Trail News

OST Winter 2023-24 Newsletter

Hello Fellow Nordic Skiers & Snowshoe Enthusiasts 

Here we are once again in the midst of winter, at the mercy of fickle snow conditions. Regardless, make an effort and plan a few outings before it all melts away. Could this be one of the worst winters in memory? Sure seems like it. 

Certainly in southern Ontario, there has been less of a snow base, and across the province fewer snow dumps = old crusty snow conditions for longer periods.


Globe warming is real and we all need to do something about it. Fast!

I’m not trying to bum you out here, just be ready and willing when the opportunities arise, as there seems to be fewer days to escape outdoors. Our neighbours in the “north” still have the white stuff. But for how long?

I’ll say it again, don’t judge the province as a whole by what you see out your window near Lake Ontario. By Algonquin Park northward there is a good snow base, though at times these mild temps bring rain. Plan to drive a little further north will bring you winter bliss.

Always check our amazing snow depth and the week’s forecast weather maps for new snow. And the resort itself to be sure the trails are good.

Nordic skier on trail
Nordic skiing by cabin

I wanted to mention a few items to keep you all informed…


No Emailed Newsletter – I have decided, for now, to stop sending my emailed Newsletters to my 2500 subscribers. The cost to send only 3 or 4 OST Newsletters every winter was getting expensive $$.

I may arrange other means to send them in the future, I have a few ideas… For now, look at my blog posts to get any news updates. If I ever publish a ski trail guide book I’ll send you an email announcement…which leads into…


Trail Guide Delayed – Unfortunately my thoughts of publishing a book this winter have yet again been deferred to later. Having written three other trail guide books for my other interest, cycling – see , I know fully well how large an undertaking it is to self-publish a book.

Frankly, I just didn’t have it in me after putting in 5 months last spring for my last book. I still wish to publish a Nordic ski and snowshoe trail guidebook for Ontario. We’ll see if I am up to it this year.


Submit your Nordic Ski  & Snowshoe Trails (for FREE) – In the meantime,  am always willing to post new Nordic Ski and Snowshoe destinations on the OST site. If you know of a good location that should be on my site maps then send me a note. I’ll try to get there or at least post a listing of your ski/snowshoe loops for all to see.

Here is what I need:

Send me a link to your club website and Facebook page. Include photos similar to what you see on this site.

  • Photos of the trails, groomed and with people on them in the background. (The skiers and snowshoers give scale and interest to the shots.) Most faces reproduce so small and are far away to be recognized. If they can be, please make sure they give permission to be published.
  • Include photos of your chalet (inside and out), trail signs, scenic vistas, night skiing and anything else about your location. If photos can be taken on a sunny day, all the better.
  • REsize the photos before sending to a smaller resolution, around 2000 pixels on the longer dimension, if you can, please.

I will post the map from your club’s site and I will write up a short description about your trails. I may wish to chat on the phone with someone in the know to help with writing it. 

Most of the posted reviews on this site were first visited by me to scout the trails before a write-up. As locations get farther afield from my Toronto home, and the ski season seems to get shorter, this has gotten difficult to do. So I need to ask others to help me share all the wonderful Nordic trail locations in Ontario. (that includes you guys in North Western Ontario, nudge nudge)

Nordic skier on trail
two snowshoers

Broken Links & Site Updates – Every year I fix broken site links and try to stay on top of changes in our winter sport. Rarely do I get notices sent my way when changes are made to trails and  the club status. I wish ski clubs/government depts. would, as it would serve us all better. But hey, much of it is run by only a few volunteers, so I understand. You want to ski; no time to promote, (yet your should!)

If you as a visitor to my site encounter any broken links or know of updates I need to tend to, please send a quick note to alert me. It is impossible for me to stay on top of everything and this would benefit our community. Thanx

 Here is a list of what changes I  recently saw:


And I had a little fun generating some Nordic clipart using AI tech. I have shot and bought stock photography in the past. There is never enough choice, so I made my own with MS Copilot. It is quick, free and works, though rather generic. And if you look closely, it is still not good at rendering limbs, skis, snowshoes, boots and poles. LOL 


Have a Great winter season outdoors!  – Dan Roitner

Cross country skiing logo in Ontario

February 24, 2024No comments
OST Newsletter Dec. 2022

Here is an excerpt of my newsletter


First I want to wish you all the best for
this festive season
and 2023!

Let’s all step back and relax a bit from the madness of everyday life. Don our warm winter wear and hit the trails for some solitude in the pines, fresh crisp air, and good cheerful company with our fellow Nordic skiers and snowshoers.

Let us be thankful for all the good things we have here in Canada. We can be glad that the Covid bug, though here to stay, has been tamed and we can enjoy our winter outings once again.

Not to say let’s be careless and catch or share this around but I think attitudes have changed for the better. More people are less likely to go out if they are not feeling well. And if you must, wear a mask as a courtesy to others, like I see they do in Asia.

Remember closed chalets and warming huts, no food or repair services, using temporary cold outhouses (if there even was one) and having to change in your car? All that added hassle but not at a reduced price! (more on that issue below)

Those inconveniences are gone. Despite this, it did increase the popularity of our sports, which was welcomed.

Many locations are keeping paperless booking systems that were set up during Covid for online payments. This can secure a day for you and even a time slot to be there, days in advance. Just don’t make it too far ahead as the weather can be a spoiler.

mtn snowshoeing

Weather Predictions

Good weather and snow conditions are important for our outings. For the third year in a row, La Niña will be a major influence on Canada’s weather systems.

I took a skeptical look at our weather horoscope for this winter. It’s sounding like crystal ball gazing as no one really knows. From weather networks to the Farmers Almanac one can get a broad range of forecasts.

Supposedly it will be colder than normal here in Ontario, with more snow too, but also more rain, Ok make up your mind. A season of changeable weather they say…… Umm, that kind of covers all the bases. Lol..not helpful but entertaining.

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Up to 30% off Gloves and Mittens!

AliExpress Winter Clearance Sale
running from January 9th through January 13th with products at up 70% off with Free and Fast Shipping plus $3 off of every $30 spent!

Scary Weather Alerts

– I was having a conversation in the kitchen this week at our big family feast about weather sensationalism. We agreed that over the years weather has turned from what we expect as normal forecasting into drama the networks hype to promote as entertainment or exaggerate as a real concern. They turned our daily weather forecasts from typically boring news into something that would get our attention and ad dollars. (eg. – freak weather as clickbait on the Weather Network)

What was once a snowstorm we would weather through and shovel out, now is broadcast as “ the storm of the century” “a snow armageddon” or some terrifying anomaly. Now kids stay home from school, and highways/businesses close at a hint of anything that might be. OMG!

As the Brits like to say “Keep Calm and Ski On”. Sure there can be bad weather that you should avoid, delay your plans and make you stay home.

But don’t get conditioned by the media into thinking that you can’t handle Canadian winters anymore. We all can remember lots of blizzards and storms that we “survived” without much fuss. (And I know I am writing to the wrong audience anyway, as most of you are hardy skiers and snowshoers who have trekked through some pretty crazy weather in your day.)

young man cross-country skiing
ski pass

Trail Pass Value $$?

As I update info on the OST site every winter, I have seen prices continue to climb. I always saw Nordic skiing and snowshoeing as a lower cost way to get out and be active than the more popular and expensive cousin, downhill skiing. It does not feel so much that way these days.

The old timers are telling me it’s getting overpriced, questioning where is the value? Why the large increase for essentially a very simple activity in the woods?

Top resorts are charging more; $42 at Hardwood, $40 at Horseshoe, $35 at Nordic Highlands, and $31 at Scenic Caves… A leap in a few years on average from $25 to $40, a 60% increase folks. Not cheap anymore, and when you take the whole family. Ouch!

As Nordic skiers and snowshoers, our needs are basic, a trail that’s groomed. (And sometimes poorly.) There are no snowmaking services or ski lifts, and less equipment and staff are needed to groom and run a Nordic resort compared to downhill locations. Even paper maps are a thing of the past.

Certainly, resorts/clubs enjoyed a few good profitable years recently. Because of Covid limitations, more people got out on the trails, and the numbers doubled.

Also, the rise in popularity of snowshoeing and Fatbikes is added income. And some resorts even make more money in the summer by charging mountain bikers trail fees!

I do support these resorts and I am glad they exist as a choice for some who wish it as a more up-scale destination. And I want them to be profitable, to stay in business… Yet it seems they are making more income from the same property than ever before. (BTW the free listings and extra business I give them on this site comes with little in return to me, not even thanks.)

I do understand there are many costs to running these places (insurance, property maintenance, wage increases, taxes…) but the optics are not looking good.

Even when adding more lunchroom space is that cost not offset by the increase in visitors? And as nice as better/more food choices at the lunch counter, or a fancy pro shop or more rentals are,  you do have to pay extra for these.

Compare this to Ontario Park trails (Arrowhead & Wasaga) and Nordic club trail passes. Most have inched up only a few dollars in the last few years into the mid teens $$ in price and remain sane, good value.

Now with that said, thankfully for our sports, you can do Nordic skiing and snowshoe, almost anywhere at no cost, even in your local park on a good snow day. These sports have their roots in a basic means to get around, a natural, no frills, low tech activity to enjoy the outdoors and stay fit. Let’s not get fooled that money has to be spent to have fun.

So why is it getting so expensive? I wish I knew. Are running costs getting that much higher or are enterprises testing the market to see how much we are willing to pay = more profits, yet fewer people can afford to visit? Are they getting greedy?

(And after the holidays, I am going to make contact and see what resorts say and tell you later.)

Enjoy the trails – Dan Roitner

You can leave a comment at the bottom of this page. 

festive banner
December 30, 20226 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