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A cross country skier hits the trails in Gatineau Park in this 2005 image. The National Capital Commission, which operates the park, has partnered with the Ottawa public library to offer weekly passes this winter. ((Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press))

More than 150 people are already on the wait list for the hottest new item at the Ottawa public library: a weeklong cross-country ski pass at Gatineau Park.

The 75 ski passes hit circulation in December after the library struck a deal with the National Capital Commission to launch the pilot project.

The pass is borrowed from the library like any other circulating item, and provides free access to the trails for a week for an adult or a teen, provided the individual carries the pass with them at all times while using the trails.

Similar pilot projects in other libraries across the country have offered museum or gallery passes, as libraries look to draw more people through their doors.

"Libraries for centuries have been about books. Books will always be our mainstay but there's so much more ... you can also borrow an experience," said Barb Clubb, the city's chief librarian.

Michael Meunier, an Ottawa resident who signed up for the waiting list on Wednesday, said he was surprised to hear about the offer.

"I didn't believe it at first ... I never associated the library with cross-country skiing," said Meunier.

The park normally only sells daily passes — which cost $13 for adults or $9 for teens, students and seniors — or seasonal passes, which cost from $75 for teens to $160 for adults.

Meunier said he hopes the weeklong passes would give him a chance to give the sport a serious run.

"I've gone once or twice a season for the past few years," said Meunier. "This would be a great excuse to get into it more heavily. And hopefully push me to use the pass after it expires."

The ski pass pilot project runs until the end of the winter season.