Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing for Beginners at Scenic Caves Nature Adventures

Suspension Bridge at Scenic Caves

Have you ever thought to yourself: “I’ve always wanted to introduce my family to outdoor winter activities, but I don’t know where to begin. We don’t want to feel  embarrassed or get hurt. We’re not very athletic and downhill skiing doesn't appeal to us. What else is there to do?”

Both x-skiing and snowshoeing are low impact and a great way to stay fit while enjoying nature. They’re easy sports to learn and fun for all ages.

Scenic Caves Nordic Centre can help! It offers a safe environment for novices, rental equipment/expertise, well maintained trails and a warm chalet. 

Here are some beginner tips.

Beginner Style and Technique

There are two styles of cross-country skiing:  classic and skate. The basic difference is that classic technique is a basic shuffle with skis parallel, while skate technique is more like ice skating where you push off from side to side. It’s recommended you start with traditional classic skiing.  

Ski lessons are an excellent suggestion for beginners. Group lessons demonstrate basics such as: how to safely fall and get up, how to ski on flats, up hills (herringbone) and down hills (snowplough).

Snowshoeing is as easy as walking – nothing tricky about it. The stance is a bit wider than normal. It’s best not to back up or do sharp turns. 

Beginner Equipment

Before you really get into either sport, it’s recommended you rent equipment. Scenic Caves rents a wide variety of the newest technology in x-ski and snowshoe equipment for ages 4 and older. The staff will ensure you’re properly fitted and show you how to snap in/strap on.

Cross-country ski rentals include: boots, skis and poles. 

Snowshoe rentals include: snowshoes. Wear your own boots which cover your ankles (and higher!). Lightweight, flexible hiking boots are okay. Running shoes are not preferred.

Beginner Trails

The nordic x-ski trails are perfect for newbie skiers. Groomed daily for both classic and skate ski styles, they’re well marked and rated by level of difficulty. The green trails are excellent for beginners: Warm up, Lemon Squeezy and Easy Peesy.

The snowshoe trails are dedicated paths - please keep off the ski trails. The easiest is the green Nature Trail. Moderate trails include the yellow Suspension Bridge trail (crosses a 420 ft. footbridge with panoramic views) and blue Lookout trail (top of Escarpment).

Beginner Distance

You are the best judge of your stamina. Go at your own pace and don’t get overtired. When you stop for rest breaks, step to the side of the shared trails so others can get around you. Relax, focus on being balanced and feel the rhythm. 

What to Wear and Bring

Don’t overdress. You want to be comfortably warm, but very mobile. Dress according to the weather conditions, as if you were going for a jog or power walk. Always dress in layers. Synthetics and wool blends are best because they allow moisture to evaporate. Cotton absorbs and holds moisture, so it’s not a good option. Hat and gloves/mittens are a must.

Pack basics for outdoor comfort, such as: sunglasses, tissues, lip balm. Pack water and snacks to replenish your energy in a waist pack/small daypack. Don’t forget a camera. 

Beginner Destination

Scenic Caves Nordic Centre is located outside Collingwood, approximately 2 hours from most of central Ontario. Open daily (including holidays) from 9am-5pm with the last ticket sold at 3pm. It’s an easy daytrip or weekend getaway.

Are you now ready for some enjoyable ‘outdoor winter adventures’?

Find out more at:

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