Friday, November 29, 2013

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Winter has arrived in Muskoka! Okay, maybe it's not officially winter, but Muskoka has snow and winter temperatures so we're calling it a done deal! Since there isn't enough snow yet to do many of our favourite outdoor activities (except downhill skiing!), we thought we'd enlighten you with some interesting snow facts.

Snow did you know:

  • While it's not true that our Inuit neighbours to the north have 100 words for snow, there are a lot of different types of snow out there. Check them out here.
  • There are also different names for snow formations. You can learn about those here.
  • Our local ski hill can make snow at -2.5C (that's why they were able to open last weekend when there was only a skiff of real snow on the ground).
  • Snow appears white because it reflects light
  • If the temperature rises above 0C during a snowstorm, the falling snow will melt mid-air and turn to rain.

While we wait for Mother Nature to catch up with her snowmaking, here are some winter activities to get you thinking about playing in the snow:

Downhill Skiing
Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area is just a short drive from Colonial Bay and they are open now for weekend skiing. (Daily operations start Dec 20.) With a variety of groomed runs suitable for skiers of all abilities, Hidden Valley is a great place to spend a day with family. They also offer ski and snowboard rentals, a terrain park, night skiing and lessons. Lift ticket required.

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing
There are lots of trails in Muskoka that are suitable for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. The closest to Colonial Bay are at Arrowhead Provincial Park and Limberlost Forest Reserve.
Arrowhead Park, located just north of Huntsville, has trails for everyone from beginners to experts. With 29 km of track-set, cross-country ski trails, 12km of skate skiing trails and 6 km of marked snowshoe trails, you’ll be able to spend the whole day exploring. Classic ski, skate skis and snowshoes are all available to rent. A day use fee applies to access the park.
Limberlost Forest Reserve is just 10 km north of Colonial Bay. Access is free to the public and they have 70 km of trails for backwoods skiing or snowshoeing.

The Town of Huntsville offers two venues for skating. The Summit Centre has indoor skating available during scheduled times (a fee applies) plus they offer a Free Family Skating during the holidays during scheduled times
Arrowhead Park will continue the Ice Trail, a 1.5km skating loop through the forest, again in 2014. The park also has an outdoor skating rink overlooking Mayflower Lake. A gazebo at rinkside offers a place to change skates or take a break. The park has two heated warm-up shelters and an open fire when you need to warm up. Skates are available to rent. A day use fee applies to access the park.

If snowmobiling is your thing, check out the local trails here or if you’ve always wanted to try it out, you can find tours and guides here.

Dog Sledding
A variety of local operators offer dog sledding tours in Huntsville or nearby Algonquin Park. Try Snow Forest Adventures or Huntsville Dog Sled or check Google for more.

Relaxing Fireside
At the end of a day spent playing outside, there’s nothing quite like relaxing in front of a crackling fire. Or you could just spend the day that way too! All of our winter accommodations have fireplaces. If you’d like to experience Muskoka in the winter (and we think you should!) you can see our availability here.

Come and play in the snow with us this winter!
The Howell Family

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