Defying the Odds – Extreme Winter Sports

If you’re someone who likes their leisure activities a little more extreme, we’ve got a few suggestions!

Winter is here. Even though the animals are hibernating during these chilly months, that doesn’t mean you have to. Bundle up and get out there for some healthy, wholesome winter activity. This season, people all over York Durham Headwaters will be venturing into the great outdoors for favourites like tobogganing, trail hiking, snowman making and skating. But if you’re someone who likes their leisure activities a little more extreme, we’ve got a few suggestions for how you can defy the snowy odds and get your adrenaline pumping in YDH this winter.

Brimacombe Snowboarder

Fat Biking

You may think spring, summer and fall are the seasons for cycling, but winter takes cycling to the extreme when you hit the trails on a fat bike. The oversized tires on this off-road bicycle are specifically designed for low ground pressure, which allows you to ride, or “float” on soft, unstable terrain… hello snow! You love the feel of zipping through the woods on your trail rides in the warmer months, now experience the exhilaration of that speed when those same trails are gloriously white and frosty!

Fat Biking

If this sounds like the extreme winter sport for you, check out these trails which allow fat biking—some on groomed trails and some ungroomed for a little extra challenge if you’re a fat bike ace. Due to COVID-19, some of these trails may be closed for this activity, so please make sure to check the website of the trail you intend to visit before heading out.

Interested in fat biking but don’t have the gear? Check out this article from on where to look for fat bike rentals (restrictions may apply due to COVID-19):

Fat Bike

Horseback Riding

Winter never kept ranchers from their trusty steeds in the days of yore, so why should it keep you from yours now? Ranching has always been a job for 365 days a year—rain, shine or… you guessed it: snow. Historically, winter was the time when fence stays needed to be cut in preparation for repair in the spring. It was the time when cows needed to be fed every day because there was no pasture grazing with all that snow. It was the time when all that broken farm equipment needed to be fixed. Much has changed, but even more remains the same, and with an endless list of chores for the modern rancher, they to be on horseback even when the world is blanketed in white.

Pathways Horseback Riding
Pathways Riding Stable
Pathways Horse

Tap into your inner rancher this winter with a snowy trail ride on horseback. At Pathways on Pleasure Valley in Uxbridge, you can experience a beautiful winter trail ride all year round. This destination provides a truly unique trail experience just minutes from downtown Toronto. Are you new to horseback riding? Pathways on Pleasure Valley offers riding lessons to prepare you for your ultimate winter ride—just you and your trusty steed.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t highlight all our amazing YDH ski and snowboarding facilities. With our rural settings so close to downtown Toronto, we are a ski and snowboard mecca, to which people from all over Ontario flock for a taste of thrills and chills on the hills. Hundreds of years ago, cross-country skiing was how Nordic people got around those vast stretches of wilderness everyday in the deep of winter. The more thrilling sport of Alpine skiing was introduced to the world in the 1850s, and due to its increasing popularity with younger and more daring generations, snowboarding debuted at the Olympics in 1998. Today, it is a typical day on the slopes if you see more than one skier or snowboarder testing out their tricks and “getting air” on the terrain park.

Brimacombe Ski
Brimacombe Ski Resort Orono

There is nothing like cutting that fresh powder to get your adrenaline kicking into high gear. So, if you’re into death-defying stunts (figuratively, of course; please enjoy safely) and black diamond runs, we’ve got a resort for you in York Durham Headwaters:

Great news if you’re new to skiing and snowboarding: many of these locations offer renowned ski schools and ski instruction—in fact, Dagmar was voted the best ski school by readers of Toronto4Kids, and Brimacombe hosted the Alpine and Nordic racing events for the 2019 ParaSport Games. You and your adventure on the slopes are in good hands at one of our YDH ski and snowboard resorts!

Extreme for the Kiddies at Treetop Trekking

Even though the aerial views and obstacles amongst the treetops are closed for the season, Treewalk Village at Treetop Trekking, Bruce’s Mill Stouffville, remains open. Your kids can get their fix of age-appropriate extreme winter activity with this year-round facility. “The whole village of tree houses is connected by nets and ramps and slides,” explains Mike Stiell, Director of Marketing. “Kids and their families can come and explore, and they can let their imaginations lead the way when our Treewalk Village transforms into a Winter Wonderland!”

Treetop Trekking Kids
Treetop Trekking Slide
Treetop Trekking

Story by Katherine Ryalen

After a long day outdoors, there’s nothing quite like a warm beverage and some comfort food. Check out some great spots to warm up below!

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