Category Archives: Snowshoeing

Strong Body. Strong Trakker. | Cross-training

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Are you a runner? A cyclist?  Read about the benefits of cross training with cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter months.

Cross-Training 101: Cross-Country Skiing (Competitor.com)

For runners:

Cross-country skiing: The ultimate winter cross-training (Canadian Running)

Cross-training Options for Runners (Runner’s World)

For cyclists:

Cross Training and Cross-Country Skiing (Hunter Allen Power Blog)


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Destination Horseshoe

Of all our regular destinations, Horseshoe is the most expansive.

Three distinct groups of trails are spread out across the Copeland Forest. Some members have discovered the out of the way collection of South trails across Horseshoe Valley Road from the Nordic Chalet. Here, you’ll find very few skiers even on the busiest days. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of some dog sledding tours near the farm loop.

Dog Sledding at HorseshoeThere are plenty of lovely flat runs perfectly suited for beginners (yellow labelled trails). People who just want to glide along enjoying nature may choose the blue trails.  Separate snowshoe trails lead to a pretty lookout.

If you think that means there’s nothing much for the ambitious skier, think again. The red expert trails have plenty of fun hills with enticing names like Heart Attack Hill, and Achey Breaky and Terry’s Test. Check out this video of a group of skiers heading down the long hill at Craiger’s Corner.

 

Destination Highlands Nordic

This family-run resort was established by Larry Sinclair and his family in 1992. It’s known for its beautiful views of Georgian Bay, well-groomed trails and high quality services. There’s something for everyone here.

Larry's Glacier 2Larry’s Glacier is a favourite rest spot for many Trakker members. Most of the trails pass this junction. Located at the top of a good climb, it offers a place to drop off extra layers if you’re too warm. Don’t forget to pick them up again for the breezy run back down to the lodge!

Hill descent 3The well-equipped ski shop caters to all ages and levels of skiers. According to Bruce, when you shop there, you are usually dealing with a member of the Sinclair family because so many work at the resort. “The last time I bought skis, I explained that I wanted a ‘softer’ camber because I actually like more grip while climbing. It was an unusual request, but he gave me exactly what I wanted. Also, they did a great job of fitting Linda with new boots this year.”

If you want to learn or practice hill climbing and descending, this is a great place to do it. The teaching hill is wide and smooth with plenty of room for lessons.

Teaching hillThis is a large facility with a number of separate spaces for groups to gather, socialize and store their gear. “What appeals to me is that as a Club, we usually get our own room, away from the hub-bub in the rest of the building” says Bruce.

And if the 24 kms of ski trails and 7 kms of snowshoe routes are not enough for you, there’s a separate toboggan hill for some good old-fashioned fun.  tobogganSomething for everyone indeed!

 

Destination Scenic Caves

All of the resort destinations we travel to have unique appeal. In the coming weeks, we’ll feature reviews by members that point out what they like most about one of the resorts we go to. Here is Jen’s take on Scenic Caves, our destination for January 10.

What appeals to you about this destination?
I really enjoy the combination of trails, different terrain and scenery at Scenic Caves. The look-out to Georgian Bay from the Lookout Point / Logan’s Run trail is a must-see spot.  It’s also nice that most of the trails are quite separate from each other. At some resorts, you can easily see many other skiers up ahead of you, or on trails that are running parallel to the trail you are on, but at Scenic Caves each trail feels separate and like you are deep in the forest. At the same time, the resort also has a few natural points where people tend to congregate, as the trails intersect, so it’s easy to meet up with others on the trails if you want.
Scenic Caves TrailThe diversity of the terrain is also appealing. There are lots of hills if that’s your thing, but there are also some trails with flattish sections,  like Blue Sky (shown above) or the Northwest Passage. Because Blue Sky is across the road from the main entrance, it always seems to be very quiet. It’s also flat and short, so it’s a wonderful spot to practice your technique if you’re new to skate skiing.

What are some features and amenities that would suit different skiers?
The resort has clearly put a lot of effort into safety, particularly from the perspective of a newbie skier, which was one of the things I really appreciated when I was just learning. For example, I think that Scenic Caves has the best trail signage of any of the resorts. It seems like at every trail intersection there is a very large, well-maintained map, and all the hilly spots, turns or caution points are well marked. It is simply impossible to get lost there and you always know how close (or far) you are from the chalet or the next trail intersection. That’s comforting!

What do you find unique or special? 
Everyone remarks on how inviting the two log cabins are at Scenic Caves. Each time Trakkers visits we get one of the cabins for our dedicated use, which is really helpful when there are about 100 of us going to the resort! The cabin by the main entrance is handy due to the proximity to the snack bar (hot chocolate!), but the cabin by the start of the trails is larger and has more couches for post-ski relaxing. For the Trakkers annual Wine and Cheese on January 10, we have the larger cabin at the trail head booked.

Can you describe a memorable experience you had there?
The first time I did the Turkey Shoot trail! It is a relatively short (but very steep) short-cut between the trails on the upper level of the resort and the flatter (and more beginner-friendly) trails on the lower level.
This was a few years ago and it was also around the same time I realized that I was finally starting to get confidence in my snowplow technique. I actually did the trail somewhat by accident – I had thought I was taking the Georgian Return trail, but then before I knew it there I was, going down the Turkey Shoot and loving it! It was so exhilarating! It also gave me the confidence to try the recently added Murphy’s Stomp trail.

Is there anything else a new visitor might like to know?
Scenic Caves Snowshoe Sign
As great as the skiing is at Scenic Caves, the snowshoeing is just as excellent! The Suspension Bridge trail provides a gorgeous look-out across the bay and is a nice challenge to go down the ravine and then back up the other side. If you are looking for a serious workout, the Ironman trail (shown above) can’t be beat.

Ready to Snowshoe with Trakkers

snowshoe-walking-2099391Snowshoeing is offered on Trakkers trips and the number of members choosing this activity sometimes or all of the time is growing every year.

For those thinking about what to expect and what they need to enjoy a day of snowshoeing with the club, here are some tips:

Conditions and Terrain on Trakkers Trips

Snowshoeing first-timers can expect marked trails and easy to follow maps at the destinations we travel to. No need to bushwhack! Trail choices may include rolling and hilly terrain, but you are unlikely to encounter icy, steep climbs or highly challenging descents. Expect surfaces packed down by those who have gone before you without a lot of deep powder.

Choosing a Snowshoe

Despite the simplicity of the sport, there is a lot to know about selecting snowshoes that are right for you and the type of snowshoeing you plan to do.

About snowshoes from Mountain Equipment Co-op
How to choose snowshoes from REI Co-op

You’ll want to wear stable waterproof boots with firm toes and flat soles. Taking a pair of poles along to can give you a better workout for the arms and help with balance.

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