Enjoy winter at Summerstown Trails
Want to cross-country ski and snowshoe but don’t have the equipment? No need to stress. The Friends of the Summerstown Trails (FOTST) offers ski and snowshoe rentals at the trailhead on weekends throughout winter. E-mail summerstown[email protected] for details. Rental operations will be closed when the trail conditions are very poor or in cases of inclement weather (extreme cold, freezing rain etc.).
Rentals are for a period of four hours, and equipment is to be used at the Summerstown Trails.
A 25 per cent discount applies to families of four or more people. Special rates can be obtained for large groups and community organizations.
Schools, teachers, school staff, or other volunteers interested in participating in the schools program should contact Liam Carson, school liaison officer, at liamccar[email protected]mail.com or 613-330-5916.
FOTST runs a program to introduce children from local schools to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, in the Summerstown Forest.
The program is geared primarily to Grades 4, 5, and 6; although outings are also organized for younger and older students.
The group can accommodate approximately 50 snowshoers at the same time as well as approximately 40 skiers in either morning or afternoon sessions throughout the season.
Begun four years ago, the FOTST schools program has had over 4,000 visits to the trails and a lot of happy and enthusiastic youngsters.
Many of the participants in this program seldom have had the chance to participate in any outdoor wintertime recreational pursuits. Having introduced them to the delights of snowshoeing and skiing, they are encouraged to come out to the trails at other times with their families. To facilitate that, FOTST gives them a free coupon allowing them one free ski or snowshoe rental on weekends.
At each outing, FOTST staff greet the children at the bus and help them into their equipment. The staff, volunteers, and teachers, lead the children on the marked trails through the predominantly hardwood forest.
The distance covered varies with the time available and the age and capabilities of the group of children. Upon their return to the trailhead, students are able to exchange stories of their exploits while enjoying some fruit or cups of hot chocolate, before returning to their bus. Even a bus driver has been known to strap on the snowshoes on occasion.
A snowshoe outing involves a guided trek of three to four kilometres.
Guides discuss various points of interest along the route, including animal tracks, different tree species, forest ecology, and the like. Some lucky children may catch glimpses of deer, foxes, porcupines, owls, and other wildlife.
The children participating in a cross-country ski outings receive a short orientation session before setting off on their own or in small, guided groups along the FOTST marked and groomed ski trails. The more adventurous children ski between six and eight kilometres, though other students will find great delight in repeatedly skiing up and down the hills on one of the trails.
The program was initially funded by an Ontario Ministry of Sport and Health promotion, a Healthy Communities Fund grant. During the two years of the grant, it was known as the South Glengarry Winter Fitness Initiative and represented a collaborative effort between the Friends of the Summerstown Trails and the township of South Glengarry.
For the last two years, FOTST has run the program with increasing success and without any government assistance.
FOTST also offers the following courses to members of the community.
Adult learn to ski – classic technique: Saturdays, Jan. 21 through Feb. 11, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
The fundamental skills and techniques of classic cross-country skiing will be covered, including balance and weight shift, diagonal stride with and without poles, double poling, and ascending and descending techniques, such as herringbone, sidestep, and snowplow.
Registrants will be contacted prior to the first class and given assistance and advice with regard to proper equipment and clothing.
Intro to skate skiing – the fundamentals: Jan. 21, from 10 a.m. to noon.
The fundamental skills of cross-country skate skiing will be covered, including weight shift, gliding on one ski, double poling, and free skate.
This course is best suited to either established skiers who are comfortable with classic skiing and want to learn the newer skating techniques or to well-conditioned athletes new to the sport.
Skate skis are available for rent. Classic skis are not appropriate for this class.
Intermediate skate skiing – technique refinement: Saturday, Feb. 4, from 10 a.m. to noon.
The various techniques of skate skiing will be covered, including free skate, offset, one skate, two skate, and ascending and descending techniques.
This course is suitable either for skiers completing the Intro to Skate Skiing course or for good skiers who have had some experience on skate skis.
Classic skiing for runners: Sunday, Jan. 22, 1 to 3 p.m.
Designed for runners, this course will provide the participant with the basic skills of classic skiing from which to build upon for cross-training or racing purposes.
Classic skiing has proven to be one of the best full-body cardio sports and is an excellent crosstraining activity for runners. Participants will learn the basics of balance, power, and ascending and descending.
Skate skiing for cyclists: Saturday, Jan. 28, from 10 a.m. to noon.
Designed for cyclists, this course will provide the participant with the basic skills of skate skiing from which to build upon for cross-training or racing purposes.
Skate skiing has proven to be one of the best fullbody cardio sports and is an excellent cross-training activity for cyclists. Participants will learn the basics of balance, power, and V1 and V2 skate techniques, as well as ascending and descending.
Private and semi-private lessons can be also be arranged through instructor Tanya Deeks at tricoach[email protected] or 613 360-2088, or by contacting Doug Boeckh at dougthe[email protected] or 613-931-3264.
Visiting the Trails
The Summerstown Trails held its official opening for the season on Jan. 8.
Trails are available for free access any day of the week, during daylight hours.
Ample parking is available in the newly expanded lot at 6150 County Road 27 (Summerstown Road). The site is located north of the Hwy. 401 interchange and south of the Glen Road crossing.
For more information, go online to www.summerstowntrails.com
Among upcoming events on the calendar is the annual Summerstown Forest Dion Snowshoe Race, booked for Feb. 11.
FOTST will also be holding a special slate of activities on Family Day, Feb. 20.
FLY LIKE A GAEL: Terry Dogbey of GDHS’ senior boys basketball team soars to the basket, as Char-Lan’s Nick Danaher defends.