Winter sports in April?

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Apr 01, 2014 - 11:18 AM |
Charlotte Palmer, 3, skis at the Walden Cross-Country Fitness Club March 31. The club said it plans to be open well into April. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

Charlotte Palmer, 3, skis at the Walden Cross-Country Fitness Club March 31. The club said it plans to be open well into April. Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

Keep your skis out, local clubs say

Lise Leblanc's personal goal for this spring is to get together a group of people to go cross-country skiing May 1.

The president of the Onaping Falls Nordics Ski Club — which has trails in both Windy Lake Provincial Park and in the community of Onaping — said it's not just a pipe dream, either.

With the cold, snowy winter Sudbury had this year, there's still quite a bit of the white stuff on the ground.

“On our trails, large sections are really sheltered with big trees,” she said. “It could last. If we don't get too much rain, we could be skiing for awhile.”

Leblanc said there were people who skied April 23 last year, and it wasn't the first time in the club's history that's happened.

She said the club has seen a lot of new faces this winter. Leblanc said she thinks there was so much snow, people got tired of staying inside, and decided to get out of the house and go skiing.

The Onaping Falls Nordics Ski Club isn't the only group in town still enjoying winter sports this April.

Officials with both the Laurentian Nordic Ski Club and the Walden Cross-Country Fitness Club said they're planning to stay open as long as the snow lasts — possibly until late in the month.

The BioSki Cross-Country Ski and Fitness Club said it groomed its trails March 29, but it was possibly for the last time this season. The Capreol Cross-Country Ski Club, however, is now closed.

In terms of downhill skiing, all three city-run hills — Adanac, Lively and Capreol — will be staffed until April 6.

Some of the larger downhill ski facilities in the northeast are also open this month — weather dependent, of course.

Laurentian Ski Hill in North Bay said it's planning to be open until mid-April, and Searchmont Resort in Sault Ste. Marie plans to be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until April 20.

Snowmobilers are also rejoicing, as the Sudbury Trail Plan Association's trails are still open.

President Chuck Breathat said they could stay that way until mid-April, although he warns sledders to be cautious, as snow and ice conditions can deteriorate quickly this time of year.

You can put your skates away, though. The city officially closed both the Ramsey Lake Skate Path and the Queen's Athletic Field skating oval.

If you want to go ice fishing this month, you'll have to do it without an ice hut, as the Ministry of Natural Resources' deadline to remove ice huts from local lakes was March 31.

Margaret Palmer and daughter Charlotte, 3, were among those out enjoying a late ski at Walden's trails March 31.

She said this year has been great for teaching Charlotte and her older daughter, five-year-old Willa, to ski.

Palmer, who grew up in Sudbury, said she feels like 2014's cold weather is the way things should be.

“The other winters have always felt a little off,” she said.

City of Greater Sudbury manager of recreation Cindy Dent said this has been the best year the city has had in a long time for its winter recreational facilities.

“It was a pleasure to operate them on a consistent basis without having to open and close,” she said. “It's truly been a banner year for outdoor activity in Sudbury.”

Echoing Dent's comments, Laurentian Nordic Ski Club vice-president Chris Gore said this has been a long, “wonderful” ski season that's going to be hard to duplicate.

“So maybe polar vortexes are a good thing,” he jokes.
Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer


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