Hopefully you are keeping happy and healthy! While we are not operating any club activities this season, we are keeping active on our blog and social media.
Here’s what’s been happening on the Trakkers blog:
Please note that whenever heading out, check websites regularly to ensure that you are up to date on and following COVID-19 protocols, including physical distancing and wearing face coverings.
A tour of Trakkers Trails for safe, physically distanced fun
With no bus this year, some of you might be looking to make your own way up to the trails. But, one of the benefits of the bus is that you really did not have to know where we were going. Trakkers took care of it. So, maybe you are wondering how you can get to those trails by yourself? If so, here is a guide. Read more….
Places to Ski and Snowshoe
I’m going to add a few less likely places to ski. These are all non-commercial ski areas with limited or no facilities. And that means limited or no trail fees. You are unlikely to meet many people on these trails which, in these strange times, can be considered an added bonus rather than a problem. Read more…
Virtual Canadian Loppets
Looking for a challenge this winter? Consider participating in a virtual loppet. Due to the ongoing pandemic, some of our favourite loppets have gone virtual. Here’s what the Canadian Ski Marathon, the Canadian Birkie and the Gatineau Loppet are doing this winter. Read more…
Unable to ski? Try skating!
In December, my partner and I booked a getaway to spend a few days in Tiny Township. We were really looking forward to getting back on our skate skis. After the lockdown was announced, our plans were blown to smithereens, but what can one day do?? So we decided to go… skating! Local, free, and fun! Read more…
In December, my partner and I booked a getaway to spend a few days in Tiny Township. We were really looking forward to getting back on our skate skis. After the lockdown was announced, our plans were blown to smithereens, but what can one day do?? We thought of Plan B, which involved a day trip to Kawartha Nordic. Perfect! we said to ourselves. We booked a car and counted the days to our trip. As the day approached, we thought… hmmmm… a two-hour drive each way… that’s maybe not so bad on the way there, but driving back that long when we are tired…? Nah…
We thought: we miss the Trakkers bus and taking a nap on the way home after a full day of skiing!
So we decided to go… skating! Local, free, and fun!
My only problem was that my skates had not touched ice for over 13 years. I regarded them with suspicion. Then I thought that this was a perfect opportunity to practice skating and, maybe, just maybe, learn a proper technique that could even help me with my balance on skate skis. I was nervous but also curious and excited. Learning to properly balance on ice skates is important, just like proper balance is key to skate skiing. The skate skiing stride is very similar to ice skating. In ice skating, however, you will gain more momentum faster with less effort. While most ice skating techniques might not be transferable to skate skiing, I remain convinced that learning how to balance well on your skates can be very beneficial to keeping balance on your skate skis.
Here is a short video that might help if you are making your first steps on ice skates:
Get out and skate!
On the City of Toronto’s website we learned that we first had to get our family number for our household and separate client numbers for me and my partner. You can find out how to do this by accessing this link:
Once you have your family and client numbers, you can register for skating for any of the 54 locations across the city by either calling or going online. It is actually quite simple, BUT the capacity is 25, and many rinks fill up quickly. Registration opens one week in advance at 8 a.m. and allows for 20 spots, leaving five spots for walk-ins. If you want to secure a spot, it is best to get online or call shortly after 8 a.m. (You can also keep on checking the website if the spots became available in the meantime, because it does happen). If your plans change, you can always cancel. If you are unable to snatch a spot in advance, you can always try a walk-in, as often many people do not show up. I have not been turned away yet! (especially on a weekday).
The interactive map is very easy to use. You can just click on the location that interests you, and a dialog box pops up where you can click further to access the registration platform. It takes less than 5 minutes.
My first couple of times on the skates were like a “Bambi on ice” experience, but I am getting better. Skate time is about 45 minutes, which is more than enough for me. I particularly like the first skate window at 10 a.m. after the Zamboni goes over the ice and leaves the surface (generally) as smooth as glass. It is a new found winter activity for me, and I really like it. We are still hoping for a ski trip soon, but in the meantime, we keep on skating! So if you are unable to ski, try skating instead!
Looking for a challenge this winter? Consider participating in a virtual loppet.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, some of our favourite loppets have gone virtual. Here’s what the Canadian Ski Marathon, the Canadian Birkie and the Gatineau Loppet are doing this winter.
Please note that if heading out to ski, check websites regularly to ensure that you are up to date on and following COVID-19 protocols, including physical distancing and wearing face coverings.
Virtual Canadian Ski Marathon
February 6 to March 7, 2021
The Canadian Ski Marathon is Canada’s oldest ski tour. It welcomes all ages and all ski levels.
Typically, the Canadian Ski Marathon is held on a weekend in February in the Mont Tremblant and Gatineau region, in Quebec, on a trail that is only groomed once a year. It covers 160km that is divided into 5 sections, averaging 16km per section. Participants can ski as much or as little as they wish.
For the virtual version, participants are able to ski on any trails in their own regions. Keeping with tradition, they are offering three categories as noted below. Registration fees vary based on category and age of participant.
Tourer – Ski as many 15km sections as wanted between February 6 to March 7, 2021
Half marathon – Ski 45km in a single outing
Coureur des Bois:
Bronze – Ski 50km for two consecutive days
Silver – Ski 50km for two consecutive days while carrying a minimum load of 5kg
Gold – Ski 50km for two consecutive days while carrying a minimum load of 5kg and sleep outside between the two days
The Canadian Birkie (Birkebeiner) is one of the three Birkebeiner loppets in the world – the other two being in the United States and Norway.
Typically, the Canadian Birkie is held over the second weekend in February in the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area in Alberta. The Canadian Birkie was founded in 1985, but legend of the Birkebeiner dates back much further: During a civil war in 1206 in Norway, the infant heir to the throne was rescued by two Birkebeiner warriors who carried him safely over a 55km route across two mountain ranges.
For the virtual version, participants are welcome to classic ski, skate ski, roller-ski, skijor, cycle, run, ice skate, snowshoe, or walk the 4, 8, 13, 31 or 55 kilometres in their own regions. There are several options available and registration fees range from $15 to $35 per participant.
The Gatineau Loppet is Canada’s largest international cross-country skiing event.
Typically, the Gatineau Loppet is held over three days in February in Gatineau Park, Quebec and sees approximately 2500 international participants each year. Founded in 1979, it remains the only event of the Worldloppet series that takes place in Canada.
For the virtual version, participants can cross-country ski classic or free technique, fatbike, snowshoe, bike, roller ski or run, any distance of their choice, anywhere they want. There are several options available as noted below. Registration fees range from $5 to $15.
There are five options:
Virtual 10km challenge (allows skiers to complete over several outings)
Virtual mini 2km (available for children 10 years and under)