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In the Yukon, adventure tourism led by Francophone women


The Yukon, located in northwest Canada, is famous for its wide open spaces, wilderness, midnight sun and northern lights. When one imagines this place where the scents of the gold rush era are still very much in the air, one very often imagines burly and bearded explorers climbing snow-capped peaks and traversing virgin forests. Yet adventure in the Yukon is also a women’s affair. Here is a portrait of three Yukon tourism businesses run by women – Francophones, to boot!


Written by the Association franco-yukonnaise (AFY) on Monday, March 7, 2022


From left to right, Raphaëlle Couratin, Roxanne Mason and Jocelyne Leblanc.  Three passionate Franco-Yukonnaises take travelers on an adventure!  © Raphaëlle Couratin/Erik Pinkerton/Jocelyne Leblanc
From left to right, Raphaëlle Couratin, Roxanne Mason and Jocelyne Leblanc.  Three passionate Franco-Yukonnaises take travelers on an adventure!  © Raphaëlle Couratin/Erik Pinkerton/Jocelyne Leblanc

From left to right, Raphaëlle Couratin, Roxanne Mason and Jocelyne Leblanc. Three passionate Franco-Yukonnaises take travelers on an adventure! © Raphaëlle Couratin/Erik Pinkerton/Jocelyne Leblanc




Jocelyne Leblanc – Sky High Wilderness Ranch

Dogsledding leader for 22 years, Acadian Jocelyne Leblanc has participated in many races in the Far North. Owner of the Sky High Wilderness Ranch for 15 years, she began her career at a time when being a woman and dog handler was not common.

The owner is proud that a large part of her clientele is made up of European women and that they try the multi-day expeditions. “There are more women who have come out of their shell and don’t need a man to cut their wood!” “, rejoices the owner.


Become a musher for a day with Sky High Wilderness!  © Government of Yukon
Become a musher for a day with Sky High Wilderness!  © Government of Yukon

Become a musher for a day with Sky High Wilderness! © Government of Yukon

A simple way of life

The company offers dog sledding and horseback riding adventures, as well as cabin and lodge stay packages.

People looking for a rustic experience will be pleased: throughout the property there is little cell service and no wifi. “When people arrive here, it’s over. We don’t look at our phones anymore, says Jocelyn Leblanc. There aren’t many places left like this in the world.”

The buildings are heated with a wood stove, which makes the stay more comfortable. Lights and appliances are powered by propane: there is no electricity. This simple way of life also testifies to the love and respect that Jocelyne Leblanc has for the territory.


Live the life of a musher

The Husky Rush formula is the most popular: for one day, participants have the chance to live the life of a musher. Guides teach dog harnessing and how to steer them, while taking the opportunity to tell the story of dog sledding, life as a musher, and racing.

For those who wish to extend the adventure, four-, seven- and ten-day programs are offered. In summer, it is also possible to go on horseback riding, hiking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and much more!

As Jocelyne Leblanc likes to say: “peace and tranquility exist in the Yukon. Come disconnect. »

► More information:
www.skyhighwilderness.com
Facebook page


Raphaëlle Couratin – Yu’ski Expeditions

Skijoring is ideal for getting away from it all in the heart of nature © Raphaëlle Couratin
Skijoring is ideal for getting away from it all in the heart of nature © Raphaëlle Couratin

Skijoring is ideal for getting away from it all in the heart of nature © Raphaëlle Couratin

Introduction to skijoring and Nordic ski touring expeditions

Originally from France, Raphaëlle Couratin is a cross-country ski instructor, a discipline she has been teaching for more than 15 years. Passionate, she loves to pass on her technical knowledge to her clients. “We like people, as they are, as they come. We like people who come here and discover a new activity! »

Explore the vast Nordic landscapes on skis

Also located at Fish Lake near Whitehorse, Yu’ski Expeditions offers half-day and full-day backcountry ski tours, as well as multi-day expeditions with overnight camping. It is also possible to learn about ski-joëring, a sport that combines skiing and an animal team (in this case, a canine team), which pulls the skier or skier using a harness.

Raphaëlle Couratin believes that the Yukon offers a different experience from Finland and Norway, thanks to its unique history and culture, primary forests, wildlife and northern lights.


Skijoring, a popular activity

Although ski-joëring is more reserved for experienced athletes, it is always possible to learn the discipline during a ski touring expedition. Indeed, being also part of the family, the dogs always accompany the groups during the excursions.

According to the owner, many women participate in these kinds of adventures, which are also very suitable for families and children, even the longest expeditions. “People think skiing is [une activité] difficult, while not, it is really accessible to everyone. »

What especially distinguishes Yu’ski Expeditions, according to Raphaëlle Couratin, is the fact that the excursions are always done in small groups. “We don’t take more than four people at a time. We want people to really experience being alone in nature. »

► More information:
www.yukon-ski-nordic-expeditions.ca
Facebook page


Roxanne Mason – Mount Logan Ecolodge & Yukon Guided Adventures

All-inclusive packages and adventure in Kluane National Park and Preserve

Roxanne Mason is co-owner of Mount Logan EcoLodge, a cozy log lodge located on the edge of Kluane National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The owner devotes an unconditional love to what she does: “What is really special about us is our welcome. We welcome people as if they were coming home. »


It's hard to leave Mount Logan EcoLodge and its stunning mountain views of Kluane National Park © Roxanne Mason
It's hard to leave Mount Logan EcoLodge and its stunning mountain views of Kluane National Park © Roxanne Mason

It’s hard to leave Mount Logan EcoLodge and its stunning mountain views of Kluane National Park © Roxanne Mason

In the heart of nature

Located in the community of Haines Junction, less than a two-hour drive from the capital, the hostel is named after Canada’s highest peak, Mount Logan. From the lodge, the mountain view is spectacular and the location in nature is second to none.

In addition to the main lodge, there are different types of tourist accommodation available for rental, such as a yurt, prospector’s tent, and gold rush cabin. The hostel also offers meals and many outdoor activities.

For the kitchen, the company grows its own products and sources its supplies from local suppliers. The hostel has also undergone recent renovations, in order to better tend towards ecological objectives. “We take our wood directly from our property for our renovations,” proudly admits the owner.


The beauty of the Far North

In winter, the two most popular activities are dog sledding and ice fishing. In the summer, the rafting expedition steals the show. Three hours of descent on an accessible river for beginners and the most experienced paddlers, the getaway offers a picnic break on the shore halfway. The formula is also offered at sunset, “a sure hit”, according to Roxanne Mason.

While it is possible to make short stays at the Mount Logan EcoLodge, the place lends itself perfectly to an extended vacation, as there are so many things to do. The challenge will be to manage to leave!

► More information:
mountloganlodge.com
Facebook page


Contact the Tourism Yukon team:

In the Yukon, adventure tourism led by Francophone women
In the Yukon, adventure tourism led by Francophone women

For information, training or assistance in developing your offer in the Yukon, do not hesitate to contact Maurine Forlin by email at tourisme@afy.ca

Or consult our website dedicated to tourism professionals: www.trade.travelyukon.com

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