Rockway ski trails are in the heart of Kitchener. This urban location consists of five short loops on a golf course, and at a mere 4 km of groomed track, there is not much here to classic or skate ski. Yet I am including it in my listings for a number of good reasons.
As you already know, with its city location, it’s close for a lot of users—therefore less travel time.
A golf course is a great place for beginners to try this sport. There are fewer trees to run into and more space to practice your turning and stopping skills, which can be stressful for beginners on narrower woodland trails.
With fewer trees, the trailhead from the top of the hill gives you open views of much of the surrounding city. Beautiful sights on a sunny day, not so good if it’s a polar wind.
When I dropped by one very cloudy day to try these one-way loops, the sign at the first hole said Course Closed! I hesitated… Ah, yes! Closed for golfers.
There were still plenty of skiers getting in a little exercise late in the day. Actually, I saw solar-powered LED lighting fixtures hanging from the trees starting to turn on. This enables those with day jobs to get in a few nighttime laps after work, nice thought. I also saw kids have some fun on a toboggan hill.
The Waterloo Region Nordic Sports Club – WRNSC runs this on volunteer power. You can ski for free, but making a donation or joining the club helps the cause.
New club signage marks these nicely groomed tracks, which include a few quick hills for thrills (no spills, please). Because it’s in the city, it’s not as quiet as gliding through a forest, but I am not really complaining, just making an observation.
I also wanted to post this location to help represent this largely populated area of Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge. As in Toronto, winters here are mild and the snow does not stick around for long. Still, locals are keen to get out when there is an opportunity and ski here and in other small woodlots and parks like Laurel Creek and Bechtel Park in town, and Shade’s Mill by Cambridge.
The main reason I mention Rockway on my site is that it is a great example of how a golf course can get repurposed in the winter for skiing. I just do not see enough of this happening.
Highlands Nordic and Mountainview both have part of their trails passing through fairways, but city golf courses don’t seem to do this simple winter transformation.
Design a course, post signs, run a groomer if you can … And done! They will come.
I encourage you and your ski buds, wherever you live, to ask for this from your local golf course landowners, be they private or municipal. Have a plan, present the concept as a large group (form a ski club)—this will always carry more weight. It may take some time, many meetings and emails, but the outcome can be very rewarding and long lasting.