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Barrie, Ontario
Give “Hardwood Hills” a Try
January 27, 2003 - By Mark Madorski

With the lack of early snow in Lower Michigan and the cancellation of several races my wife and I decided to travel up to Barrie, Ontario and try a place called Hardwood Hills Nordic Center. I’d wanted to try it ever since a World Cup race had been scheduled there a dozen or so years ago. That race had to be cancelled due to lack of snow, a sharp contrast with this season, which saw the beginning of uninterrupted skiing in late November.

According to staff and local skiers, this year is much more representative of a typical Barrie, Ontario winter. Sitting on the northeastern edge of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, Hardwood Hills receives sufficient lake effect and lake enhanced snows to guarantee good skiing even in dry winters like this one.

The Hardwood Hills system is made up of 3 basic loops totaling 36 kilometers. The “Meadowlands” loop is flat to rolling and great for a long easy workout whereas the “Pines” loop is quite a bit more hilly and overall more challenging. The “Hardwood” or Olympic loop however is what sets Hardwood Hills apart from most other Nordic centers. It’s extremely hilly with wide (extremely wide) sweeping turns. This trail is truly a blast especially on hard packed and fast snow. Add to this the best grooming you’ll find anywhere and Hardwood Hills is world class in every sense of the term.

As a bonus Barrie is a great town with a lot to do when you’re not skiing. (Almost too much like really good restaurants and great Canadian beer.) Also the exchange rate, which has been fluctuating somewhere around 40%, isn’t hard to take either. 

Barrie Ontario is approximately 280 miles or about 5 hours from the Metro-Detroit area. When the snow melts, Hardwood Hills turns into a world class mountain biking venue. Check out the Hardwood Hills web site for directions.

Happy skiing!

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