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Winter hangs on in Labrador for the 2012 Cain's Quest

The 2012 Cain's Quest snowmobile endurance race kicks off this weekend
The 2012 Cain's Quest snowmobile endurance race kicks off this weekend

Lyndsay Morrison

March 14, 2012 — It's Canada's biggest snowmobile endurance race, and it is challenged by the weather every year. The 2012 Cain's Quest kicks off this weekend.

More teams than ever will compete in the event this year
More teams than ever will compete in the event this year

It's the longest extreme snowmobile endurance race of its kind in Canada, and one of the toughest in the world. 

This weekend, 35 teams will take on some of the country's toughest terrain in the 2012 Cain's Quest.

"We're getting down to the wire here now!," says Todd Kent, chairperson of the Cain's Quest. "We're watching the weather very closely, of course, but we're looking forward to an exciting event!"

Not only will this year's event feature more teams competing than ever before, but it will also be the longest Cain's Quest race at nearly 3,000 km. 

"Racers will experience all types of terrain, snow conditions and, of course, weather conditions," explains Kent. 

The Cain's Quest is an extremely weather-dependant event. Competitors must cross bays and salt water ice, so they need to be frozen enough to carry the weight of the snowmobiles. 

This year, Mother Nature has been on the organizers' side. 

"We've had a fairly normal winter in terms of ice and snow," says Kent.  "Ice conditions have been very good, particularly on the east coast of Labrador and the north coast, which has given us trouble in years past."

Snow and ice conditions must be monitored
Snow and ice conditions must be monitored

Kent is not expecting to have to make any route changes this year. "We'd have to get serious warm temperatures for some time for there to be any concern," he says. 

In 2010, mild temperatures and a lack of snow forced event organizers to cancel the Cain's Quest entirely. The race went ahead as scheduled in 2011, but with some adjustments made to the route.

Kent says the weather also plays a role in the Cain's Quest once the event is underway. 

"Last year, racers faced rain, blizzards and -40°C temperatures," he says. "In some parts of the  route further north there are hardly any trees, so a racer's only shelter from a storm would be their snowmobile."

The ideal weather forecast for the Cain's Quest?

"Sunny weather, between -15 and -20 would be excellent," says Kent. 

You can track the teams racing via satellite by going to

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