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The Insider's Guide to the North - February

The Insider's Guide to the North - February

It's a cold month, but the days are getting brighter, and Whitehorse residents are ready to celebrate. Plus: a secret waterfall in the NWT.
By Up Here
Jan 12
From the January 2016 Issue

1) Whitehorse

February is when Whitehorse celebrates its winter. If you like throwing stuff, the Sourdough Rendezvous Festival (February 19-28) features log toss, chainsaw chuck, axe throw and horseshoe competitions, plus a plethora of other Yukon-themed events. Earlier in the month, the world’s coldest and toughest ultra marathon—the Yukon Arctic Ultra—kicks off from Whitehorse, slogging 480 kilometres north to finish at Pelly Crossing. Also, the famous 1,600-kilometre Yukon Quest dogsled race begins this month, on February 6, when mushers go from Fairbanks, Alaska back to Whitehorse. — DC

2) Finding Whatì’s Ice Falls

Water still flowing at -40 C. Photo by Jason Pineau

Jason Pineau is a pilot and photographer who moved to British Columbia from Yellowknife about a year ago. In February of 2012 he and a friend drove up the Tłi¸cho¸ winter road to Whatì, a community of about 500 on the shores of Lac La Martre. Inaccessible by car for most of the year, the community can only be driven to for a couple months a year on the frozen road, but it only takes about three hours to drive from Yellowknife to Behchokò¸ then up the ice road to WhatÌ. Outside the community is a little-known but beautiful set of falls that run throughout the winter.

“I’d flown over the waterfalls quite a bit because I was working for Air Tindi as a pilot. So me and a friend of mine decided to take the car up there in the winter. We knew there was a trail in there, so we just figured it out on Google maps where it lined up with the ice road.

“The trail is a little bit out of the community, probably about a five minute drive out of the community. From there we cross-country skied about 10 kilometres into the waterfall, on the Lac La Martre River.

“It was definitely the middle of winter, lots of huge chunks of ice built around the falls, but still lots of water flowing through.” — DC


Corrections/Clarifications: A previous version of this article implied the Yukon Arctic Ultra ended at Pelly Farm. Pelly Farm a checkpoint for the race, but runners double back to Pelly Crossing for the finish line. Also, a previous version of this article stated the Yukon Quest ended in Fairbanks. This year the race starts in Fairbanks and ends in Whitehorse.