Charles Gagné: A Brilliant and Grand Off-Trail Athlete!

Some encounters in life take us by surprise to the extent that they leave us almost speechless. These individuals seem larger than life, and our admiration for them is often linked to their accomplishments and the aura they exude. The positive energy emanating from such personalities profoundly touches us, and we have every reason to admire them.

Among these remarkable individuals is an athlete who continues to astonish us, a reference in the world of off-trail snowmobiling. The name Charles Gagné is certainly not unfamiliar, and for good reason. He is one of the iconic faces at Ski-Doo in Quebec and even beyond the “Belle Province.”

Who is he, anyway, and how did he so quickly become a renowned Ski-Doo ambassador?

Childhood Immersed in Outdoor Sports

From a very young age, Charles was immersed in the world of motorized sports, influenced not only by his family but also by his entire surroundings. Growing up in an environment where his parents’ cabin neighbored several others, all equipped with snowmobiles, he fondly recalls instinctively settling on a snowmobile during his parents’ visits to neighbors, staying there like a magnet until their departure.

It was in this context that he took his first ride on the family snowmobile: a Ski-Doo Citation 377, around the age of 7, already developing his piloting skills at that early age.

As you can imagine, Charles was a curious child, particularly drawn to extreme sports.

Competing in Individual Sports

During these years, Charles developed his love for snowmobiling while also engaging in swimming. At the age of 12, he turned to snowboarding, dedicating 18 years of his life to this passion.

Despite his involvement in competitive sports, snowmobiling always held a prominent place in Charles’s life, thanks in part to his family and friends.

His First Personal Snowmobile

With great pride, Charles recounts the story of his first personal snowmobile at the age of 13: a 1976 Ski-Doo Élan 250. He acquired it with the modest savings he had accumulated the previous summer, supplemented by financial support from his parents.

Charles Gagné

A few years later, Charles turned to a 1989 Ski-Doo Mach 1. It was at this point that he truly embraced this activity, with a more powerful engine, it must be admitted!

Years passed until the acquisition of a 2004 MX Z 600 SDI. Charles humbly acknowledges that the circumstances of his life and his geographical location were not conducive to its use at the time. His attraction to traditional snowmobiling wasn’t enough.

2011, a Turning Point in His Life!

In 2011, when he landed a job at a recreational vehicle dealership, Charles discovered mountain snowmobiles and began to take an interest. His first purchase of this type was a Polaris Assault 146. Subsequently, six more vehicles from this manufacturer followed and passed through his hands.

Charles admits that he was greatly influenced by the popular “Slednecks” videos at the time.

Initially, his favourite playground was the Ferland-et-Boileau area in Saguenay. It was only in 2014 that he began to indulge in his activity in the Monts-Valin National Park, where he has owned a cabin since 2017.

Charles’s greatest desire has always been to showcase Quebec in the “backcountry” snowmobiling scene, unlike others who have chosen to move to Western Canada.

2015, the Big Turning Point!

One day, Charles made the serious decision to get involved in off-trail snowmobiling. In 2015, he chose to train physically during the summer season to be ready as soon as the first snow fell. Moreover, it was then that he took the initiative to multiply the opportunities to “ride” more intensively at every opportunity that presented itself to him.

Charles Gagné: His First Steps as an Ambassador

At that time, accompanied by his close friend Carl Dussault, Charles took his first steps as an ambassador for the Dion Moto dealership in Saint-Raymond Portneuf.

It was during this time that he learned that Ski-Doo intended to recruit an ambassador for the Eastern Canada region. Knowing that the Quebec manufacturer already had several representatives in the United States and Western Canada, Charles was greatly excited about the prospect of being selected.

Far From the Finish Line, but…!

To provide context, Ski-Doo organized a contest via Facebook called the “Ski-Doo 2019 Draft” to select its new ambassador. The only problem for Charles was that he simply wasn’t present on this social network. So, he rolled up his sleeves, created his Facebook account, designed his presentation video, and thus made it into the top 10 of the public votes.

Here’s how Charles learned the great news: [link to the video] .

Charles Gagné

His Role as a Ski-Doo Ambassador

Being the first Ski-Doo ambassador for Quebec undoubtedly comes with many responsibilities. Charles is well aware that he represents the image and is now the “voice” of the Quebec manufacturer in his province.

His duties require him to regularly update social media with posts during his rides. He is also very available for promotion days at dealerships, events, and shows where Ski-Doo is present. He has taken on the mission of promoting responsible snowmobiling in all its aspects.

Charles humbly admits that he is extremely happy about the trust and respect that have developed between him and Ski-Doo since his appointment. He actively participates in the development of the vehicles and clothing he wears. For him, contributing to the advancements of Ski-Doo products and validating their quality is very rewarding.

He is currently living a dream and considers himself very fortunate to have this opportunity.

Charles Gagné

A Genuine Enthusiast

Charles’s desire to improve is very much alive. Even at the beginning of his forties, he is far from having exhausted the possibilities and makes it his mission to maintain exemplary physical fitness, as he likes to emphasize: “He rides through the storms!

Charles goes on numerous outings each season, and it’s not uncommon for him to exceed 5000 km on the odometer of his off-trail snowmobiles annually.

Charles also acted as a consultant to the AEQ to modernize the practice of guiding motorized vehicles. He is pleased with the progress made, as Quebec was not up to date compared to Europe. Notable successes include:

  • The addition of 20 hours of first aid training in remote areas, and;
  • The implementation of regulations to ensure better safety for those engaged in nature and adventure activities in Quebec.

His Advice for Off-Trail Snowmobiling Beginners

To start, Charles Gagné emphasizes the importance of passion for engaging in this activity. He then stresses the need for an efficient organization, including reliable friends, for successful integration and practice.

Furthermore, he highlights the importance of researching and identifying safe and authorized locations for the activity.

And, above all, Charles also stresses the importance of budgeting for maintenance, repairs, gas and outings. He asserts that time spent riding is essential for developing skills. A secret known to all those who want to perfect their riding.

His Dream

Charles dreams of being able to live full-time from the partnerships he has established in recent years and from his status. His ultimate aspiration is to one day own his own business, focused on mentoring, teaching, and education. Although he already owns a house in La Baie, his wish is to settle at the foot of the Monts-Valin.

Beyond snowmobiling, during the summer, he plans to offer guidance to those interested in the practice of Enduro-type motorcycle riding. With the pedagogical experience he has gained over his many years in snowboarding, Charles has all the tools necessary to successfully carry out his future projects.

In conclusion, my recent meeting with Charles Gagné was enriching, although unfortunately, it was much too brief. He is a complete person eager to share his passion. This passion is part of his daily life, and he is a great example for everyone to follow.

You can follow Charles on his social media:

Charles Gagné

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