Some people wait all year for the weather to turn cold and the flakes to start falling. Winter for them is a time of activity and adventure. Many of these people are cross-country skiers who can’t wait to strap on their skis and see where the trail will take them. Below are a few beautiful places you don’t want to miss this season. Even if you have your favourites, these places are worth checking out.
Silver Star Resort in British Columbia receives over seven meters of gorgeous snowfall annually. Lifts can take you to the top of the mountain where trails await or you can use the cross mountain trails. If you purchase a dual mountain pass you will enjoy over 105 km of combined trails between Silver Star and Sovereign Lake Nordic Center. You can even do some cross-country skiing at night (until 9 p.m.) on the loop trails.
Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in Alberta welcomes cross-country skiers with the Smith-Dorrien Trails and the Kananaskis Lake area trails. The Chester Lake Trail is 4.6 km (one way) of spectacular scenery on a groomed trail. Backcountry trails like Burstall Pass allow cross country skiers the opportunity to see wildlife and tranquil beauty while choosing their own path.
Prince Albert National Park in Saskatchewan has 150 km of trails to explore. Easy and moderate, groomed and ungroomed, and even backcountry trails make this a hot-spot for those who love to see nature in all her glory. Beaver Glen and Red Deer Yellow are easy paths that will allow you to take your time and soak in the sounds and sights. Wapiti and Fisher trails are moderately difficult, but worth the effort. See Waskesiu Lake and possible animal sightings.
Algonquin Park is a place of frozen lakes, glistening glades and solitude. See animal tracks across the frozen lakes. Glide by snow-covered trees. Watch for foxes, deer and moose along with other wildlife. Stop in at Dee’s Cabin to warm up. Minnesing Wilderness Ski Trail is all backcountry – no grooming here. Hearty individuals who love a challenge can ski the ungroomed trails, stop at Prospector Pete’s cabin and pass by (or across) several lakes. There are also toilets long the way. Come prepared for the backcountry with spare ski tips, large basket poles and plenty of water. If you really feel adventurous, join one of the ski camping trips to fully enjoy the backcountry.
The Laurentians have multi-day trail opportunities for cross-country skiers. True backcountry wilderness can be found in Papineau Labelle and Rouge-Matawin wilderness reserves. Ungroomed trails, overnight huts and majestic scenery combine with wildlife sightings to make these multi-day trips memories for a lifetime.
Gatineau Park, just minutes from Ottawa, is a cross-country skier’s paradise. 200 km of trails for classic and skate skiing, 45 km of backcountry trails and 10 day shelters with woodstoves, picnic tables and outhouses make this a wonderful opportunity for city dwellers to get out and enjoy nature. Groomed trails, varying terrain and self-serve ski passes make Gatineau Park a convenient and beautiful place for all levels of cross-country skiing.