As the snow drifts edge higher around the windows, it’s tempting to stay inside in front of the fire, but winter lethargy isn’t a good thing. Better to get out there and get your heart pumping, and cross country skiing is one of the best aerobic exercises around.
This year, the winter forecast promises plenty of snow in the GTA to get out there and play!
The best thing about cross country skiing is its spontaneity factor – you don’t need to plan for it, you just do it. Stick the skis in the car, along with the dog, and find a conservation area – in Streetsville and Oakville near two of Dunpar’s most popular projects, there are several choice areas to ski – strap on the skis and away you go. A quick drive will get you to the ski trails in Collingwood, Kortright Centre, High Park and the Toronto Islands. Closer to home, there’s Streetsville Memorial Park, the Rattray Marsh conservation area, and the Riverwood Conservancy on the shores of Lake Ontario near Oakville. There are trails beside the Credit River, which meanders on the edge of Streetsville.
Cross country skiing is also an inexpensive sport – you can get a package (skis, poles, boots) for about $200 and it’s easy to learn – even if you fall you don’t have far to go.
Layers is the key, starting with long underwear, which you can get in ultra-light wool, in a full body suit or two pieces. Jeans are great but don’t keep you warm like long johns and some of the winter-designated snow pants, also lightweight. With these fabrics you don’t feel like the Michelin Man, and they’re available in most sporting goods stores.
Make sure your parka at least covers your bum because if your tush is cold you’ll be cold. Wear a toque, and if it’s really cold go for a full balaclava to cover your face, which also protects your delicate facial skin.
Fingertips can get really cold, so best to wear mitts and keep the heat in. You can get mitt liners. Consider liners or insoles for your boots, some are designed to keep moisture and cold out.
If you’re going to be out for a few hours, make sure to pack water for yourself or a thermos of hot chocolate, some snacks or a hearty sandwich in a fanny or back pack. Carry your cell and ID with you, in case of emergency, although most of the city’s trails will have people using them at any time of day.
Storing your skis
Another challenge with winter is where to store your gear. What’s great about a Dunpar townhome is being able walk through from the garage right into your foyer. While the hall closet won’t stow all your skis and skates and so on, there’s good space to keep your coats, mitts, hats and scarves. But the garage is a goldmine – it’s the perfect place to install built-in storage, or freestanding units, like IKEA has. Built-ins are also a great investment for storing seasonal gear – winter skis, summer furniture. You can hang your skis and poles on the wall, and your coat and boots in the foyer.