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Northern Trails Ski Club of Manitouwadge – A cross country skiing adventure (7 photos)

The clubhouse is now open for the 2022 season on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 4 p.m.

It’s a beautiful day. The cloudless sky is a spectacular deep blue. The gently fallen snow sparkles like tiny diamonds. The sun warms your face and comforts your soul, despite the icy temperatures of Northwestern Ontario. A perfectly lovely afternoon to go cross country skiing.

Your day of serenity and adventure should be smooth sailing, thanks to the folks at the Northern Trails Ski Club of Manitouwadge. Dave Arola and his dedicated crew of volunteers groom the trails after significant snowfalls, using snowmobiles and tow-behind grooming equipment. Another team operates the clubhouse, which is located inside the Manitouwadge recreation centre.

The clubhouse is now open for the 2022 season on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 4 p.m. There are no restrictions to enter the rec centre to purchase trail passes and rent any equipment you may need, including boots, skis and snowshoes, but be sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. When there are no restrictions in place, the clubhouse is a cozy place to rest and warm up by the fireplace and chat with friends after an invigorating workout on the trails.

Once you get outside, you’ll find 15 kilometers of trails in two different locations, offering three levels of difficulty. The open terrain of the Clubhouse trails, located at the golf course, are an easygoing 10 kilometers long. The Kiwissa trails, which wind their way around the downhill ski area, are more challenging, but are only five kilometers long, and the snow-covered trees and natural formations offer shelter from the elements.

“It’s so beautiful out along the trails. I love it!” says Cindy Fairbrother, president of the club. “Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are low impact, so it’s an easy, enjoyable way to get some exercise.”

“I snowshoe every day,” states Helen Goodwin, another board member. Asked if anyone ever gets lost, Helen replied, “Thanks to Louie Brislow, who marks the trails with tape - yellow going in and blue coming out - I always eventually find my way back!” The ungroomed snowshoeing trailhead is located near the corner of Lynx and Manitou Road, just past the OPP station.

The Northern Trails Ski Club, a non-profit organization, has been in operation since 2003. Membership has been as high as 90 individuals and families, but, due to COVID, this year it’s a little low. Because the members can ski or snowshoe at any time during the week without checking in, it’s hard to tell how many people are on the trails at any given time. The cost for membership in the club is reasonable, and the proceeds go to pay for things like rent, equipment, and insurance for the skiers and equipment, and other necessary expenses.

Looking for a volunteer opportunity? You’d be welcomed with open arms. They’re on the lookout for clubhouse attendants, trail groomers and folks who have fundraising ideas and skills, so if you’ve got some time on your hands, and want to be part of Manitouwadge’s vibrant outdoor recreation scene, or if you want more information about the club, contact Cindy Fairbrother at (807) 378-0030 or email her at Or better yet, bundle up, wax up the skis and head on down to the clubhouse at the Rec Centre this weekend and enjoy the day.

Happy trails.

Marya Kalen

About the Author: Marya Kalen

Marya is a self-described wordsmith: a reporter, a writer of novels and short stories, and an artist, dabbling in many mediums.
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