Grand River Conservation Auth. –
Laurel Creek, Pinehurst Lake, Shade’s Mills
Winters in Ontario are never long enough for those of us keen on getting out to do a few weekends of Nordic skiing or snowshoeing.
The season starts maybe a few weeks into December, then goes on through January, February, March, and perhaps a longer winter may go into April. In some areas, February can get too cold and windy to ski or snowshoe when it drops past -20C ….Berrrrrr (stupid cold)
Don’t judge the snow base of a northern resort by looking out your window in Toronto
Being by the lake it’s always warmer and there likely is way more snow than you realise up north.
Locations east and west of Toronto can be icy due to the temperatures fluctuating around freezing 0C. As well, certain areas as in Georgian Bay attract more snowfall. So it is never easy to tell.
I remember once driving to Hardwood on a sunny 5C day, seeing no snow till 10 minutes from it. The skiing was not only great, no one knew. We had checked (bonus!) …and that is one reason they are there, more snowfall in that area.
Generally speaking, the more north you drive the better the odds of finding a base to ski on.
There are pockets in Ontario that typically get more snow annually from the lake effect. Georgian Bay / Lake Huron winds can produce more snow across a belt east and south of the coast.
When I hesitate, and still go, I am always glad I did — You will too!
Unfortunately, there are only a few websites to get a sense of the snow base. Most sites are for downhill resorts, and they make their own snow! Wish we could :^)
Below are a few links to assess snow conditions in Ontario for Nordic skiers and snowshoeing. I also put links on individual trail pages on this site, if I find them.
Also if it does happen that the ski season goes into April, even with a good base, resorts could be closed. Yup, a combination of Nordic skiers losing interest (wishing for spring) scheduling of staff, and the unpredictability of forecasting Ontario winters.
Always check conditions before you go! Who knows, your favourite spot may have gotten a big dump the night before or it’s currently raining.
And the season is getting shorter with global warming. Ugh! No one has to go further north. But if you have the need, Sudbury and beyond may still be doing it in April.
It takes good weather, enough snow, time, planning and driving to get out and enjoy the winter. The need to know is important.
Windy.com – my new favourite, maps can show Snow Depth and New Snow plus tons of other info
Dark Sky – good for a quick view of today’s weather, or last week or last years stats
The Weather Network – Regional weather and ski reports from downhill resorts. (too much clickbait)
Snow-forcast.com – some details, favours downhill skiing
CCIN – Canadian Snow Research, scientific data to ponder over
National Weather Service – Though American, Ontario is on their many detailed maps.