Let it snow, let snow, let it snow…as the Christmas tune would go…and it is!
And the start of our 2019 -2020 winter sports season has indeed started early. Very early and Nordic ski resorts and parks have been caught off guard. (and even myself updating this site)
Typically, cross-country and skate skiers + snowshoe fans expect to play in the white stuff perhaps by the end of December. Even when I go to Sudbury every Christmas nothing is officially open till January. (but I ski anyway)
So this winter in the city of Toronto, there was a base to try your “rock skis” as early as mid-November. I could have (should have) but my mindset was just not ready. And after looking at many club websites today, neither are many of the Nordic locations in Ontario.
Info on the true status of trail conditions has always been sketchy and this continues as a number of resorts have posted Facebook or Twitter announcements that they are open and welcome us, but their official websites still post them as closed (!?).
So please do your due diligence to sort out what the current status is, as it is ever-changing as we rely on the weather. No snow is made for this sport, only nature can provide. Though if the snow base melts a bit or rain damages it, groomers can resurface the base when the weather is favourable to do so.
Part of running a resort/Provincial Park/ski club location is planning your staff, volunteers, budget and maintenance schedule far ahead for how long you predict the next winter season will be. (Much like a farm has to plan and guess ahead of time.)
This season the first snow arrived early. It could all melt away in a week, but I looked at the weather forecast for the next 2 weeks and more snow with temperatures around or below 0C will keep us going.
I know some trails are open, but others have yet to be cleared of fallen trees and branches. Bringing on paid staff this early and at short notice certainly has kept a few places still closed that I expected open. (Maybe till the new year.)
We have had 4 years of little snow, and a very short pitiful season. (Thanks to global warming?) So perhaps this makes up for it and we will get the opposite. Having lived in Ontario for many years my amateur weather senses seem to see 5 year cycles.
Before this drought in snowfall and warmer winter weather, which lasted the past 4 years, did we not have a very cold period before that, for 5 previously chilly years??
Regardless, make the most of this early snowfall, wax those skis and hit them trails!
Who is open? (as of Dec. 28th, 2019):
Ontario Parks – most closed, sad but true
Albion Hills – closed
Mansfield – open January 10th 2020 (snow dependant)
Horseshoe – open thin base granular
Hardwood – open limited, groomed, fast and icy – New Chalet opens today!
Highlands Nordic – open, thin base 10 km
Scenic Caves Nordic – closed icy wet base
Ganaraska – not enough snow
Kawartha – open, limited trail
Capreol – closed due to rain warm temps
Windy Lake – open, conditions are good, use caution on red trail
Walden – open, icy granular base
Wesley Clover – closed, little snow in the Ottawa area
And head to our main page for updates on Snow Conditions.
Below is a Weather Map that shows the current snow base in Ontario. Click anywhere on the map and a flag will show you the snow depth in that location. Keep in mind that areas with lots of evergreen trees may not have all the snow on the ground. Some may be still stuck in the branches.
Also try other settings on the right to sort out the current and future ski conditions before you make plans.