With such a mild winter this year, any snowfall calls for last minute cross-country skiing. I tried another new location – Highlands Nordic in Duntroon, ON (South of Collingwood). I’m almost certain this is my last ski trip this winter.
There were lots of people today. Not a surprise considering the awesome Family Day weekend deal – $30 for trail pass & rentals! I started off with a 10km trail. It was snowing until mid-afternoon … at least 10cm of snow. It was tough to stay on the tracks. The trails were not as groomed as I’m used to since they were constantly covered by new snow. However, the nice powdery snow created better traction on hills. I actually enjoyed downhills – no falling required! The scenery was breathtaking as usual. I was taking it easy today since I don’t want to tear my adductor muscles again & endure at least 1 week of recovery.
After lunch, I set out for a 15.5km route. All was perfect (except my slow pace) until I reached a loop near the end. The sign directed me to a downhill away from a well-groomed trail. Feeling a bit adventurous, I trusted the sign & down I went. When I say un-groomed trail, I mean the snow was above my boots with no track-set. I kept sinking and it was near impossible to glide my skis. The trail never improved & uphills were brutal. My skis were constantly stuck under the snow. Where were my snowshoes??!! I even considered taking my skis off & just walk! After at least 20min, I was feeling nervous. Maybe I read the sign wrong & turned the wrong way? I reluctantly began retracing my steps. Thankfully, 2 skiers headed my way. Was I happy to see them!!! They reassured me that it may not be enjoyable but I was on the right track. Huge sigh of relief when trail signs FINALLY appeared & groomed trails returned. I returned to the lodge by 4:10pm. I could’ve done an easy 2.5km trail before the park closes but still feeling a bit traumatized, I decided to return my rentals and sip on some hot chocolate!
Highlands Nordic is, nonetheless, perfect for a newbie like me. I went on the 2 most advanced trails here but they were definitely not as intense as other places I’ve visited. There IS a huge uphill at the beginning of all trails except the easiest one! You’ve been forewarned!!
With all said & done, I like cross-country skiing solely for cross training. It’s definitely not something I enjoy doing every week. I find myself going nowhere at times – just dragging my legs. I get extremely frustrated, especially when everyone of all ages passes me. I’m miles away from mastering the basic Nordic techniques.