Trail News

Covid Winter Sports Status

January 15th, 2021 – As of this week, the Ontario Government has issued new stricter measures to reduce the chances of catching the coronavirus that lurks among us.

The government also recognizes that its citizens need to exercise for its physical and mental benefits as we hibernate this winter. This is good news but requires that we all still be prudent and cautious more than ever while still having some fun too.

It has been strongly advised to stay close to home and reduce your travel. Keep to yourself with no groups larger than five people. Wear a mask when close to others on the trail. Pack all that you need for the trip, head straight there and back home with limited stops for gas or errands. 

Can We Nordic Ski and Snowshoe in Ontario? How and Where?

Winter has come around again, and if the increase in outdoor activity last summer was any indication, everyone will be looking for a means to get out and play. God knows we need to escape our cabins and stretch our limbs, take in some fresh air.

Regrettably, the Covid pandemic is still with us as we start into 2021. We have learned, adapted and conformed to the ever-changing reality. Many of you are wondering what the status is in Ontario for winter recreational activities.

Let me give you an overview of what I have read today…with that, considering it will change again…perhaps soon for the better.   :^)

The first thing is to be aware of is that this pandemic is getting worse here (and everywhere in the world). Invisible and though not so apparent, be vigilant and keep yourself safe and isolated. By now you know the drill, so I need not repeat what has been reinforced many times.

And please if you are feeling unwell stay home!

What I wish to add, is to avoid breathing in what other skiers in front of you or passing you on the trail exhale. Keeping a bit of distance between skiers on the loops and a breeze should help that.

Nordic skiers at map board

Wondering which way to go this season.

As of this past Christmas weekend, the Ontario government had to close down a lot of services. One of them was downhill skiing. Unfortunate and odd as Ontario is the only place in North America with closed ski hills!?

As for Nordic skiing and Snowshoeing, the news is good. Most locations are open with limited services and access quotas. There will be some challenges and minor discomforts.

Typically all indoor areas we would have gone into for warmth, to change and eat/buy lunch are closed. Access to washrooms or an outhouse look to be available. You will have to use your vehicle as a home base. Not always the easiest way to change clothes and definitely lacking a wood-burning stove to dry out and relax at.

Trail fees if setup, are dealt with online on the official club/resort websites. Many may have reduced daily quotas for trail access, so book ahead. (I know with an outdoor sport like ours, it’s hard to know when this fickle weather will behave.)

If you plan to buy tickets online when you get there, this could be an issue, as some locations have poor phone data coverage. And you would think with fewer services, Ontario Parks and other resorts would reduce their fees, nope.



Another issue is gear. Few places are willing to rent skis, boots and poles or snowshoes this year. Some may rent a kit for the whole season to one person. If you are trying to buy new or used equipment, good luck, there is a shortage out there.

If you happen to have an old pair of cross country skis in the garage, now is the time to sell them on Kijiji. Let someone else enjoy this sport, mov’m out.

Everyone should check the websites of their favourite Nordic locations as to the current status before going. Don’t get frustrated (like I do) when they are not updated daily. Volunteers run the show and at times the info gets pretty stale, even at large establishments. With the cuts in staffing and the ever-changing status of this Covid bug and the promise of a vaccine, it’s so uncertain.

As you may be aware, stopping for dinner on the way home or staying over at a motel is going to be challenging and possibly risky. Plan to be self-reliant even more so. Pack extra clothes and food, fill the tank up and avoid outings on stormy/blizzard days.

Thankfully the fact that Nordic skiers do not need hills, enables us to strap on the planks and glide across any local parkland, woodlot, golf course, field or forest with ease. And you can tramp on Snowshoeing almost anywhere.

So consider venturing closer to home for your outdoor thrills (and spills). Joking aside, actually getting hurt, doing something crazy may send you to the hospital. You don’t want that.

With a bit of good fortune let’s hope the snow stays with us for the next few months. Usually, the white stuff piles up from late December right into April, more so the more north you head. Not so for the last five seasons, but having lived in Ontario for years I see this pattern changing every five years. So maybe it will revert back to a longer steady ski season this year. (Ah! but that global warming effect is a curse.)

Below are a few important links to help make plans and good decisions. There are also links at the bottom of the Snow Conditions page and on every review page too.

I certainly do not want to discourage you from going out. The benefits of even doing a short loop in your own neighbourhood will be evident once you return invigorated and refreshed.

 

Have a safe and happy winter 2021 sports season!

Think Snow – Dan Roitner

ski into the sun

Ontario Parks  – Covid updates

Ottawa NCC – Covid measures

Ontario Government – Covid Self-Assessment

 

You should be aware of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, including:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscle aches
  • Tiredness
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • New loss of taste or smell

Practice Proper Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette:

  • Clean your hands often. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based (70-90%) hand sanitizer.
  • Arrive prepared with a mask or a face covering.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue. Immediately throw the tissue in the garbage and wash your hands.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home if you are feeling unwell.
December 27, 2020No comments, , , ,
Free Nordic Trail Chart

Get Your Free Nordic Trail Reference Chart

 

I got thinking that it would be very handy for Nordic skiers and Snowshoe folks to have something they could refer to when looking to go out somewhere new and play in the snow.

Sure you can come to this site and surf for ideas, but what if you also had a condensed list of all the trails as a starting reference.

After much thought and many hours labouring, I think I’ve put together a decent list of all 60+ trails on this site, in a quick to read format. This PDF file can be saved on your phone, desktop or printed out as a reference.


Subscribe to our Newsletter

click here to get your Free Ski Trail Reference Chart

Here is What is Listed on the Chart :

Trail Number – number matches the approximate location on the map on page 1.

Trail Name – common name for this resort, club, forest or woodlot. Links to ontarioskitrails.com webpage with a full review

Location – general location in Ontario of trails. Some trail spots do not have exact addresses; refer to OST website maps

X-Country km – total kilometres of cross -country, track set ski trails

Skate Ski km – total kilometres of groomed skate skiing trails

Snowshoe km – total kilometres of designated, signed snowshoe trails (often you can do more)

Skill Level – which levels – Easy, Intermediate, Advanced, at this location are best suited, safe and fun for a skier. All Levels – there is enough trail for every skill level to enjoy.  Note this rating is not based on distance.

Adult Pass – fee (if any) to ski for the day for one adult on the weekends; snowshoeing may be less

Chalet – warming hut, cabin or chalet, to rest, eat lunch, perhaps change and warm up, (some are not open weekdays)

Food – food and water available – snack bar, cafeteria

Rentals – can rent gear to try out Nordic skiing or snowshoeing

Lessons – can take lessons to learn technique (local clubs may offer their own lessons)

Pro Shop – sells wax, skis, boots, clothes and accessories


Subscribe to our Newsletter

click here to get your Free Ski Trail Reference Chart

To get this free Nordic Trail Chart, click on one of the 3 purple buttons Cross Country, Skate ski or Snowshoe the box in the margin on the left or below is viewed on a phone.

Tell us what kind of winter sport you favour. This right away tells us what type of activity you like and we will tailor our newsletters in the future for you. Yes, you need to subscribe to our newsletters to get the freebie.

Next, check your email inbox for one of those confirmation emails so that I know you’re a real person (who likes winters). Once you’ve done that, you will be taken to a webpage with the PDF link.

Now I encourage you to stay subscribed to the newsletter because with each new issue I will have a link to an updated version of this chart.

Currently, I have yet to publish my first newsletter as other things have been more of a priority as the email list builds. Site development, trail scouting and posting reviews.

Busy as I am, there will be one soon and after that, there might be one monthly. Truly I do not what to spam or publish junk emails so it will depend on what valuable content I have to pass on to you.

In the future, I have plans on perhaps publishing an Ebook of these trail reviews with my own maps, photos. Or even a paperback book of this site. If such a book would be of interest to you, send me a note to encourage me.

And it goes without saying, if you think of improvements/changes for this list, I am listening, contact me.

 

Have pleasant outings, see you on the trail – Dan Roitner

March 2, 20182 Comments,
My Cell Phone is Lost in the Snow

Snow may be our friend to ski on, but I was just reminded in a very real way last weekend that it can also be very good at hiding things

As I was trying out a new pair of skate skis on the skate loop at Albion Hills, I fell on a rather steep descent. At the bottom was one of those quick right turns, and I was not used to these new skis, blah, blah, excuses, excuses. There I went head over heels into the powder snow, with no damage except to my ego. Having almost done the splits (yikes) I rolled over in the snow to get up without popping my skies off. (very macho)

Taking a moment to dust myself off, I noticed my waist pack pocket was unzipped! Wallet check, power bar check, cell phone…No phone!?? OK not cool, where is it? Now the snow that day was a good 30cm (12 inches) of powder and the phone could not be found. With one ski I scraped the snow right down in the area of the fall – nothing!

What to do but head back on the trail I came, a 4 km path with 3 BIG hills. Perhaps somehow it had popped out along the way or I had left it at the chalet with my girlfriend. Nothin’…

OK re-grouped at the chalet, decided to borrow my gal’s phone to call myself when I get back to the spot I fell. I weighed the chances of finding it at 10%.

What were the chances that buried in the snow I would get a signal,
and I would hear it ring?

As well, my tracking app was still running and cold batteries die quickly. Tired…almost did not trek back. Should I write my phone off?

Well…off I went and the first thing was to find a shortcut to not suffer those damn hills four times. Made it back to the spot and as I was taking my skis off, I stepped on my phone, what luck! It was just a bit farther than where I had fallen.

The message was loud and clear from this incident.
You can lose stuff in the snow very easily and it can screw you up bad.

Losing a phone, car keys, glasses, wallet, mp3 player…can be a real headache.

So the next time you venture out into a winter wonderland, secure your valuables in zipped pockets (I have less faith in velcro) and have a backup plan. Backup your phone data, have a spare key under your car, with another ski buddy who also has cash and can drive if you get hurt. Ya, that reminds me of another crazy story…LOL

btw still looking for a “misplaced” house key hmmm … should I go back in the spring??

February 20, 2014No comments
A New Nordic Ski Map Site

Welcome Nordic Ski – Snowshoers of Ontario – Feb. 2014

I have skied in Ontario for more than 45 years and have come to like our winters. Hey you gotta do something with it! I started off as a kid learning downhill from a father who was one of the better skiers in Austria. It became apparent in my 20’s that Ontario is rather flat and good downhill is far away. I chanced to find a sale on cross-country skis one day and started finding spots closer to home to trek.

Years later, I joined clubs and did daytrip bus runs to ski resorts. At this point I have skied almost every spot on this nordic ski map site. Often I would look out the window and ask myself where to go this weekend for a ski. I hope to share on this site my knowledge and insight to help you make a good decision and get out too.

Where this site goes and how big it gets we will see. My wish would be to eventually get every nordic ski resort and worthy park trail on the map. Promoting and building a community of ski enthusiasts will be another goal.

Not only is Nordic skiing (classic cross-country and skate skiing) readily available to us, it’s cheaper and healthier than most winter sports, be it downhill or snowmobiling.

And I have included Snowshoeing, as it can be done at  most locations, and is a great way for many to get out of the city and hike through the wilderness.

Please bookmark and come back again when you need inspiration, incentive or directions to your next outing.

With the snow Ontario gets every winter, it offers great possibilities, so get out and ski those trails!

say hello if see me on the trail – Dan R.

at Hardwood Lookout

February 16, 20142 Comments