This week’s little adventure (eventually) brought me and my friend Nicole to the Laurentian cross-country ski trails. We quickly found out that while this trail system does link up to the Laurentian Conservation Area trails, it is indeed a separate set of trails. Neither of us had our own skis, which is no big surprise since it had been approximately 15-20 years since I’ve attempted this activity. Nicole had been skiing more recently, but I’m fairly certain that she, like me, would not put herself in the “experienced” or “has a general idea about technique” category. Adult ski rental + trail day pass cost us $20 each and we needed to go to the chalet, located in the grandstands at the Laurentian University stadium, to procure these. We initially went to the wrong chalet (the BioSki Cross-Country & Snowshoe Club – responsible for the aforementioned Conservation Area ski and showshoe trails) but the staff there politely informed us they only rent snowshoes and directed us to the grandstands. Luckily, these two chalets are about a 5-minute drive from one another so it was only a mild inconvenience.
Now that we had our skis on, we could have started off with just a lap or two around the track to get the hang of things. But no, that would have been too easy/smart. I figured, hey I’m generally athletic and this will pretty much be walking/running on skis so I’ll be good to go…hahahaha (wrong). I actually thought the skate-skiing/freestyle would be easier (I skate so it’s just skating with skis on, right??) but quickly found out that, nope, definitely not easier and very wrong re: just skating with skis on. So we headed off (the wrong way – sign reading comprehension fail) up a hill, quickly realized we were going the wrong way, then hurtled ourselves down a hill aptly named “Sling Shot”. Maybe this wasn’t the best way for a couple of newbies to start things off…and why yes, we did both fall in a hilarious fashion. Our plan of attack was to hunker down into the classic tracks and hope for the best but you can imagine how that went. I really don’t recommend this – it wasn’t the safest option and we’re pretty lucky that only our pride got hurt. Once we dusted ourselves off, trying to hide the fact that we had obviously rolled in snow, we made our way onto a trail that was more our speed – “Jean’s Gentle Jaunt”.
“Jean’s Gentle Jaunt” was a lovely little loop that we did a few times. We spent probably 1.5-2 hours out on the trails with a few stops (for me) to take pictures and (for me) to snack. Nicole was very patient. It was cold (-20 something, felt like -20 bigger something) but not too windy and the sun was out, which was lovely. I will definitely be trying this out again; it was a great full-body workout and good cross-training for my running! There’s a ton of ski trails near me and throughout Ontario – you can check out Ontario trails by region and activity here and you can search ski trail conditions in Ontario Provincial Parks here.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy some pictures of our sunny ski adventure!