Legend’s Path

Legends Path is the name used by the Gatineau Loppet to designate its hall of fame. The Legend’s Path honours individuals or organizations which have marked the Gatineau Loppet and who have helped develop or spread the word about the event or cross-country skiing in general. An individual or organization inducted in the Legends Path is recognized for its contribution as a participant, volunteer, sponsor, donor, ambassador or in any other way deemed acceptable by the Recognition and Loyalty  Committee.



Thérèse St-Onge was one of the greatest ambassadors of Gatineau 55, the name the event bore after it was handed over from the Canadian Cross-Country Ski Marathon to the National Capital Commission in Gatineau Park in the 1980s. Thérèse was more directly involved with our event from 1985 to 1989.

Born in Edmundston, New Brunswick and a proud Francophone, she attended the University of Moncton and the University of Ottawa to study physical education. She then spent her entire career with the National Capital Commission from 1979 to 2007, reaching the role of senior manager for the organization of Canada Day and Winterlude. It was in this capacity that she took GATINEAU 55 under her wing. She saw this event as an excellent opportunity to promote the Gatineau Park, with its excellent cross-country skiing facilities, and the National Capital Region, worldwide.

As Canada’s representative on the Worldloppet Board of Directors, Thérèse’s endearing personality, her ability to create interpersonal connections, and, her passion earned her respect and unbreakable ties with the WL family. These ties continue to this day.

Thérèse sadly passed away on September 27th, 2023 at the age of 71, after a 9-year hard fought battle against her illness. By appointing Thérèse St-Onge to the  select club  of the Trail of Legends, the Gatineau Loppet wanted to recognize her major role in the development of the Gatineau Loppet, to officially inscribe her in its history and to keep alive this image of an efficient, dynamic and endearing woman. Thank you for everything, Thérèse.



Jock Coulson, who was president of the Canadian Ski Marathon for 2 years, and Nick Close, who was the treasurer, went to Upsula, Sweden, in June 1978 for a Euroloppet meeting with the purpose of creating the Worldloppet league. We want to honour them tonight.

Let us recall the events:

  • In 1977, Tony Wise of the American Birkebeiner is in talks with representatives of Red River, the forerunner of the Gatineau Loppet, with the goal of creating the Worldloppet.
  • In February 1978, representatives of the European races and Steve Cushing (who is here today, from Whistler, British Columbia, all the way from the other side of Canada) travelled to Telemark, Wisconsin, to discuss the possibility of expanding the Euroloppet.
  • In June 1978, Jock Coulson and Nick Close from Canada accompanied Tony Wise and his son to Upsala, Sweden. They participated in the creation of the Worldloppet with 8 other founding countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and the United States. The first race calendar was put forth in 1979.

Jock Coulson sadly passed away 5 years ago. His contribution as a volunteer at the CSM, span over at least 15 years. He last skied the Canadian Ski Marathon at the 50th edition. He was then nearly 77 years old. We thank him for his vision and volunteer involvement.

Nick Close was president of the CSM in 1987 and 1988, but it was while in the position of treasurer that he went to Upsala in Sweden.  He holds an “original” WL league passport with the inscription “Founder” numbered Passport #1-00000. He gave a lot of his time to Canada’s largest ski event, the CSM, which in its best years hosted up to 5000 participants. He lives in Cantley, just down the street, with his wife Jennifer. Nick has competed in the CSM 38 times since 1974 (and Jennifer 30 times).



The Canadian Ski Marathon is the oldest cross-country skiing event in North America. Founded in 1966, it has been held on the 2nd weekend of February since 1967, the commemorative year of Canada’s centennial. The CSM also takes place in the beautiful Outaouais region starting in Montebello.

Skiers of all ages and abilities sign up for distances ranging from 12 km to 160 km on groomed classic trails through a breathtaking winter landscape. The mythical event is that of COUREUR DES BOIS OR which consists of skiing 80 km on Saturday carrying a backpack containing everything you need to spend the night outside in a bivouac. The next day we set off again on our skis for another 80 km. Quite a challenge but very popular and a reflection of the practices of our ancestors.

By popular demand from cross-country skiers in the 1970s, the CSM was not set as race but rather an untimed event, so it was decided to create a timed event pre-CSM. It was named The Rivière Rouge after the river from which it departed. The 55 km race followed the first 3 stages of the Marathon in reverse and ended in Lachute, a town located about 1 hour drive east of Gatineau. The first start was given in 1977 and was a successful event with more than 1,000 skiers.

The world’s biggest races reached out to  the organisers of the Rivière Rouge to create the WORLDLOPPET in 1978 in Sweden. The first official Canadian race of this new league was held in February 1979 with the participation of several international skiers.

To ensure a better development of the event, and as it was becoming increasingly difficult for volunteers to organize two major events two weekends in a row, the CSM approached the NCC to move the race to the Gatineau Park. Since then, the NCC and the park staff took charge of the event, which was renamed GATINEAU 55. In the late 1980s, the organization was turned over to a non-profit organization (NPO), which has continued ever since.

Therefore, the Gatineau Loppet wishes to induct its ancestor into the select club of the Trail of Legends, the Canadian Ski Marathon, we are thankful  for its vision, determination and major contribution to the development of cross-country skiing in Canada and that of the Gatineau Loppet.

We invite you to come back to the region to ski Canada’s biggest cross-country skiing challenge, the Canadian Ski Marathon.


WORLDLOPPET (Pillar – Partner)

The Worldloppet was established in Upsula, Sweden in 1978 with the participation of 9 countries (Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Italy, the United States and Canada). The first official racing calendar took place in 1979, 46 years ago. It is thanks to this league that we have the pleasure of welcoming skiers from all over the world, just like you, and that a passport encourages you to become a GOLD or SILVER master of the Worldloppet, by completing 10 events on various continents.  Every year, we welcome 250 to 400 foreign skiers with passports. Let’s be reminded that the WL requires high quality skills from its members and only one competition per country is accepted.

We are proud and grateful to be part of the extended family of the 19 member countries of the Worldloppet. We hope that the organization will continue to grow, and provide cross-country skiers worldwide with sporting and cultural events that promote a better understanding of each other and peace in the world.

For all these reasons, we are awarding the distinguished Gatineau Loppet Trail of Legends Award, to the Worldloppet.

Click here to discover the legends of past years.

Veterans Club

The Veterans Club recognizes participants who have taken part in at least 35 middle or long distance Gatineau Loppet races. If there are any among us who can tell the story of the Gatineau Loppet, it is them! By conferring upon them the title of “veteran”, the Gatineau Loppet thanks them for their tenacity and loyalty to the event.


1. Sheila Kealy

2. Jacques Gagnon

3. Arthur Andreaasen

Click here to discover the veterans of past years.