Minister of Defence joins the Canadian Ski Marathon to salute Canadian
Military Contribution

OTTAWA, Feb. 1 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Ski Marathon (CSM) will pay tribute to the Canadian Military and Safety Group for their contribution to this year's 44th CSM ski event on February 13 and 14 and for their contribution over the event's 43 year history.

Greg Koegl, President of the Canadian Ski Marathon stated, "The Canadian Military's contribution to the CSM event goes over and above the call of duty. CSM skiers get to witness the military skills and abilities of our reservists in action. They embrace the opportunity to show their skills to let their Canadian pride shine."

Approximately 200 reservists and cadets from local regiments in the Ottawa, Gatineau and Quebec area participate in this event by helping to keep the trails safe as skiers start their 160 km, 2-day ski journey that spans from Gatineau to Montebello and then on to Lachute, Quebec. They set up and operate the checkpoints which function as refueling stations that offer food supplies and hydration, man road and highway crossings, provide communications and evacuation services to ensure skier safety.

"The Canadian Forces and the Canadian Ski Marathon share a history of mutual support that spans over forty-three years of sharing the objectives of fostering a commitment to fitness, health and embracing challenge," said the Minister of Defence, the Hon. Peter MacKay.

The Honorable Peter MacKay, Minister of Defence - Honorary Chair of this year's Canadian Ski Marathon and the Honorable Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons (and avid CSM skier) will be saluting the Canadian Military's contribution to the Canadian Ski Marathon during a short press conference and photo op on Parliament Hill's front lawn - east side between 11:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., on February 1, 2010.

"It is an honor to host this event on Parliament Hill. It's a great way to showcase our Canadian spirit for adventure and winter outdoor fun," said Honorable Peter Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons.

Backgrounder:

The Canadian Ski Marathon (CSM) is North America's longest and oldest Nordic ski tour. By tradition (since 1967), it takes place during the second weekend in February on a unique ski trail that is only groomed once per year on privately owned land in the picturesque Western Laurentian Mountains between Lachute and Gatineau, Québec. There is an overnight stop in Montebello, the home of the famous Fairmont Le Château Montebello, the largest log château in the world.

The CSM consists of 10 sections which vary in length and level of difficulty. The event attracts over 2000 skiers of all ages from the recreational family skier to the elite adventure athlete. This year, the CSM is thrilled that one of its founding members Don McLeod will be flying from New Zealand to participate in the event. Don is 92 years old! The CSM can now state that the age range is from 5 to 92!

Unlike most ski loppets, there are no winners or losers at the Canadian Ski Marathon. Each participant can select his/her own level of challenge and ski the distance desired without having to complete the entire event. One can ski as little as 12 km to the maximum of 160 km throughout the weekend.

The CSM relies on a volunteer Board of Directors and over 600 volunteers (military reservists and cadets, safety personnel, communications specialists, and landowners) every year to make the event a success.

This year, skiers can expect to see over 200 Canadian Forces members, most from 763 Communications Regiment in Ottawa but others from Montreal, Toronto, and other regiments in Ontario and Quebec at road crossings, hydration stations, managing camps and fires, and standing ready to provide emergency assistance wherever and whenever it may be needed.

The government endorses reservist and cadet participation in this event and views it as an official exercise to test their communication, response and support readiness.

The Canadian Ski Marathon is thankful for their commitment and resolve shown towards the CSM ski event. That is why all 2010 CSM participants, volunteers and organizers 'salute you'.

For more information about the Canadian Ski Marathon, please visit www.csm-mcs.com or toll-free 1-877-770-6556.

SOURCE CANADIAN SKI MARATHON

For further information: For further information: Shelley Fraser, CSM office, 1-877-770-6556 or (613) 720-9498

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CANADIAN SKI MARATHON

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