The Greatest Canadian Cross-Country Ski Challenge

Team Death-wish, photo courtesy of Natasha Koroluk

Team Death-wish, photo courtesy of Natasha Koroluk

The day starts with a friendly message from Environment Canada: Extreme Cold Warning- cold Arctic air and winds will combine to produce wind chill values as low as minus 45C. But the snow is beautiful and the trees look like they're smothered in cream cheese. Let's go on a cross country ski-trip and shoot some photos...

The plan: grab skis and snow shoes, head out to Duck Mountain, and travel 5 km to the Moose Lake Shelter to spend the night. Easy as pie when it's warm, but at -30C before wind chill it's a little irritating.

We park the car at Batka Lake and start loading up our overnight gear. This is going to be the most challenging and rewarding trip we've ever done. Our friends, Natasha and Sean, look on in jealousy and amazement as we embark on this heroic journey.

If there's one thing I've learned from McDougal Creek, it's how to recognize an imminent bad-time. Nate unzips his jacket, evaporating moisture into the air as if he's on fire. I'm in snowshoes and my ass feels like it's turned to marble. Too hot and too cold at the same time—we're sweating while any exposed skin freezes in the open air. Nate and Matt's ski boots are practically old bowling shoes, so they've already lost the use of their extremities.

We abandon the challenge and head back to the car as quick as possible to spend the evening eating Chinese food in Kamsack. I order the chicken balls and sleep in a bed for the night.