In the early 1950s a citizen of Roberval on Lac Saint-Jean was contemplating the expanse of water before him and dreamed of the day when a person would be able to swim the distance between Peribonka and Roberval.
At that time this idea was considered unrealistic, and few people believe that they would see the feat accomplished. In the summer of 1955, a group of swimmers finally accepted the challenge, but it was a few decades before cyclists decided to take on the challenge of this sea of ice.
Enthusiasm for the legendary 32 km route caught the interest of a runner from the Éric Paquet region who proposed to the On the Tip of the Toes Foundation the idea of organizing a winter crossing of Lac Saint-Jean. Thanks to the support of the ‘Fat Bike winter crossing team’, the On the Tip of the Toes Foundation organized a pilot event on the ice in February 2018. The event followed a 42 km route and involved twelve high-level Quebec runners. Following the success of this pilot project, the Foundation decided to officially launch the first edition of the CRYO races in the autumn of 2018.
In February 2021, the event pivoted to allow runners to have the CRYO and Lac Saint-Jean experience despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The easing of socio-sanitary conditions at the end of February made it possible to hold a symbolic crossing on March 5, 2021 in which Gino Gravel, the winner of the 2020 Crossing, took part, as well as Fanie Paquet, a proud Jeannois runner who took part in the two previous editions.
In the fall of 2021, big surprises awaited CRYO Races regulars. Firstly, new routes for the two running events, i.e. a Saint-Gédéon to Roberval Ice Village for the Crossing, as well as a start at the Pointe de Chambord for the introductory event, newly renamed the Micro-CRYO. Plus the introduction of a fat bike component!
In 2022, the CRYO Races positioned themselves as an engine of economic development for the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region. Thanks to its partners, the CRYO Races are launching a new event for the 5th anniversary in 2023, the Ski-Lo!, a crossing of Lac Saint-Jean on cross-country skis.