The Muskoka Loppet takes place on January 23, at Arrowhead Provincial Park. It’s a Muskoka tradition, hosted by the Arrowhead Nordic Ski Club every year. Fifteen and 30 km classic ski events are planned along with a five km classic race for kids and social skiers. The three and nine km snowshoe races added to the Muskoka Loppet last year were so successful, they’ll be offered again this year. Register online and find more here. Arrowhead’s fully equipped pro shop rents skis, snowshoes and skates. Hot chocolate and snacks are available too.
The Wasaga Beach Loppet will be held January 30 with a mass start beginning at 10:00 am from the Wasaga Nordic Trails Centre. Men and women events in Junior, Senior, Master I, II and III levels are planned. Advance registration is $20. Race day registrations are $25. For more information, contact Wasaga Nordic Trails Centre at 705-429-0943. A Stars Orienteering Winter Adventure Race runs the following weekend (February 6) with solo and two-person teams. Registration for it takes place on event day, beginning one hour before start time. A brief awards ceremony will follow the races. The winning time is expected to be about 1.5 hours. This event promises to be a fun way to learn orienteering and is open to anyone who skis or snowshoes.
Also on January 30, the annual Tay Valley Cross Country Ski Loppet takes place at Murphys Point Provincial Park, southwest of Ottawa. Loppet details can be found at www.tayvalleyskiclub.wordpress.com
The Beaten Path Nordic Ski Club hosts two ski events every year. The Chocolate Cup Challenge is a family-friendly ski race held at Atikokan near Quetico Provincial Park around Valentine’s Day. It runs on February 12 this year. The club’s Cross Quetico Lakes Tour is a highly anticipated event. Mushers, skijorers, and skiers join the club on a unique adventure across the frozen lakes in the park. Tentative tour date is March 19. For more information, see http://atikokancanoe.tripod.com/beatenpath/id3.html
The 34th Sleeping Giant Loppet will be held March 5, 2011. Recreational cross-country skiers and racers head to this loppet every year. Sleeping Giant’s 50 km of trails include magnificent winter views of “the Giant”, a land mass that resembles a sleeping giant. Organizers hope to see over 1,000 skiers this year! If they do, a lucky participant will win $1,000! Five winterized cabins are located in the park for anyone seeking a neat winter getaway. Air Canada, Westjet and Porter Airlines fly to Thunder Bay Airport where car rentals are available for the hour drive to the park.
Twenty parks across Ontario have a total of over 430 km of ski trails. Ontario Parks’ Ski Report will keep you updated on trail conditions. The report includes trail distances and amenities in each park and also links to local weather reports. Several parks that have winter trails also offer roofed accommodations.