This winter in Southern Ontario has seen above average snowfall, and if weather reports are correct, we’re bound to see even more. But even if Old Man Winter doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, don’t let that keep you indoors until spring. Bundle up and get out into that fresh air. Why not enjoy the many downhill slopes and cross country trails that Central Counties has to offer?
I grew up cross country skiing. I was about six years old when I was introduced to this wonderful Nordic tradition by my parents, who skid so often they owned all their own equipment. Some of my fondest memories of childhood include gliding through wooded trails on a blanket of fresh-packed snow, with nothing but the sounds of nature and swishing skis for company.
Naturally I’ve been eager to get my son onto a pair of skis since about the time that he could walk. This year we celebrated his sixth birthday, and in keeping with the family tradition I’ve brought him out to give it his very first try.
As a resident of Durham Region there are a number of ski hills right in my own backyard. We went to Dagmar Ski Resort, which is approximately a ten minute drive north of the town of Whitby. It’s far enough north to offer the advantage of the fresh, country air, but not so far north that you couldn’t make a day trip out of it from, say, Toronto’s city centre.
With both alpine and Nordic runs, Dagmar offers visitors a range of options for all levels of skiers—from the die-hard veteran to the youthful beginner. And like any good ski resort, if you don’t own your own equipment (like my parents did), you can rent a full package: skis, boots and poles. Snowboarding runs and equipment are also available.
My son is about as beginner as you can get. Having never strapped on a ski in his life, I admit that I worried about how he’d handle the hills. For that reason, I thought cross country would be best for his first time out.
I was right.
What’s great about Dagmar’s cross country trails is that they’re wide. So even if you’re an inexperienced skier who moves slow and needs the pre-formed parallel tracks, other, faster-moving skiers can easily pass if they desire. Also, Dagmar’s trails are clearly marked with three levels of difficulty.
As you can imagine, we stuck to the beginner trails. They were perfect for the first-time skier. There were some inclines and slopes, but nothing the inexperienced adventurer can’t manage. If you can’t get up an incline you can always take the skis off and walk up. And the downward slopes aren’t so steep that they’re intimidating.
We went out and completed two, full beginner level trails, and my son absolutely loved it. He did far better than I thought he would. But that’s the beauty of cross country skiing. It’s not a difficult sport to pick up. We enjoyed Dagmar’s scenic runs, the brisk exercise and, most importantly, each other’s company.
If you’re wondering what you can do with your kids, or your friends and family, that will get you up off the couch and enjoying the outdoors in winter like you did when you were little, give nordic skiing at Dagmar Ski Resort a try.