuttle service from Boulton feeding station back to Pocaterra will be provided. If you're not a competitor, note that all the park's ski trails remain open to the public during the event. Finally, please note that dogs can be a problem around race sites. Please ensure your dog is on a leash, or, better yet, left at home.
The Delta Lodge at Kananaskis is the closest accommodation to the race site (approx. 35 minutes drive). Rooms starting from $139.00 per night plus applicable taxes (based on 2 people in a room)
Accommodation is also available in Canmore at the Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge.
Kananaskis Ski Marathon - Race Courses
At Pocaterra Hut in waves commencing at 10:00 am SHARP. Detailed start times depend on registration and will be posted at the stadium.
The 5km race starts (10:30am) and finishes at Pocaterra Hut like the adult races, and participants require snowplowing skills. The 3 km race starts at 10:35 at Pocaterra Hut. The 1 km race starts at 11:30 on a course across the highway (please use the designated crosswalk).
Start at Pocaterra Hut and following Pocaterra, Lynx, Woolley, Meadow, (9 km water station), Amos, Lynx, Pocaterra to finish line at Pocaterra Hut.
Start at Pocaterra Ski Hut. Ski Pocaterra, Lynx, Woolley, Meadow (9 km water station), Wheeler, Lakeside (13 km feeding station above Boulton Parking), Packers and Pocaterra to the finish line at Pocaterra Hut.
Start at Pocaterra Hut. Follow the 24 km course to Boulton Parking lot feeding station. Then ski Whiskey Jack, Tyrwhitt, (Elk Pass feeding station at 23 km), Elk Pass, Fox Creek, Moraine (Boulton feeding station at 32 km), Packers, and Pocaterra to the finish line at Pocaterra Hut.
There is an elevation gain of about 300 meters from Pocaterra to Elk Pass, the high point of the 42 km course, located on the Continental Divide. The longest climb on the 42 km course is 280 meters on Whiskey Jack trail (km 13-17.3). The highest point on the 24 km course is about 190 meters higher than Pocaterra, and the longest climb is 130 meters on Packers trail (km 13-16.1).
Note: if trail conditions are unsafe, changes to the routes or the start area may be required.
The CUT-OFF TIME for skiers leaving Boulton (13km) feeding station on the outbound leg of both the 24 km and 42 km races will be 12:00. The CUT-OFF TIME for skiers leaving Boulton feeding station on the finish leg of the 42 km race will be 13:30. Any skiers arriving at Boulton after the cut-off times will be asked to discontinue racing. A shuttle van will be provided at Boulton for those who discontinue skiing, to transport them back to Pocaterra.
Volunteers are heros! It takes over 150 volunteers to make the Cookie Race happen, not including the army of cookie bakers. We need people to help Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The signup sheets below let you see what jobs remain unfilled, and exact time requirements. Many people volunteer for more than one job, and many racers volunteer to help before or after the race!
Like all loppets, the Cookie Race relies on volunteers -- as many as 150 pitch in each year. Many participants have expressed appreciation for our friendly, reliable volunteer officials. We always welcome a few more volunteers for tasks before, during, and after the race.
On race morning, please check in at the tent adjacent to Pocaterra parking (there will be a sign). We'll have any equipment you need, and will direct you if necessary. Anyone bringing cookies may drop them in the main soup tent.
If members of the public approach you wanting to ski where the trail is used for the race course, you should warn them politely that the trails may be congested in certain areas, but tell them that none of the trails are closed. Advise the public to go to the Visitor Information Centre for advice about where to ski.
If any competitor drops out of the race, please request their bib and transpoder (the timing chip on their leg!) and hand in them in at the timing shack. If you can't get their bib, please make a note of the bib number and let Timing know, by radio if possible. We make every reasonable effort to account for every competitor at the end of the day and we need to retrieve all the transponders.
Safety is a prime concern -- safety of volunteers, competitors, and the public. Please be sure to dress warmly, especially with boots, and bring adequate food and drink. Any volunteers shoveling snow on roads or directing traffic must wear the fluorescent vests provided. Be aware of the effects of cold and fatigue on yourself, your colleagues, and competitors. Especially in cold weather, monitor others as much as you can for frostbite or hypothermia. Blankets and warm beverages will be available at Boulton feeding station and at Pocaterra. At Elk Pass feeding station, the Park rangers usually station a rescue snowmobile and toboggan. The Ski Patrol and senior race officials have the authority to pull a competitor who appears unable to finish, off the course. There are cut-off times at Boulton feeding station to eliminate very slow racers who might have difficulty finishing. A vehicle shuttle is available at Boulton to carry people back to Pocaterra. All race courses are swept by course closers. The Jackrabbit races have extra course controllers to prevent kids from getting off their course.
We operate the race with the cooperation and supervision of PLPP (K-Country) conservation officer. Our Club has a formal agreement with them. They are especially concerned with safety matters, and have responsibility for any rescues or evacuations. The Ski Patrol assists with first aid on the course. PLPP stipulate that no commercial signage or activity be carried out in the Park, so our sponsors' banners are confined to specific places. Of course since we are in a Provincial Park we are especially careful to pick up all signage and litter at the end of the race.