In the early fall, the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club recognized this wasn’t the season to be hosting traditional competitions. In putting the safety of the community, volunteers, members and athletes first, the ski club cancelled all scheduled competitions for the ski season.
When one door closes, another opens, and this was the inspiration for the Grand Tour of Caledonia, a virtual multi-stage challenge.
Kevin Pettersen, CNSC director of competitions, was inspired by the virtual world marathons that his wife was running throughout the summer, and starting looking at adapting this virtual model to the ski club.
“We have an immense world-class facility that has great conditions for social distancing,” he said. “The key is not bringing people together in the same space at one time, and that’s where we started developing the concept for the Grand Tour of Caledonia.”
The Grand Tour of Caledonia is a virtual multi-stage challenge that is focused on participation and the completion of all the stages. The Grand Tour will begin on Monday January 4, 2021 and will run 12 weeks through to the end of March 2021.
“We will be setting a new course for each week,” Pettersen said. “This provides the opportunity to showcase different parts of our incredible facility.”
To ensure ample social distancing and adherence to public health orders, participants can ski the course at any time throughout that week at their own leisure, and then upload their own results (i.e. tracked with Strava, Fit bit, Garmin, photo of a stopwatch, etc.). Each week’s participants will then be entered to win weekly draw prizes. Registered participants who complete all 12 stages of the Grand Tour of Caledonia will also receive the first ever Grand Tour of Caledonia finishers medal.
Participants will be able to register for the Grand Tour of Caledonia on starting Monday December 21 on the ski club website (caledonianordic.com). The registration fee is $40 per person. As part of their registration, participants will also get a custom “Grand Tour of Caledonia” toque that they can wear while they are skiing (and encourage each other on).
“So much excitement and enthusiasm has been building for the Grand Tour already,” said Pettersen. “There has been incredible response from local businesses to support and sponsor the Grand Tour (Lally Electric, Stride and Glide, Pittman Asphalt, Sparkgeo, Prince George Toyota, Pomeroy Lodging, IDA pharmacies, Papyrus Printing, Prince George Canadian Tire) with the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group stepping up to be our media partner. We’re looking so forward to seeing a lot of smiling faces out on the trails, enjoying this new experience. Given how well this has already been received, we’re hoping to make this an annual experience that people can look forward to.”