Sleeping Giant Loppet: Trail Conditions

Posted Thursday, March 5th  2020  7:00pm

There are only 2 more sleeps until the 43rd annual Sleeping Giant Loppet and we have just experienced a classic Sibley-squall. The park has been blanketed in close to 20cm of fresh snow and it is absolutely gorgeous out here. Our grooming experts are going to blade a small portion of this recent snowfall off the trail while preserving a few centimetres to cover any minor natural debris on the course. This will ensure the base remains firm while keeping some beautiful, fresh snow for Loppet-day.

One final friendly reminder: Please keep off the trails. Though we are all excited for the Loppet, there are better places to get in a last-minute ski than at the park itself. I will not be officially closing the trails under authority of the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, however, coming out for a ski prior to March 7th would be doing a disservice to our amazing course-crew who have been grooming our trails around the clock (Dave Suttie is still at it as of 7pm onThursday night). Please let these experts continue doing what they do best and we will be guaranteed to have the superb conditions for the big event. This will also ensure you are surprised by the volume and quality of snow when you arrive here on Saturday morning.

Less than 48 hours to go! See you on the trails!
Christian Carl | Park Superintendent – Sleeping Giant Node – Ontario Parks

RR#1 Pass Lake, Ontario, P0T 2M0

P: 807-977-2502  W: OntarioParks.com

 

 

The following Q & A applies during regular park operations but NOT during the Loppet.

Q: Are dogs allowed on the ski trails?

A: Yes, as long as your four-legged companions are tethered to a leash that does not exceed 2 metres in length, they are welcome to join you while you ski. There are abundant natural tracks (deer, wolves, etc.), therefore, we are not overly concerned about trail degradation due to dogs. We also have an "off-leash" dog trail on the Sifting Lake Trail. Please be mindful of other trail-users and remember it is a provincial offense to permit a domestic animal to harm another domestic animal or human.

Q: Can I walk or snow-shoe on the ski trails?

A: While the answer is yes, you may walk and snow-shoe on our ski trails, with close to 100km of non-ski trails in the park, we encourage non-skiers to keep off the groomed trails. This helps keep our trails pristine for their intended winter sport usage.

Q: Are Fat Bikes allowed on the ski trails?

A: Yes, Fat Bikes are permitted anywhere the park management plan allows for cycling. This includes the entire groomed cross-country skiing trail network. With that said, if conditions are marginal and fat-biking could damage the trail, we ask for cyclists (and others) to keep off the trails. If all trail users can cooperate, the park will continue to support diverse compatible trail-usage.

Q: Are you going the wrong way? (asked while I skied counter-clockwise around Marie Louise Lake).

A: No, all our ski trails are wide enough to be multi-directional. In fact, the view while touring around Marie Louise Lake travelling counter-clockwise is even better than the clockwise direction used during the Sleeping Giant Loppet. Skiers are encouraged to switch things up to fully experience every kilometer of groomed trail we offer out here.

Q: Can I use my TBNT pass to access the rental cabins?

A: TBNT passes are only valid at trailheads within the park adjacent to Highway 587. For access to the rental cabins, an additional vehicle permit can be purchased from the pay and display machines or the gatehouse. Additionally, TBNT passes are not valid for parking at the Kabeyun or Middlebrun Trails to access snow-shoeing, hiking, biking, etc.

Q: Can I park on Highway 587?

A: No, you may not. There is an MTO right-of-way corridor that is technically not part of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. With that said, no-parking on this corridor is enforced by the OPP. There are many trailheads within the park that are plowed for parking. Please use them and remember to display a valid park permit or TBNT membership card. Parking on Highway 587 impedes highway clearing, poses safety issues for motorists, and can result in a more significant fine that the $30 parking infraction notices issued by Park Wardens.

Q: Will there be a Fat Bike Loppet this year?

A: Yes! 2020 will be the first year the park officially endorses and hosts this special event. The event will make use of the Visitor Centre and take place on Sunday, March 8, 2020.

Q: Will the trail to Thunder Bay Lookout be groomed this winter.

A: Yes! We are very pleased to offer this amazing skiing experience to the most picturesque lookout on our ski trail network.

Q: Are you skiing the Loppet this year?

A: Yes, I am signed up for the 50km event, though I have not been training. I am relying on world-class grooming by Peter Crooks to help me glide around the course and hopefully cross the finish line intact.

Q: How do I lodge a formal complaint with the Park Superintendent?

A: First, you must catch me while skiing, make an offering (such as Heartbeat Hot Sauce), and speak very nicely!

Q: Are you going to continue with this trail report format?

A: No, I want to stick to reporting the trail conditions and thought this information may prove useful to our trail-users. I hope the tone was not authoritative since I want everyone to enjoy this special park and continue using our amazing trails. Have fun out there!

Christian Carl | Park Superintendent – Sleeping Giant Node – Ontario Parks

RR#1 Pass Lake, Ontario, P0T 2M0

P: 807-977-2502  W: OntarioParks.com

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The Visitors' Centre is no longer open on weekends (except "Family Day" - see Ontario Parks Ski Report) but skiers can still park at the Marie Louise Campground gatehouse and ski the trails from that location. Skiers can also access the trails from Rita Lake where an in-out course of any distance may be skied or the 30km loop including the Burma and Pickerel Lake trails can be completed.  The trails will be closed for a period of time prior to the Loppet for final grooming. Check the snow phone at 807-285-0801 for details or the Thunder Bay Nordic Trails website at www.tbnordictrails.com/report.

REMEMBER: If you are a Thunder Bay Nordic Trails member you must display your membership card on the dash of your vehicle while in the park. Non-members must purchase a day permit at the Joeboy Lake self serve fee station located just inside the park boundary.

To check out a map of the 2020 course, click here.