Where To Go Cross Country Skiing this Winter
With long winters and lots of snow, Northeastern Ontario is a paradise for avid outdoorspeople. You’re really in luck if you enjoy cross-country skiing, considering the range of possible experiences—from volunteer-run Nordic Ski Clubs with day lodges, to Mom and Pop operations that offer several kilometres of groomed trails right outside the front door.
Here’s a sampling of where you’ll find some great cross-country trails in Northeastern Ontario.
Boasting 30 km of groomed trails for classic and skate skiing, the Porcupine Ski Runners is one of the largest cross-country clubs in Canada. Located just a few kilometres from Timmins, it’s got a new Xstrata Copper Chalet with rental equipment, a waxing room and snack bar. Some of the trails are lit for night skiing. Prices are reasonable: $12/adult and $4/kids. While you’re out skiing, look for snow hares, partridge, snowy owl, weasels and, if you’re lucky, a moose or lynx. And don’t forget to mark your calendar for the Loppet in March.
The Temiskaming Nordic Ski Club located between Cobalt and Temiskaming Shores offers three trail systems of varying length covering a total of about 20 km. Trails groomed for skating and classic skiing take you through a landscape of rolling eskers and beautiful forest. There’s a large heated log chalet, a waxing room, kitchen, and change rooms. It’s open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM with an honour system in place for fee collection during the week. Prices are $12/adults and $6/children 6–18.
The Iroquois Falls Cross-Country Ski Club is home to 25 km of trails of varying difficulty. Although the trails can be accessed every day, the chalet is open only on weekends. Rent equipment for skate or classic skiing on weekends and put your 3-12 year olds in a learn-to-ski program. Day use fees are only $7/adult and $5/student.
The Laurentian Nordic Ski Club, housed on the Laurentian University Campus offers a groomed ski trail to the Bio-Ski Cross-Country and Snowshoe Club. Here you’ll find nested loops from 1.5 to 10 km running through Lake Laurentian Conservation Area. Ski through stands of birch, red pine and white spruce while keeping an eye out for porcupine and red fox. An adult day pass is $10 while students and children are $5.
If you’re in the North Bay area check out the North Bay Nordic Ski Club with its 50km of groomed trails for classic and skate skiing. They offer rentals and $13 tickets. You can look forward to plenty of long loops and a stiff climb if you head up the escarpment.
Kap Nordic Skiers is home to 24 km of trails. You can rent skis, throw your kids in lessons and enjoy a monthly social breakfast in the chalet.
Free classic and skate skiing—mostly at an intermediate level—is available on six loops covering 12 km. Trails start near the Community Complex and head east, paralleling Gull Lake. Rentals are available on a first come, first served basis.
The Cochrane Cross Country Ski Club offers seven loop trails ranging in length from 2 to 6 km for $10 per day. Bring cash as they use the honour system.
Photo credit: Nancy Daigle
On Manitoulin Island, 10 km west of Little Current, you can ski for only $5 on 10 km of hilly trails looked after by the Manitoulin Nordic Ski Club.
Lodges That Offer Skiing
Plan to bring your own equipment to most of these lodges.
Northland Paradise Lodge near Temagami on the shores of Cassels-Rabbit Lakes has some amazing skiing though the White Bear Old Growth Forest directly in front of the lodge. The reward for breaking trail—majestic skyline views.
At Saenchiur Flechey in Monetville on the west arm of Lake Nipissing, you’ll find 10-15 km of track-set trails through the forest.
The Sportsman’s Lodge Wilderness Resort near Sudbury offers two loops of seven and three kilometres along with lots of non-groomed possibilities.
At River Valley Lodges in West Nipissing you can ski on little used snowmobile trails where the owner says “everyone has respect for one another.”.