Time to hit the trails - John Gaul
The best thing about cross-country skiing in Greater Sudbury is the choice of skiing experiences. Each ski club provides a unique experience for the skier.
Neil and Susan Tarlton head out for a ski at the Walden Cross Country Fitness Club on Jan. 6. From easy to moderately difficult, Walden offers kilometres of groomed trails that are great for both classic or skate skiing. Heidi Ulrichsen Photo
The best thing about cross-country skiing in Greater Sudbury is the choice of skiing experiences.
Each ski club provides a unique experience for the skier. So, to fully appreciate cross-country skiing in Greater Sudbury, all trail systems should be skied.
Plan on car pooling and spending the day at those most distant from you. The comments about each club’s trail system are based on my experience skiing the trails. It will become obvious that I have preferences, but I know that you might form a different opinion once you ski them.
So, what do I think constitutes an excellent cross-country ski club and trail system?
The trails should be scenic, safe, provide different levels of difficulty, be well groomed, cater to both classic and skate skiing and provide adequate snow cover for the longest ski season possible.
There should be an adequate chalet that provides hot drinks, snacks and ski rentals, and there should be a waxing hut on hand. A club should have a Jackrabbit Program for the children and certified instruction for adults.
The trails should be reasonably accessible to major population centres.
It is rare to find clubs and trail systems that meet all these criteria, but some come very close. Your final evaluation will be on how you weight the individual criteria.
I have skied the following trails:
Capreol Cross Country Ski Club
705-858-4289 (trail information);
BioSki Cross Country and Snowshoe Club
705-674-5202 (chalet and trail conditions);
Laurentian Nordic Ski Club
Walden Cross Country Fitness Club
705-692-2321 (chalet and trail conditions);
Onaping Falls Nordics Ski Club
705-855-0145 (trail conditions and messages)
I have not visited the other trails within Greater Sudbury so I have not mentioned them. To discover other trails in Ontario and beyond visit www.canadatrails.ca and click on the Cross Country Skiing icon.
John Gaul is a Greater Sudbury resident who has been a recreational cross-country skier for the past 40 years.
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