Edmonton Ski Club taking off with Flying Canoe Festival
The Edmonton Ski Club and Flying Canoe Festival have once again come together after a hiatus.
The Flying Canoe Festival celebrates French-Canadian, First Nations and Metis traditions. While the festival itself has been happening, the Flying Canoe Races have been on hiatus since 2017.
“When you say Flying Canoe Races going down a ski hill, in a way, it sells itself. I think it creates enough intrigue and interest that people are going, 'You're doing what?,'" said Daniel Cournoyer, with La Cite Francophone.
The races occur in stages: run to the canoe, race down the luge run in the canoe, and finally, saw through a log with a buck saw. Extra points are awarded for accurate throws in an axe toss bonus game.
In 2017, the Flying Canoe Races were held because of the Canada 150 funds that had been made available across the country. Without those funds the festival was unable to host the races in 2018 and 2019, according to Cournoyer.
“Thanks to the Experimental Tourism fund and Western Diversification, we’re able to develop unique, winter, Edmonton tourism projects,” said Cournoyer.
The Edmonton Ski Club, which hasn’t been open for a full season since 2017, is also returning after renewed partnerships with the city and the province.
“With our club being 110 years old and the Flying Canoe Festival really focusing on that and the two of us coming together is a great pairing," said Caroline Sledz, with the Edmonton Ski Club. “It’s really just a stroke of luck the two of us could celebrate this re-opening at the same time.”
The Flying Canoe Festival was put in jeopardy earlier in November when eight canoes were stolen from the group, but canoe donations managed to avert potential disaster for the festival.
"To date we have 15 canoes that have been donated and we keep receiving weekly so thanks to those donations we're able to overcome an obstacle and make sure that the canoe races are flying,” said Cournoyer.
The Edmonton Ski Club opens on Saturday Dec. 7 and the Flying Canoe Festival runs from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1.