Saturday, March 10, 2012

Review: XC Skiing - Wasaga Beach Provincial Park

Ski Trails at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park
Location: Wasaga Beach, ON (45 mins NW of Barrie)
Website: Ontario Parks, Friends of Wasaga Beach
Map: Google
Camping Facilities: Car Camping
Grade: B+ (XC Skiing)
Thoughts: Just a short drive away from many population centres in Southern Ontario is the popular summer beach community of Wasaga Beach.  Reportedly a madhouse in the summer of people enjoying the white sand beach, the winter presents a different face.  The town becomes typical of a Southern Ontario waterfront community; sleepy, peaceful and with a generally slow pace of life.   The scene at the local provincial park was no different, with the primary activity being Nordic skiing (both track-set and skate).   It's an excellent beginner's park for XC skiing, with relatively inexpensive ski rentals, reasonably priced trail passes and a number of modest trails.

Snow at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park
While many of the trails we skied on were marked moderately difficult, we (as relatively novice skiers) didn't have any trouble.  There are a few ups and downs, enough to keep it exciting, but nothing too difficult that resulted in any severe wipe-outs.  The beginner trails were flat, and not very exciting (though the weather made up for it as there was plenty of fresh snow and temperatures hovered around freezing).  In addition, it wasn't even very busy, having not seen more than two other parties during our 3 hour stay in the park.  One word of advice is that you might want to consider coming in the afternoon to take advantage of the half day rates, as there probably isn't enough here to justify spending more time than that (and you'll probably be pretty tired if you're a beginner like we were).

This place was a great alternative to Hardwood Hills (which is not far away, but much more crowded).  Plus you can support the provincial park system, which is always a good thing.  My only caution is that it might not have much to offer more advanced skiiers.

Ski Trails at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park

Snow at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park 

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