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.

  • 24 Jan 2017 7:47 PM | Anonymous member

    The temperatures had cooled off somewhat, although not far below the freezing mark. All ponds and lakes were like skating rinks and were fast to travel down (although it was mostly pole action that made one go forwards) It was a good workout for the arms. Once off the ice the snow in the bush was mostly solid as a rock, although the not so cold temperatures had not tightened up the snow deeper down, so occasional breaking through was an issue. The urge to just glide down a slope was supressed by this "breaking-through-risk”.

    Elaine Robbins, Markus and I went back up to the Hardy Lake Area today, and skied a route, again, south of the highway, but this time further east. We crossed Thorne Lake and continued through the few marshes to the east, crossing our tracks from yesterday. I was curious in exploring the crack/gully I could see to the west while driving past on the highway. It looked very interesting, and in fact was quite spectacular. We meandered along a rock plateau on the north side of it, getting glimpses of the deep, narrow gully below. 

    We came across some tracks that Elaine was sure were fisher, and before long came across the remains of a porcupine. We often see fisher, or signs of them when out in the bush around Muskoka. Most small and medium sized animals don’t stand a chance out in the bush if they meet a fisher. They seem more abundant now than in the past, maybe that why all we see are squirrels, who are fast and can get up in the trees in an instant.

    We eventually came close to the highway where we now had to look for a route down into the gully, and across it to the south side where we would then climb up onto another high rock plateau. The climb down was a bit challenging, but once down I could see a narrow passageway along the bottom, beside the small steam. It looked absolutely beautiful, and we couldn’t pass it up. The narrow “ledge” of snow provided a great route between the stream and the cliffs to our right. Eventually, however, the stream had a bend in it, pushing water against the cliff creating a five foot section that was impassible. Hmmm, there was a spot where the snow banks were close enough to maybe straddle the stream and stretch across, and there were adequate trees close by to use for support. No problem we all got across with out too much difficulty or protests :)

    Now we had to find a way up the other side and continue west-southwest until we hit the next group of ponds. Ths snow had finally begun, hopefully giving us adequate coating to make conditions less slick. Once up, we meandered around this plateau, eventually when it came to an end, descending into the next group of ponds. We followed these, eventually arriving at the top end of Pigeon Lake. The snow, was now accumulating, although still just a trace. It did make a huge difference in our progress, we now had “kick” on the ponds and marshes, and the bush wasn’t as trecherous. 

    We crossed the top of Pigeon Lake and turned north, now beginning our return portion of the ski loop. We followed a valley through the forest to the “L” shaped pond skied on yesterday. We soon came across our tracks from yesterday, but could not ski in them as they were solid as a rock … no chance of any glide as the bindings got caught up on the sides of the track. Face-plants were a real risk ... There was plenty of skiable terrain around, so we just avoided our tracks. Soon we were back on the same small lake as yesterday, and from here took the usual route through the various ponds back to the highway and the car.

    Great ski day, and improving conditions with the light snow falling. More snow is in the forecast for the remainder of the week, and if we could eventually see some sun, off-trail conditions will be perfect!

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

  • 23 Jan 2017 10:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For skiers who cancelled to ski this past Sunday, you made a big mistake.  We could not have had a better day.  Warm temperatures, great glide, great grip going up the hills and we did not sink down deeply into the snow. No rain or even drizzle.  We also had a great group of 16 Bruce Trail snowshoers who filled the bus.  There is still lots of snow on our trails and the marshes and ponds were still skiable this past Sunday.

    Judy Finlay, bus organizer

  • 20 Jan 2017 5:54 PM | Anonymous member

    The warm spell continues …

    It was another gloomy day in Muskoka, although no drizzle or mist falling. Markus came by and we did a shorter ski loop from the house into the area around Jevins Lake. 

    The deep snow was softer today, making skiing in the woods somewhat slower. Back to trail breaking again, except without powder snow. Ponds and lakes were still an easy ski, the surfaces mostly solid. Jevins lake had some puddling on top of the ice, but the water was less than an inch deep.

    We did a loop through the marshes and ridges, through the “crack” and while admiring the colored icicles, noticed a possible route out of the crack, up onto the high rocks to the north. A bit of cautious climbing, traversing a few ledges, and we were up. Ok, that was fun. Now back to flat skiing, following the ponds further southward. 

    Eventually we decended into a valley, parallel to Jevins Lake, basically an alder swamp, but a navigable one. Once out on Jevins we followed the lake, and one side marsh back to the highway, and then followed our trail home.

    A good afternoon ski, but the conditions were not motivating enough for a longer trek.

    With the warmer temperatures over the next 2 days, consolidation will continue, before winter returns and new snow starts accumulating in the coming week. Fortunately the rain forecasted for the weekend appears now to be limited to just drizzle.

    A link to some pics, and a route map

  • 19 Jan 2017 7:09 PM | Anonymous member
    Markus was free for an afternoon ski today. I had mentioned it might be a short one (only because I thought the conditions would be too soft and mushy). As it turned out conditions were great! The snow held us up even though the surface was soft, and the ponds had no slush. The weather could have been better however, but we put up with the light drizzle and dull conditions.

    We started off at the Hardy Lake parking lot again, skiing south through the frozen wetlands. I was trying out my new skis, now becoming more paranoid that they might break, even after one ski. Markus had mounted 3 pin bindings on a pair of downhill skis. He had taken a grinder and put in a textured base, somewhat similar to the step pattern that was common on waxless skis before the fish scales took over. Both our skis performed well today. I think I’ll get a second hand pair of downhill skiis and do the same!

    We took a different route today, skiing further west into a small unnamed lake which connects into Neilson Lake. we skied through both, before getting back into the small beaver ponds and marshes that we would ski a loop through, back to the car. Our "short" ski ended up being fairly long (no surprise :) ), finishing up in the twilight. A surprisingly great afternoon ski! 

    Winter returns after the weekend, apparently, so hopefully with the warmer weekend temps, our snow will compress into a great base for the remainder of the winter.

    A link to pics, videos and map of the route
  • 19 Jan 2017 9:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Although we've had lots of rain in Toronto, it was more  freezing rain up north, so instead of losing snow, it has coated the snow.  There has been a few flurries since. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, temps are supposed to stay above freezing, so the hard pack should soften up.  It will be more like spring skiing as the snow becomes granular and you'll be able to control your skis much more easily.  Difference is, we still have a two-foot base while in spring the base is much less.
  • 16 Jan 2017 4:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Another perfect blue sky day and moderate temperatures in our Five Winds area. The snow tested our skiing abilities. It was hard packed with no new snow on top. Our trails were difficult and bushwacking took a lot of concentration and skill. Lakes, ponds and marshes were the best choice with bushwacking between them.

    Everyone arrived back to the bus at Potter's Landing with smiles on their faces.

  • 15 Jan 2017 3:34 PM | Anonymous member

    We accessed the trail from Twelve Mile Bay Rd. Beautiful day but ski conditions less than ideal in the bush--crusty and very little fresh snow on top.  Out on the marshes it was fine.  We just made the circuit through O'Connor Lake and the North Trail.

    Trail is in rough shape with many blowdowns.  Will need a ton of work next fall.

  • 14 Jan 2017 9:10 PM | Anonymous member

    After a minus 25° night (more ice building) another ski adventure was in order. Chris was up visiting for the weekend and ready for some exploration. Unlike yesterday, today was mostly cloudy, although the sun was poking through from time to time. We did experience about an hour of mostly blue skies during our ski before the clouds thickened up again.

    Markus was free to ski again today. We drove to the Hardy Lake parking lot, crossed the highway and skied down the first wetland. Like yesterday, the snow held us up, but today it was even firmer. The 1cm of fresh snow was blown around a bit more and wasn’t so continuous. Skiing was still almost effortless, except for me. My latest new skis having “bit it” already after only one season were replaced with Elaine’s old Karhu metal edge back-country skis ...waxable … except, without wax … (Note: these skis are over 20 years old. I use them mostly in the early season when conditions are too rocky to risk damaging any new equipment) still in one piece …  hmmm

    They worked well yesterday, but I guess whatever residual wax was on them was long gone now. Any forward “kick” today had to come totally from my arms … and to climb anything, herringbone was the only way up. Oh well, a good workout.

    We followed some ridges, crossed numerous ponds, saw that snowmobiles were travelling along the closed trails, and with consequences, atleast in one spot. Chris was zooming ahead of us most of the time, either sprinting alondg a ridge, or skate-skiing down a pond! (would have been great breaking trail a week ago :) )

    We looped around, followed more marshes and ponds, eventually arriving back at the highway at our usual time 4 - 4:30 PM. Great afternoon ski!

    A link to pictures, videos and route map

  • 13 Jan 2017 5:36 PM | Anonymous member

    What a gorgeous day today! Beautiful blue skies and cold temperatures. With the recent thaw behind us, and a centimetre of fresh snow on top of almost two feet of base, conditions were perfect. We were all staying on top of the snow now, making the skiing almost effortless. The ponds and lakes were also solid, with no signs of slush, effortless to glide down.

    We started again from the house, not following our old tracks as they were solid as a rock, much easier to just “surf” on top of the unmarked snow. We crossed the highway and skied parallel to it until we reached a suitable spot to descend down onto Jevins Lake. Once on the lake we were delighted to see that it was solid and an easy ski. We crossed the lake and took a route through a couple of beaver ponds before climbing onto a rock ridge further to the west. We followed this ridge southeastward eventually to another group of ponds. Again effortless skiing, barely making a track. We crossed another pond and climbed another ridge bringing us out to the pipeline.

    Once on the pipeline we followed it to where the creek from Jevins Lake crosses it. There was quite a flow of water preventing us from going any further. We had to take a detour out onto Cornall Lake to get around the mouth of the creek and back onto solid ground. Again, good ice on Cornall. From here we picked up the ridge Markus and I has skied the other day with all the deep powder snow. A faster route today.

    We were soon at the end of this ridge, dropping rapidly to the marsh below. From here we just bushcrashed and followed the ponds back to the highway and then home. Fantasic afternoon ski, so glad to be able to ski the lakes and ponds now.

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

  • 13 Jan 2017 7:58 AM | Anonymous member

    Not a bad ski this afternoon. Temperatures were starting to drop, and about a centimetre of new snow had fallen. Despite the recent thaw, lots of snow remains. Gullies and low lying areas unfortunately and saturated with water.

    While skiing along an open ridge later in the day, the snow was holding me up, an encouraging sign for the next few days when temperatures are expected to be much colder. Maybe we are in for a spell where no trail breaking will be required!

    If it gets cold enough hopefully the wet slop on top of the ice will also freeze solid, allowing us to finally get on the ponds and lakes.

    A link to some pics

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