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.

  • 26 Feb 2017 4:57 PM | Anonymous member

    Good ski conditions today. Fortunately we didn't get the 10-15cm of snow they said was possible. This allowed the snow to freeze up, providing a solid base that one could almost walk on. Add the 1 cm of fresh snow we did receive, and ski conditions were almost perfect. The slush and water on top of the ponds and marshes did freeze, but only about a cm or 2 thick. Although it held me, I could hear it crackling as I skied along. It should freeze more tonight creating even better conditions for tomorrow. 

    I skied a short loop east of Jevins Lake, encompassing ponds, forest and open ridges, and I got back with dry feet.

    A link to some pictures

    https://www.flickr.com/gp/76927845@N07/ZeZH15

  • 26 Feb 2017 7:56 AM | Anonymous member

    We were lucky here in Gravenhurst to have missed the brunt of the heavy rain. There was a fine mist falling amongst the heavy fog for the first part of the morning. By lunch the weather had started to dry up. I wondered if it would be worth trying a ski. I called Markus to get his take on the conditions and he was game to try, so after lunch we were off with our skis and packs. 

    We started across the highway at the end of Hewett Street and ventured off into the woods. I fully expected to ski for ten minutes and decide it was too mushy. Well, it was actually quite good. The snow in the bush kept us afloat, and when we arrived at the first pond I gingerly stepped out onto the ice, and as long as we stayed on the lighter coloured ice we stayed on top. The darker spots were soft and we would break through the top layer onto the “real” ice below. The water and slush was maybe 4 inches deep.

    The route continued as such, and we eventually made it down to the far east side of Cornall Lake. We had crossed two more ponds, experiencing somewhat better conditions, staying on top of the slush layer. Cornall was fine as well, just a few mushy spots. 

    We skied further south from Cornall, staying on the ridges further east. We got to that point where we knew a turnabout was iminent if we were to get home in good time. So much for a short ski test of the snow conditions! We turned and skied the ridges to the north and east of Cornall, eventually descending onto the ponds skied earlier. We were feeling lazy with the copious amounts of up and down terrain. Then, a slight detour to the east and we were back to where we had parked.

    A surprising good afternoon ski!

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

    https://www.flickr.com/gp/76927845@N07/0qS5Q8

  • 23 Feb 2017 12:08 PM | Anonymous member

    The mild temperatures continue …. More consolidation has occured with our snow base, but plenty remains. In most places we are still skiiing on 2-3 feet of solid snow. Pond ice is great, with a narrow film of water or crusty snow on the ice surface.

    Today we had five of us ready to bushcrash and pond hop. We drove out to the Torrance Barrens, this time finding the small parking are empty. Our route began on the west side of Southwood Road where we followed an open rock ridge to where it dropped down into a long narrow pond. It looked sloppy from a distance, however when we slid onto the surface it was solid. Just a thin film of water to “surf” through. The next pond surface was different, with a bit more snow still on top of the ice, but still solid as a rock.

    Rounding a corner we approached a beaverdam and looked for a way to navigate the steep hill to our right. Climbing this hill brought us to the large spruce bog which covers a vast area between this ridge and the rail line to the west. Skiing amongst the scattered spruce trees in moderate fog was almost enchanting, like we were in a different world. Endless spruce trees vanishing into the foggy distance in all directions.

    As we approached the west side of this bog the railway tracks appeared. Crossing the tracks brought us into a group of ponds running parallel to Nine Mile Lake. The challenge now was to try and ski through as mny of the ponds as possible, without retracing any part of the route. (we missed one main pond) We approached a nice lunch spot overlooking an active beaverdam, however it was still too early. On we continued to the end of the navagable waterway where we now crossed into the next drainage following the ponds towards the northwest. We continued on to a large wetland further upstream where we picked a lunch spot overlooking another large beaverdam.

    It didn’t look like the sun would be successful in making an appearance as fresh ‘waves’ of fog kept descending apon us. The afternoon remained foggy and cool. After lunch we followed the various connecting ponds eventually coming out onto Bastedo Lake. Turning more easterly we continued over another wetland, crossed the tracks and eventually looped back to the Southwood Road and our vehicles.

    Another great day enjoying the winter season. The large amounts of rain will further compact the snow, but hopefully the conditions will remain skiable.

    A link to pics, videos, and a route map


    https://www.flickr.com/gp/76927845@N07/P739ej

  • 19 Feb 2017 6:15 PM | Anonymous member

    Conditions couldn’t get much better than this! Waist deep snow, but solid enough to stay on top, and sunny warm conditions. No hat or gloves needed today, in fact if not for keeping my camera from bouncing around my coat could have been packed away as well. 

    We were off skiing by 12:30, gliding effortlessly across the solid 3 foot base. A shallow layer of soft snow on top kept conditions from being too slick. I was surprised to find the pond surfaces solid as well. I would have expected a slush layer on top of the ice, with the warm temperatures, and recent new snow. Conditions might have been a bit slow, however this made climbing and descending the ridges much easier.

    The afternoon was spent crossing more ridges, then following small ponds linked together eventually dropping down into the main gully. This gully stretches from the golf course out to highway 11 far to the southeast and can be a challenge to cross at times. Crossing the stream was fine today as it was still frozen solid. Next was a climb back out of this valley, and then repeating the up and down sequence for a few more ridges.

    Before long we could see the highway and had one final negotiation over the large snowbank down to the parking lot and car. Amazing ski day!

    A link to pictures, video and map of the route

    https://www.flickr.com/gp/76927845@N07/6R3zt0

  • 06 Feb 2017 10:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Feb. 2 - Marina North/Otters Slide/Windy Ridge/Ten Minute Ridge/Turtle Lake/Cross Link

    Feb. 5 - Doberman Link/Vautier/Alt Vautier/Monks Path?/Spartan Link?/Partial Duggans Loop

    Still hit or miss on slush on the trail system

  • 02 Feb 2017 5:15 PM | Anonymous member

    Not much sun today! Most of the day saw heavy snow and strong gusty winds. Frequently we lost sight of neigbors houses in the blizzard-like conditions. The potential group of four skiers we had on for today's ski dwindled down to just Graham and I. We actually procrastinated about slapping on the boards for some time, but eventally the urge to ski overpowered us and we suited up.


    No big plans, just a local ski within the Hahne Trail. Most of the connecting loops were within the woods so the bitterly cold winds didn't affect us much. The sun poked out a number of times, but the snow kept falling. I was skiing in an old pair of leather boots Graham had brought up as extras, very comfortable, nice soft leather and well made but with the low cut, little support. They worked well, however ... and they were still in one piece at the end of our ski!


    So far today we have accumulated 15 cm of fresh snow, with possibly 30cm more forecasted in the next 24 hours, and even more during the following days ... Global warming is here!

    A link to some pictures

    https://www.flickr.com/gp/76927845@N07/V3PF32

  • 01 Feb 2017 8:32 PM | Anonymous member

    Graham arrived from Toronto, and Markus was ready to join us for an afternoon ski.

    We started out from the house and skied down onto Gull Lake. The plan was to ski the area NE of Gull, and east of the highway. Elaine Robbins and I had skied there last week.

    The boots I had tried on yesterday felt more uncomfortabe today and I wondered if I would be able to put up with it for too long. One boot also seemed loose in the binding as well. The morning snow squalls has moved out and bright sunshine took over. It was nice, however with the temperature not as cold as yesterday, and clumping became an issue. By the time we were climbing up to the plateau east of the pipeline, however, clouds rolled in and the clumping situation eventually subsided.

    We meandered around the rock ridges and ponds, watching out for those new no tresspassing signs, eventually coming across them. We adjusted our route turning more to the southeast. The loose boot was becoming more of a bother, and when I took a closer look, trying to tighten the binding further I saw, to my horror an opening between the boot and the sole! Not another one! This was not even 2 half days yet and the boot is “toast”. I must be jinxed!

    I managed to keep on skiing, even through the rugged terrain, and with the boot now flopping around. Maybe I should just strap my hiking boots to the skiis! I think carbon-fibre boots and skis might be what I need!

    As we descended down to the lower ponds an intense snow squall hit. Creating an erie whiteout, only to stop 15 minutes later and be replaces by bright sunshine! Winter weather in Muskoka … luv it!

  • 29 Jan 2017 8:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Mike and I went to McCrae South for a couple of hours.  As per usual, the trail was not skiable as it had been packed down with snowshoers and hikers, so we bushwhacked in via Stuart Lake, skied in the bush passed Crow's Cliff and then eventually down to McCrae Lake which was frozen.  There are others areas, especially around the falls that will not be frozen, but we did not go that way.   We then went bushcrashed out through Jewel Pond and McDonald Lake.  We entered some slush on Jewel but the other lakes were fine -- I think it was really a hit or miss on where you were going, and also paying attention to any streams or weak spots as there were some areas open.  Beside the one slush area, the only other times we iced up was crossing some streams/creeks that we weren't able to cross without getting skis wet.  Travelling through the bush was real nice with all the fresh snow on top of the old base, probably breaking down about 15-20 cm., so it was pretty easy going.

  • 28 Jan 2017 9:06 PM | Anonymous member

    Great ski today east of Gull Lake, skied form the house

    A link to pictures and a route map

    https://www.flickr.com/gp/76927845@N07/Rky388


  • 27 Jan 2017 8:02 PM | Anonymous member

    Another day to ski. Ther weather forecasters had been calling for copious amounts of snow in Muskoka due to snow squalls, but … not much yet. A cm or so was all we got. I was glad actually, too much snow would mean more trail breaking, and maybe a re-occurrence of slush formation on the lakes and ponds. 


    We met at the Hardy Lake parking lot and we headed off across the highway again. The base was solid, no breaking through anywhere. The 1-2 cm of fresh snow on the surface took away any icy areas, and made conditions absolutely perfect, well, almost, except for periodic “stickyness”. Temperatures were still too mild, just around the freezing mark. It felt colder due to the strong west winds. Fortunately the winds eventually “dried out” the fresh snow and conditions improved.

    We followed the usual groups of ponds, trying to take slightly different route between them. We looped around into the top of Pigeon Lake and began the return route, through to the “L” shaped pond, however today we climbed the open ridge we saw the other day when skiing up the valley. Nice route. 

    We continued through the other ponds and lake, negotiating a steep drop down into the pond with the heronry. Skiing north from it, we took a route more easterly, and came across another group of erratics. I have crossed this area so many times, but had never seen this cluster of rock chunks. A few pics and we continued on, back to the highway.

    Good ski!

    Now will we see more snow? I hope those days with clear blue skies return soon! Conditions are close to perfect for off-trail skiing, considering our average of 4km per hour, and at no time were we pushing it.

    A link to some pictures and a map of the route

    https://www.flickr.com/gp/76927845@N07/084p9M

© 2020 Five Winds Backcountry Ski Club

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software