Every winter, organizers of the Cain's Quest hope for snow, ice and cold temperatures.
This year, they've had all three.
“Mother Nature is well on our side this year,” says Todd Kent, chairperson of the Cain's Quest. “It seems like we're getting the right low temperatures for ice, and we've still got a couple of months to get some more snow. So it looks like we're going to be in good shape this year!”
Cain's Quest is the longest extreme snowmobile endurance race of its kind in Canada, and one of the toughest in the world.
It's also weather-dependant.
A portion of the route takes snowmobilers up the coast of Labrador. Competitors also have to cross bays and salt water ice, so they need to be frozen enough to carry the weight of the snowmobiles.
In the past, mild temperatures and a lack of snow have caused problems for race organizers.
“In 2010 we had to cancel the race because of the really warm weather, which was unusual,” explains Kent. “Last year was really late in the year when we started getting some good ice. We couldn't do the north coast last year because of the lack of ice.”
This year, Kent says the weather has been more “normal,” despite the fact that much of Canada has been milder and had less snow than usual.
For anyone heading to the Cain's Quest this year, Kent says there are some new things to look forward to.
“We have more teams than we've ever had. We're expecting 35 teams with racers coming from British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, down through the United States, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland. We've got them coming from all over this year.”
Kent is also hoping that the wintery weather will continue leading up to the event.
“The race starts March 17 so between now and then we want lots of cold weather and a good dump of snow on top of it,” he says. “We need what we would describe as a real winter with sub-zero temperatures in the mid minus 20's. And if we could get some good snow on top of that we'd be well off.”