The Course

Frostbite 55 Course info

Schedule of Events

  • Thursday, Feb 29 – Early Bird Registration ends
  • FIRST PRICE INCREASE: Friday March 1 - March 15
  • SECOND PRICE INCREASE: March 15 - March 18
  • Monday, March 18 (midnight) – Registration closes
  • Thursday, March 21 (4:00 - 6:00pm) – bib pickup location TBD. 
  • Friday, March 22 (6:00 - 7:30pm) - Mandatory Pre-race briefing at the YK Ski Club
  • Friday, March 22 (7:30pm) - Volunteer and checkpoint host briefing at YK Ski Club (after racer briefing) 
  • Sat, March 23
    • 8:00 - 8:30 am – Race check-in at Ski Club
    • 8:00 - 8:55 am – Participant pre-race photos
    • 9:00 am – Race start, all categories!
    • 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm - Participant post-race photos
    • 7:00 pm  – Course closes / cutoff, all participants must be complete by this time


Bib numbers will be provided to all participants, and we will be recording times at all checkpoints. Remember to make sure that checkpoint staff get your bib number, both for safety and timing reasons. If they don’t get your bib number, we may send search and rescue staff to look for you. Checkpoints will supply water for racers. Additional goodies may be supplied by Checkpoint managers if they choose.

The Start

Currently, we plan to have coffee available prior to the event start, and food ready for you on your return. The mass start for all participants (ski and foot) will be at 9:00 am. All participants must complete the course by 7:00 pm. Please Note: Race day schedule may be subject to change due to weather.

The Yellowknife Ski Club is a co-sponsor of the Frostbite 50. They have provided their Chalet for the event. This provides a heated building with parking, washrooms, waxing facilities, a starting stadium, and water. The event will start and finish at the Chalet. You may leave personal belongings at the building.

The Route

The event route is approximately 55 km. The event will start and finish at the Yellowknife Ski Club. From the Ski Club trails it will follow ungroomed snowmachine trails to Yellowknife Bay, Walsh Lake, Hay Lake, Duck Lake, around Dettah and across Yellowknife Bay, back to the Ski Club trails. You may do the event solo, or in a relay team of up to four participants.

The course will be marked with branches in the snow. Race staff will make every effort to keep the course markers visible and in place, however it is possible that markers may be taken, buried, blown over, covered or otherwise made difficult or impossible to find. It is the responsibility of the competitors to pay attention to the markings and to make intelligent decisions when following the course.

Please check the Detailed Descriptions and FAQ for further details on the route.

Course Map


For the safety of our participants and volunteers, we will be instituting cut-off times. The cut-off times will allow 10 hours to complete the event, or an average speed of about 5.5 kmph. The checkpoints, approximate distances and cut-off times are listed below (distances are approximate).
All checkpoints are road-accessible and participants are welcome to have support along the way. Checkpoints will have water and a heated tent to warm up in. Some Checkpoint managers may supply goodies but don't rely on this.


START - Yellowknife Ski Club Chalet - 9:00

  • Check-in 8:00 - 8:30. Start time is 9:00 for all categories.

CP #1 - Yellowknife River Gravel Quarry Checkpoint - 10 km

  •    Opens at 9:30, cut-off at 11:00, closes at 11:45

CP #2 - Dettah Road Checkpoint - 15 km (25 km cumulative)

  •    Opens at 10:45, cut-off at 1:30, closes at 2:00

CP #3 - Dettah Checkpoint - 15 km (40 km cumulative)

  •    Opens at 12:00, cut-off at 4:00, closes at 4:30

Finish! - YK Ski Club finish -  (55km cumulative)

  • Finish at Yellowknife Ski Club Chalet
  • Opens at 12:00, cut-off 7:00 pm
  • Participants are encouraged to stay (or come back) to cheer on the last finishers! Food and beer will be available at the ski club chalet. 


Detailed Descriptions and Driving

Leg 1: Experience the excitement of a mass start as you navigate around fellow skiers through the Yellowknife Ski Club trails onto Great Slave Lake. This leg then follows the shores of Great Slave Lake past Giant Mine towards the Yellowknife River. Approximately 2km from the bridge it cuts into a portage. The checkpoint is located on the far side of the Ingraham Trail, so skiers will have to unclip their skis and walk across the road.


This is the shortest leg and the most straightforward to navigate, with little terrain after you have exited the ski club trails. There is one wide and somewhat steep hill on the ski club trails, and there can be overflow/ice in a section before exiting onto Great Slave Lake. This leg is also the most congested and skiers should know to roll off the ski club trails if they fall and should be polite and understanding of participants looking to pass. Cellphone reception is almost entirely continuous along this leg.

The checkpoint is approximately 7km down the Ingraham Trail, at a gravel quarry on the left of the highway just before the Yellowknife River Bridge. Ample parking is available at the quarry or at the Yellowknife River Day Use area. Please be mindfu of skiers in the parking area and crossing the highway.



Leg 2: This leg begins with a counter-clockwise loop to and from Walsh Lake. The leg begins following the classic snow machine tracks onto Walsh Lake that many participants will recognize from previous Frostbite 50s. Once arriving at Walsh Lake, skiers veer left, passing nice cabins and homes, before entering onto a series of short portages and lakes that bring you back to the Gravel Quarry Checkpoint. Participants are asked to not stop at this checkpoint a second time unless necessary due to emergency circumstances.


This leg cross back over the Ingraham trail and through the portage trails to cut across Great Slave Lake, before entering into a series of portages on the far side of the lake, for approximately 4km before reaching the Dettah Road Checkpoint.


This leg contains some hazards that many former Frostbiters will partially familiar with. There is one steep hill which will be marked - even experienced skiers are recommended to remove their skis and walk/run this hill, and the descent onto Walsh Lake is also somewhat steep. Cellphone reception can be intermittent along this section.


This checkpoint is approximately 13km from the Ski Club, less than 1 kilometre past the turnoff onto the Dettah road from the Ingraham Trail.  The checkpoint is on the right (where checkpoint #4 was in previous years). The Dettah road has narrow shoulders and parking on the road may be limited. Please exercise caution and good judgment.



Leg 3: This leg begins with crossing the Dettah Road and navigating a number of small lakes and portages to Hay Lake before turning south to continue skiing across small lakes and portages until you reach Duck Lake. This leg then loops around Dettah to reach the final checkpoint at the terminus of the Dettah ice road.


This leg is the most remote and furthest from Yellowknife. The trail is crossed by animal tracks and wildlife may be spotted. The trail may include sections of soft snow. There is limited cellphone reception during this leg. 


This checkpoint is located at the terminus of the Dettah ice road on the south side. This checkpoint is accessible either by continuing along the Dettah road or taking the Dettah ice road to Dettah. Ample parking is available on the shoulders of the ice road.



Leg 4: This leg begins at the terminus of the Dettah ice road and continues along the far shore of Yellowknife Bay north. After approximately 8km, this leg cuts across the Bay towards Yellowknife, passing through Houseboat Bay and around N'Dilo before navigating around Back Bay and back onto the Yellowknife Ski Club trails. 

Northerly winds can be a hazard on this section and skiers should prepare accordingly. Traffic around the Houseboat and Back Bays can be a hazard and the Air Tindi runway must be avoided. This section is almost entirely flat until entering back onto the ski club trails. Cellphone reception is almost entirely continuous along this leg.