Organizers of the Flying Canoë Volant Festival have teamed up with the Edmonton Ski Club to offer ‘flying canoe races’ – an event first.

A festival, loosely based on the legend of The Flying Canoe and on French, First Nations and Métis traditions, wanted to add a different element this year.

“There’s many videos on YouTube about canoeing, snow and stuff like that – we’re trying to capture that energy,” said festival producer Daniel Cournoyer.

A 300 metre-long course will be built next to the clubs’ Terrain Park with walls about two feet high to keep the canoes on track.

“We won’t have spectacular crashes, we are there to ensure that it is a safe event,” Cournoyer vowed.

Teams will have to load their canoes with traditional voyageur items before making their way down the hill.

Lorne Haveruk with the Edmonton Ski Club said they’ve made extra snow to accommodate three or four canoe chutes.

“I think as they do more and more runs through the course it’s going to get faster and faster […] it’s [going] to be pretty thrilling to see head-to-head racing in those canoes coming down,” Haveruk said.

The festival officially kicks-off Monday, with educational programming for students at Edmonton’s La Cité Francophone building.

The canoe races, limited to corporate teams this year as a way to raise money, will take place February 3 at the Edmonton Ski Club.

The festival, put on by La Cité Francophone, is set for February 5 and 6.

More information about the festival can be found online.

With files from CTV’s Amanda Anderson