Snowshoeing

Where to Try Nordic Sports

Where to Nordic Ski & Snowshoe North of Toronto

 

If you ever thought of getting outdoors to enjoy Ontario winter sports, here are a few of the more popular locations north of Toronto that I have been to. Most of these locations offer both cross country skiing and snowshoeing. All locations on the list below have equipment rentals so you can easily try before you buy. The links take you to other pages on this site with more details, maps and photos.

Here is a quick summary to make your first experience a pleasant one and maybe take up the sport. 

Cross-country skiing will be somewhat harder than snowshoeing which almost anyone can take up.  One needs to figure out the turning and stopping techniques of skiing. If you have ever done downhill skiing, it is similar but you will have less control, so take it slow at first.

Dress in layers and avoid cottons, as wool and polyesters are better.  You don’t want to start sweating while you’re working out as this will chill you later. Don’t over dress; it’s OK to feel a little cool before your ski outing as you will warm up.

Bring water and a few granola bars for the trail. Pack a lunch for after, and dry clothes to change into before you head home.

Winter days are short, so one needs to leave by 10:00am to get there, change, ski/snowshoe and have time for a late lunch. Check the weather for temps between +5C & -15C, it is better if there was fresh snowfall during the week.

Remember there’s always more snow north of the city than what you see looking out your window in the neighborhood.

When you arrive, make sure you have enough time to do the easy loops.  Take a map and your phone with you on the trail. All resorts have good directions and markings, so getting lost is hard to do.

Let the fast skiers pass and only ski the hills within your means, there’s no shame in walking the steeper ones.

Though I always feel a bit lazy about driving out of town and it seems farther every year, it rewards me in many ways and I end up glad I did. The quiet experience of gliding through the forest in the crisp country air is a change from the city chaos.

The challenge of hills and turns keeps my interest. It’s a full body exercise that stretches muscles and gets some cardio in after a week of sitting at a desk.

I find it also a reflective time on the weekend to think about what I did
last week and what plans I have next week, or just nothing at all — inner peace aahh…

With that I hope you give snowshoeing or nordic skiing a try. A hot chocolate can await you back at the chalet when stories circulate of your adventures out in the woods.

 



 

These Resorts are Close to Toronto & Rent Equipment:

Albion Hills
Horseshoe
Hardwood
Mono Nordic

Highlands Nordic
Wasaga Beach
Scenic Caves

Mansfield
Dagmar Closed

Always check the weather and snow conditions. Some resorts may be closed due to lack of snow. Naturally the further north the better the odds that there is a good snow base.

 

December 12, 2017 / 1 Comment / by / in ,
What is Snowshoeing ?

Snowshoeing ? Is it for ME, Would I Like It ?

 

Snowshoeing has recently caught on as a new winter sport for a few good reasons. Many people have taken to it because almost everyone can do it.

It’s very easy to get the knack of walking on snow with duck feet and you can use poles as well.

The other main reason snowshoeing has had a resurgence is the complete redesign in equipment. The days of oversized wooden snowshoes held together by leather straps are gone.

Now shoes are built smaller, lighter with aluminum and plastics parts. They strap easily to any winter boot and underneath they now have metal teeth for traction on hills. (Good for walking on ice too!)

With this renewed interest, most Nordic resorts have a few trails you can stomp through and most resorts rent gear too.

Frankly, one can snowshoe almost anywhere you find a few inches of snow.

The size of the snowshoe length and width is based on your weight. How well you walk on the snow really depends on how packed the snow is. You will sink in new powder snow, which can be fun or frustrating depending on how fast and far you wish to go.

One can use poles for balance but on a well-packed trail you might opt not to, and even take your snowshoes off occasionally.

Snowshoeing costs less than other Nordic sports and can be an easier aerobic exercise. So dress in more layers to not get a chill.

The slower pace makes it a good social activity to get out with the family and even for those who are not too fit.

 



 

As a solo outing one can carry more in a backpack than skiing and stop for pictures. And the best advantage of snowshoes is they can take you to places too deep for skis to get that perfect photo.

There you have it! I need not go on and on as this sport is rather easy and basic in its form. In future articles I’ll get into the few techniques, gear, clothing choices and favourite trails.

Got “cabin fever”? Get out there and give it a try, and enjoy the serenity and beauty of Ontario forests.

 

January 6, 2016 / by / in ,