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Monday, September 15, 2014


At this point, the fourth year running LPP events. It’s been decided that it is time to go mostly legit. No, not big prices, sponsors everywhere and rules out your wazoo, but legit in the matter of actually getting permits.

And doing something in the daytime. Something big. Something hard. Something a bit stupid. Something that still will involve mandatory consumption of beverages.

To that end, Mr Wood and I headed up to Val-des-Monts today to check out the XC ski area know as Nakkertok North (N.N.). Run by a 1400-strong ski club, N.N. has a sister area called, unsurprisingly, Nakkertok South, both of which are connected by a 20 km backcountry trail. 

Can you see where I am going with this?

John and Dave, the trails coordinators for Nakkertok N&S respectively, started talking to me late last year about maybe, possibly, perhaps there was a chance that, fatbikes could be allowed on the trails at N.N.  While it was too late for last year, we agreed to talk in the early fall about what sort of usage/access fatbikers could expect. Last week Dave called, and said, if I wanted to come and check out some of the trails and the facilities, we should do it now, as hunting season opens next week. I said there was no rush, that we could wear orange,  and besides, what would be the odds that we’d see hunters on the property? To which Dave replied, ‘there are hunter’s blinds ON the property. Eeep. Mr. Woods and I loaded bikes into his truck and off we went.
To put it succinctly, we thought the place has promise as an event venue, but as a season long venue?  We’re not sure. Look at the map below for a moment.  Most of the trails, such as trail 1, 5, the southern part of 13, and 19 run along side the edges of the hills, with pretty mellow gradients punctuated by a few climbs that would be doable by fatbike. They are double track; pleasant enough on a mtb, and by fatbike would be good, while leaving space to pass or have machine-set ski tracks on it. It’s the trails that cross over the hills, such as Heartbreak hill, Phil’s Folly and Awesome that would be killer. They are hella steep on one side, and a somewhat easier grade on the other side. Add to this some of the snowshoes trails that seemed pretty techy (we didn’t get to ride them), and skidoo trails that bisect the trails, and it would be an interesting place to have a race.
Especially if that race left from Nakkertok South, did the 20km connector, and then did a loop of N.N. Imagine a 50km-ish course(with a smaller course as an option, of course)! The two cabins, one for day usage, and the other available for overnight guests, offers a infrastructure for racers and organizers. The skidoos on the venue mean grooming can be done the night before. There’s lots of parking at N.N

And of course, there would be large fires, food, and beer.

That’s our thoughts for Nakkertok as a event venue. Ditto for the idea of having a few fatbike days at N.N., where we could have the run of the place along with the skiers, and pay a daily fee.  However, we are not sure about whether it would be viable as ongoing fatbike venue, where one paid a yearly membership. There are a few issues, first of which is the distance. Nakkertok is about 15km outside of Wakefield. It was about an hour there on a nice day in September, leaving from Tall Tree Cycles in Downtown Ottawa. If you are from the suburbs, and it’s winter, think 75 minutes. That’s a lot of traveling. Especially if the selection of trails are limited.
While we got to ride a lot of trails, I am not sure what ones we will get to use. The backcountry trails seem the most fun, but can they be set enough for a fatbike? Can we use the snowshoe trails? John never really told me what was on and off the table in terms of trails. On top of that, some of the trails are directional, which is not a good thing for fatbikers. Ideally, skiers want to climb the steepest side of a hill, since they are practially walking at that point, and then go down the more gradual side, as they don’t have brakes, nor any edges to really speak of (in my opinion, anyways). That is pretty much the opposite of what a fatbiker wants. If any of these trails are a no-go, suddenly 17 km of trails become 10. 10 km of trails over an hour away seems like a pretty hard sell for a yearly membership, that also includes an mandatory two days of volunteer trail work.
What I am going to suggest is a year of getting to know each other. Let’s have a couple of fatbike days as a sort of snowy meet-and-greet. The Nakker folks can get used to having share their trails (another hurdle to deal with), fatbikers can suss out the trails, and how serious Nakker are about this, while Nakker can make some extra money without a lot of effort. Then, let’s have a race. Have a party; invite the skiers; get drunk; touch someone’s firm bum by the fire. Let’s see how it goes. Then we can plan for 2016.

What do you all think? Let us know.


The map. We did most of the upper-middle and right side of the page

The main cabin. under renovations, but room for dozens. and stoves!

A typical section of the main trails
The sleeper cabin. A bit disheveled right now, but looks like it could sleep about 8. and it has running water(but uses an outhouse)!

It looks easier in the pic.

Mr Woods, in the woods. Starting Phil's Folly from the easy side (which is the wrong direction).


  1. Great Idea and Great spot!

  2. Nakk North to South would be amazing as a bike race - and they could groom it for that. A lot of the trails at North are actually quite steep both up and down for the directional trails. I'd be surprised if they let fat bikes use the backcountry trails though, as it would really ruin it for the skiers - the whole point of a backcountry trail is to have a tight, ungroomed trail, but if fat bikes use it they will end up being just packed down snow. But maybe they could open up all the snowshoe trails both North and South?