Event profile: Pentathlon des Neiges, Quebec City's iconic winter sports festival
Welcome to the biggest winter multisport event on the planet
Finding that fun winter sport for cross-training is good for the body and does wonders for the soul. And when there are events such as Pentathlon des Neiges to train for, it’s even better. This landmark event in Quebec City is like a cross-trainers dream with up to five individual winter sports in which to participate solo or with a team. Oh, and did we mention it’s in Quebec City? One of the country’s most charming, active and snow-forward cities in the great white north.
This year, the 16th edition of the Pentathlon des Neiges runs Feb. 22 to March 1 on the historic Plains of Abraham. Here, athletes of all shapes, sizes and abilities battle for winter multisport supremacy. They come to experience an epic and unique winter sports festival. They stay to experience a magical city.
Get Out There’s Stephan Meyer, otherwise known as Active Steve from his series of YouTube race and gear reviews, has participated in and covered the event on multiple occasions. And, not surprisingly, he’s quite a fan.
“It’s big!” he says. “It’s spread over two weekends with many different race options so that there is something for everyone, and all of them well organized and executed. It's also great watching the different heats, including watching the speed and efficiency of elites which is inspiring for the next generation of racers.”
The Pentathlon des Néiges is the biggest winter multisport event in the world. There are solo or team relays of two to five participants and 18 distinct competitions. With one of the major competition being the perennial favourite, the Salomon Pentathlon.
Competitions revolve around five essential winter sports: cross-country skiing, ice skating, cycling, running and snowshoeing. There are long-distance competitions as well as short distance. Rest assured, there is a challenge to be found for every participant. Try new winter sports solo, or enlist a crew of family, friends or even work colleagues for a corporate challenge.
The Pentathlon has even made it easy and fun to decide what events to do and with whom with their Find My Challenge campaign.
Of course, the competition is only enhanced by the festival atmosphere.
“It is one giant celebration of winter sports,” says Meyer. “Although it can feel very 'busy' out there with so many athletes and spectators, it never feels 'crowded'. And having all those people out there cheering you on makes the start, finish and transition areas very exciting!”
Having a fun event like the Pentathlon des Neiges on the event calendar also provides the opportunity for athletes of all disciplines to focus on winter cross-training, an essential element to any training plan.
“Winter cross-training is absolutely critical in my mind,” Meyer explains. “The different winter sports provide a great opportunity to train different muscle groups and give a break to some of the higher stress activities from summer (i.e., switching to skating and skiing instead of only running). It's a great mental re-set, and yet still provides incredible challenges and workouts.”
To top it off, participants have the opportunity to experience a side of Quebec City beyond the obvious tourist attractions. It’s a city and a population in love with winter, and it’s infectious.
For more information on this incredible event go to www.pentathlondesneiges.com.