Snow Updates

We have many members who have homes or cottages near our trail system, so we will receive frequent Snow Updates on the condition of the trails and how much snow we have.  Our trail system covers a vast area and conditions can be quite variable from one location to another due to snowsqualls that come off Georgian Bay.  It would not be uncommon to receive three feet of snow in one area while another area would receive six inches depending on which way the wind is blowing, so the club will travel to the area most favourable depending on the conditions.  The conditions can vary greatly compared to other ski areas such as Kolapore and Copeland Forest, but generally due to the more northerly location and predominant westerly winds, our trail system will hold its snow the longest.

  • 25 Mar 2017 8:25 PM | Anonymous member

    After a day of freezing rain, rain and snow, the system had pushed off to the south of us. There was even sun in the forecast, although the morning was still pretty dull looking. A trace of snow had slightly whitened everything. I procrastinated about getting out again, but was still keen to explore more of the area northeast of Rosseau. I sent messages to my sister, Markus and Elaine Robbins to see if anyone was tempted, and had time for a potentially challenging ski day. Elaine took the “bait”, but needed time to get ready. 

    We were off driving by 10:30, it would be a late start, but today we would have more time to ski later. By 11:30 we were pulling onto Bear Cave Road. Now ... were to start off? I had considered driving further up, but seeing a snow covered and slippery road ahead of us, decided to only go the short distance in and park by the same place Markus and I had started from the other day. 

    Snow conditions were excelllent, a firm base, although softening up a bit, with a cm or 2 fresh snow on top. Pond ice was good as well, although a few puddles were forming on top of the ice. Negotiating the steep terrain was much easier today, not as slick … and I only had to take my skis off once, when negotiating an almost vertical drop without snow, onto a pond. As the day progressed, the weather improved, warming temperatures and more patches of blue sky. A late lunch became a sunbathed lunch where we were frequently pelted by chunks of slush falling off the trees above us. By the end of lunch the skies were totally blue, and the day was feeling almost balmy. 

    Markus and I had hoped to do some pond hopping with the canoe in here this spring, however, as with the other ski day, we noticed most ponds had little water in them, the beaver dams having been all compromised. Too bad, as with the quantity of potential wetlands, this would have been a great area to paddle through. Our route took us more to the west, but we eventually looped back, partly skiing some of the route Markus and I had skied the other day. Those tracks were barely visible with the recent rain and snow.

    Back to the car by 4:30, another great day. If we are lucky, and we get through the next few wet days without too much rain, I expect conditions to survive, and hope to squeeze a few more days mid-week, before putting away the skis for another year.

    A link to some pictures and map of the route:

  • 23 Mar 2017 9:43 PM | Anonymous member

    With a bright cold start in the forecast for Thursday, followed by a warm up, another ski day is a must. Friday onwards is not looking very good, so we better take advantage of this. Markus and I headed up to Rosseau to explore the area of the Cardwell Forest. Browsing the area on satellite images showed  great potential for some scenic routes. We hoped snow conditions would cooperate, however if not, we also brought our hiking boots. As we drove along highway 141, west from highway 11 we couldn’t help notice the copious amounts of snow, definately more than in the Gravenhurst area. Unfortunately the lack of any fresh snow meant we would be skiing on solid hardpack.

    We headed east along the Aspdin Road from Rosseau, turning north onto Hekkla Road, and then Bear Cave Road, driving north a short distance. We came across a reasonable spot to pull over and park. We were beside a wetland that appeared to run into the system of ponds we hoped to follow. WE were skiing shortly after 9AM setting off down annarrow swamp. Unfortunately the swamp soon became infested with alders, creating a real obstacle for almost 20 minutes. We would have been better to walk back on the road a bit, then head out. We eventually got into clearer terrain and were able to now speed ahead, and into the new area to explore. A few steep, and very high ridges were now in front of us. The icy conditions were bad enough that I took off my skis and walked up the hill. Markus was determined to ski over the ridge, but eventually was forced to walk as well as the descent down the other side was steeper, and bare in many places.

    Once in the long system heading towards Berry Lake skiing became much easier and we made great time skiing northwards into the lake. Having a shorter day today we had to watch the time more carefully than usual. We were up into Berry Lake in about an hour. That was a good indication on just what kind of route we could accomplish today as we needed to be back in Gravenhurst mid afternoon. The temperature was warming up as well which meant we might experience less slick conditions. I was skiing on the older Karhu waxable skis, and was slipping about terribly. My arms were doing most of the work so far.

    Overall we had a great ski day in a very scenic area, following the ponds and marshes as much as possible. The less hills the better! A south facing rocky area on the north shore of a pond became our lunch spot, providing us with a nice warm spot to relax. From here we continued to follow the various pond systems eventually looping back to the car. Regarding wildlife, not much around. There were numerous signs of moose in the area, but no sightings of the animals. The icy conditions were very noisy to ski thrrough so we were not expecting to spot much anyway.

    A great ski day, in new are with much more to explore. If we can avoid too much inclement weather over the next few days, maybe there will be some more opportunities to get back out here before winter finally leaves us.

    A link to some pictures, and a map of the route

  • 20 Mar 2017 8:50 AM | Anonymous member

    On our last day out skiing I mentioned it was the best day of the season so far … well ... today beat it! 

    Beautiful sunny day, warm temperatures, a good snow base, and no wind!. Ice conditions were amazing as well, we could still ski right up the middle of streams with rock solid ice! (although by late afternoon there were some soft areas forming) Plus 8 today, felt more like summer!   Well maybe not quite … although it was preferable to stop in the shade for water breaks to cool down.

    Again, Markus was ready for more adventure. Today we went east over to Houseys Rapids Road. We found a small cleared area to park the car, right at the entrance of Towbridge Road, southwest of RIley Lake. Off skiing by 9:30AM. Snow conditions were frozen rock hard, with fast conditions in exposed areas. We were surprised to still find soft recent soft snow on top of the ice on many of the ponds. It appeared that there was more snow overall in this area, the base seemed to be deeper than other areas recently skied. We skied south towards the Black River before meandering westward through a group of ponds. Some high rocks became too tempting to pass by, so our route became modified to take in some climbing and ridge skiing. 

    While skiing down the pond furthest to the southeast the silence was suddenly broken by loud barking, sounding more like savage guard dogs  … then a view of a nice new home overlooking the pond. Oops, probably private area, fortunately the excited dogs were tied up, or atleast i appeared so. A hasty retreat out of there was a priority for the short term.

    A few zigzags through ajoining ponds and we were now skiing northerly up through a major wetland system. The Trans-Canada Trail runs up through this area. We had recently crossed it and were now following the systems to the west of it. We skied through a beautiful lake, passing a nice cliff with a flat top, maybe a perfect lunch spot. It was one ridge west of another similar cliff where, while hiking the main trail with Elaine, Judy and Graham we had stopped for lunch. We had the luxury of a nice bench to sit on that trip. We chose the other cliff today, it providing a more unobstructed view of the lake.

    I brought beer today to have with our lunch, as the weather now didn’t require us to be totally bundled up … a sign that maybe winter is coming to an end! The hot Apple cider and spiced rum was also on the menu, brought my Markus. Relaxing in the sun was getting addictive, however we had more skiing to take in for the afternoon. We packed up and headed off, paying a visit to the other cliff, and the bench. 

    The afternoon was fantastic, with warm temperatures and softening snow. We kept getting distracted by more amazing scenery, and ultimately found ourselves skiing more to the west. In our was a major rift, requiring a steep descent, as well as a steep climb if we were we to continue further west. The thought was … lets connect with some previous routes to the west, and we can then loop back through some other new ponds to the north.

    The rest of the day was spent navigating a route back towards the car, however we, again, got tempted by some interesting relief to the west, again altering our route to check it out. Well … when we rounded a corner we came across another site of some “recreational agriculture”. You never know what you might come across in the back-country! More great skiing, and we finally came across our tracks from the morning, although they were barely visible. The, back to the car by 4PM … again.

    Amazing day!  Can it get any better, probably not, in fact with the upcoming weather, good skiing may require some extensive searching. Fingers crossed …

    A link to pictures, virdeo, and a map of the route

  • 17 Mar 2017 7:47 PM | Anonymous member

    I know I’ve said it before already, but ski conditions, weather etc. were fantastic today, best day of the winter so far!

    I suggested to Markus we do a long one-way sky with a car shuffle. We would leave a car on Hewitt Street, and one down on Cowbell Lake, by the Severn River. With no wind in the forecast and bright sunshine we decided it best to start at Cowbell and ski northerly to Hewitt. 

    We had our packs on at 9:30AM. Our start required a long steep wooded climb up from Cowbell. We just carried our skis and walked up until the snow, and terrain became more “ski-friendly” Good solid base with a few cm of soft snow on top … just perfect! Ponds and ridges just went on and on. The open rocky areas had connecting patches of snow and easy to ski on. Ponds were narrow enough that the recent newer snow didn’t get blown off.

    I had to watch my one ski with the broken edge as it was beginning to stick out further, and of course … open towards the front!. Unfortunately, while dropping onto a marsh it got caught on an alder stem and ripped out about 2 inches. I was able to wedge it back in, but knew it would keep protruding out. Later in the day we just stopped, I took off the ski and bent out the edge with the plan to try and cleanly break it off right at the edge of where it appeared still tight to the ski. I was pleased that it didn’t take much coaxing, it snapped off like glass right where I hoped it would. Save it for later repair. Now I could keep on skiing without being pre-occupied with avoiding more "edge collisions”.

    We decided to keep skiing up to and across Kahshe Lake and have a later lunch. The ski up Kahshe would be almost 5 km, most of it poling on skating rink-like ice. Best to get it over with first, rather than having to deal with it after a relaxing lunch.

    Lunch was by a beaverdam along a chain of ponds, nicely sheltere, and in full sun. Temperatures were quite balmy. We had already discarded warm hats, and gloves earlier. Sitting in the warm sun, and with almost no wind, and the sound of running water and melting snow was pure bliss! (and with some hot apple cider with rum courtesy of Markus)

    Our afternoon route was a more familiar one, again following ponds and ridges. We may have picked more ridges than ponds as the icy snow on the way up, and on top was now becoming a soft corn snow. We meandered around somewhat, stopping at a few lookouts for pictures eventually reaching Cornall Lake. From here, up through the ponds to the north, across the pipeline and eventually out onto Hewitt Street … and it was exactly 4PM. 

    What an amazing day! There may still be more before the snow thins out, and the ice gets too unsafe.

    A link to pictures, videos, and a map of the route

  • 12 Mar 2017 9:50 PM | Anonymous member

    Finally, an opportunity to do a ski day with Five Winds. As with recent days, we experienced nice blue skies, but bitterly cold temperatures, accompanied by a strong northwest wind. The club was skiing the east side of their area with groups departing from various points, all finishing at the Nine Mile Marina.

    Our group had eight of us skiing together. We left the bus at the Southwood Road just south of Torrance. The plan was to explore the ponds and ridges between here and the marina. Like yesterday everything was locked up tight. Many of the marshes looked somewhat hazardous though, with the recent flooding now appearing as solid clear ice. Most of the recent snowfall was blown off exposed areas, creating skating rink conditions on many of the lakes and ponds.

    My plan was to eventually cross Nine Mile Lake and follow the pond systems southeasterly to the marina, however by the time we reached the stream out of Island Lake I could see lots of open water. This looked too dangerous, and time consuming to try and navigate around, so a different route would need to be taken. It was already lunch time so we found a sheltered spot to stop and eat, and relax in the bright sunlight.

    The afternoon route had long flat stretches, and with the strong wind at our backs, our pace quickened substantially. This afforded us the opportunity to explore some other ponds along the way and take a route through Otter and Little Otter Lakes. While navigatiing down a steep slope towards a pond northwest of Otter Lake an otter appeared out on the ice infront of us. Before I could get a picture or video it ran/slid quickly down to the far end of the pond and out of sight. Another photo op missed.

    We came apon another group’s tracks on Otter Lake, the first sign of anyone else all day. It appeared this group was skiing in the opposite direction as us, most likely having started out at the marina. We continued skiing towards the marina eventually arriving just before 4:30PM. The last kilometre was a rough one, but we all made it without incident … well almost. Two of us had equipment failures. One of us with a pair of Solomon 69 skis had a foot and a half of the metal edge come out of the ski, while one of my Alpina skis had a cracked metal edge (just like my pair of Rossignal BC 90’s) So much for well made skiis!

    Other than that it was a great day with a great group of explorers.

    A link to pictures, videos, and a map of the route

  • 11 Mar 2017 6:33 AM | Anonymous member

    Markus and Elaine Robbins were keen to ski today despite the frigid temperatures and strong gusty winds. I had originally hoped to go further north and do a longer day, however I was still hobbling around with a back issue. A short ski yesterday confirmed that it didn’t get worse. I assume it was probably caused by the lack of activity over the last number of days … ya sure! 

    We decided to ski a route starting at Hardy Lake, and finishing at the Torrance Barrens. This would allow us to ski most of the day with the wind at our backs. As with yesterday, I was skiing with my new Scarpa T4 boots, on an old pair of downhill skis, and cable bindings. They seemed good after a 2 hour ski yesterday, so I felt it a safe bet to try them again today.

    We shuffled the vehicles and started off south of the highway at Hardy Lake. Snow conditions were great, again a solid base with a few cm of fresh, wind blown snow on top. We skied the ponds and ridges down past the 2 small lakes, dodging the numerous areas of bare rock on the south-facing slopes. My ski equipment was great on the hills, but a bit slow on the flats. 

    We found a sheltered pond with some bare rock for our lunch spot. A light snow was now falling as some of the squalls to the west of us were spitting out some light flurries everywhere. It was not a day for a long relaxing lunch and we were soon packing up. Fortunately the snow fluuries did not intensify and the skies gradually cleared during the afternoon.

    Our afternoon route took us across the Devils Gap Trail and into some rugged terrain to the west. We were now crossing the grain of the topography. Our climbs were on northeast facing slopes, and well snow covered, while our descents were on the opposite side in full sun. This created a challenge to find routes down with skiable snow. I was glad I had my modified downhill skis on today as I hit rocks on numerous occasions. Our route eventually took us onto Pine Lake and the steep climb up into the Torrance Barrens. This very steep, but smooth climb still had snow, but was quite icy in places. This presented a challenge to both Markus and Elaine, whose skis had no metal edges. Fortunately no one took a slide back down to the lake.

    With everyone safely up we continued our route, skiing over more ridges and crossing the two small lakes in the Torrance Barrens arriving at the car in good time.  Another great ski day in the Canadian Shield, although the skiable base is gradually shrinking away. The frigid nights in the forecast will ensure good pond ice for the next number of days.

    A link to some pictures, videos, and a map of the route

  • 06 Mar 2017 7:22 AM | Anonymous member

    Saturday was forecasted to be bright and sunny again. The temperature was minus 24 when I was having breakfast, and there was a moderate wind blowing. Perfect weather for an all day ski. Hmmm maybe not ...

    Sparrow Lake area was where we would ski today in the north area off of Orimat Road. There was ample space to park where the road began. Snow was looking a bit thin, so our route might have some areas where we would have to walk across the open rocks. 

    Ponds were well frozen, and the few cms of new snow kept conditions from being too slick. We looped around the various ridges and ponds, eventually forgetting how bitterly cold it was. The solid conditions made climbing the ridges more attractive than skiing the ponds. Ascending and descending took far less energy than when breaking trail in deep snow. We were making good time, and as a result had to keep adjusting our plan for where to have lunch as it was still too early. We eventually made it to a sheltered spot off the end of a high ridge, overlooking a beaverdam. Bathed in bright sunshine, and out of the wind it actually felt warm … 

    After lunch, heading south, and then east now towards the car we realized conditions were just too good to pass up. No point getting out too early.  While observing fresh coyote, or coywolf tracks a motion way down a pond caught my eye, and sure enough there it was. It stared at us for a minute before bounding off. A few hasty pictures, difficult to see in the bright sunlight fortunately caught it. At this point we decided to follow a few ponds to the east before again turning north. Maybe we would cross paths again with the animal as it had run easterly from us … no such luck.

    The rest of the afternoon was spent skiing north towards the Orimat Road, and following the other ridges and ponds up that way. We finished the day around 3:30 PM and we on the road shortly after. 

    Amazing day!  

    A link to pictures, videos and a map of the route

  • 03 Mar 2017 3:22 PM | Anonymous member

    A surprise, we awoke to more fresh snow this morning just a few cms, but a good addition to the few cms that fell yesterday. The temperature was minus 10, skies were blue, but a good stiff northwest wind was blowing. Graham was heading back to Toronto today and was hoping for a 3 or 4 hour morning to early afternoon ski. Elaine Robbins was free to come out as well. We decided it was best to ski in the Jevins-Cornall Lakes area. We could get a quick start and be back in good time.

    We parked down on Hewitt Street and skied off into the forest. Off by 10AM. Great conditions with the fresh snow. Pond ice was much better today. The only areas we experienced any water was in a few low lying areas in the forests. The wet areas were frozen over, drained somewhat with a few cms of elevated ice. The firm base topped with 4 cm of snow created better conditions than yesterday. Beautiful undulating open ridges and solid ponds that we could glide over with ease. Turning on slopes was a breeze with the solid surfaces. We we around our loop and back to the car by 1:30PM.

    Another great day with amazing snow conditions!

    A link to pictures, videos and a map of the route

  • 02 Mar 2017 9:31 PM | Anonymous member

    After a mild spell with heavy rains I was still optimistic that we could ski today. Around 8:00 PM last night the rain turned to ice pellets and wet snow, and the temperature was now dropping below the freezing mark … fingers crossed. Morning dawned clear and cold, temperatures were around minus 15, and there was fresh snow, maybe 3 cm. Hmmm … I had to check things out right away. A short walk into the forest behind the house to see how the base was. The cold temperatures had done their thing, I could walk on top of the foot or so deep base without breaking through, and there was more fresh snow than during our last thaw/freeze. Things looked good! Regarding the pond ice … well we would have to see …

    Graham was ready to leave Toronto on a moments notice, and after a short conversation was packing up the car. Elaine Robbins and Markus were both free to go as well. An afternoon ski was the plan. Once Graham had arrived, and we had eaten some lunch we set off, picked up Elaine and met Markus up at the Hardy Lake parking lot. The sun was shining brightly, but temperatures hadn’t budged much. There was a strong north wind, but it had eased somewhat from the “gales” earlier in the morning.

    Ski conditions were great, fast, but comfortable. There was enough new snow to cushion the frozen base. Ice on the ponds and marshes was good, but caution was needed when entering the area from the north shores. The ribbon of open water in the sun-exposed areas had frozen over, but not solid enough for a skier, unless you moved fast. I expect this issue to be less problematic, even by tomorrow. Given the speed of the freeze-up, I was surprised at how tight everything actually was.

    The afternoon was spent crossing ponds and marshes, and following rock ridges enjoying the “blissful” conditions. We almost lost track of time, but with the sun getting lower in the sky realized we just couldn’t keep on going. Time to loop back and ski to the car before it got dark.

    Another great afternoon ski, hoping for more of the same tomorrow!

    A link to pictures, videos, and a map of the route

  • 27 Feb 2017 5:21 PM | Anonymous member

    Graham wanted to come up with Stephen and ski somewhere today. we had a plan to ski east of the Muskoka Tourism Centre on Highway 11, meeting there early this morning. When checking the weather and seeing that the temperatures were not very cold overnight I wondered if we would have a sloppy day on the ponds. Being further south could also mean thinner ice conditions. There was some snow falling as well, however as I drove south it appeared we might see the sun.

    As we started off the snow was perfect, solid as a rock, with about a centimetre of fresh snow on top. Ponds were prefect as well with soild ice. The sun came out and except for a few cloudy periods, we skied the entire day with blue skies, and temperatures a few degrees above freezing. Conditions were absolutely perfect! This was the type of day worth all the accumulating snow storms and squalls experienced early this season. We did have to watch where we skied when following some of the streams with the increased water flow, otherwise a great day … and dry feet as well.

    Unfortunately mother nature seems to want to rid us of the snow, as another big rain event is on the horizon. Hopefully this one misses us as well!

    A link to pictures, videos, and a map of the route

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