Hepworth’s Sawmill Ski Trails
One of my favourite things about winter is dressing for the cold, getting enough exercise to warm up, and then coming back in to a mug of hot chocolate by the fire. I love that warm, tingly, thawing feeling, cheeks flushed from the cold air, and a distinct sense of achievement that I’m tough enough to enjoy the Canadian winter. In one sense, my favourite thing about being outside in the winter is the satisfaction of coming back in!
I remember feeling this way about my days on the Sawmill Ski Trails in Hepworth, Ontario. Having spent years skiing the Sauble Cross Country Ski Trails, my parents enrolled my sister and I in Jackrabbits on the Sawmill trails. It was our first real foray into winter sports – and while we acted like we ‘dreaded’ it, I really think those hot mugs of Ovaltine and sore legs moulded us into the winter-loving women we are now.
Maybe it’s time you awoke your inner Canuck? And what better place to start then the Sawmill Trails? Located 1 kilometre east of the stoplights in Hepworth (and Suntrail Source for Adventures – the perfect place to rent skis if you don’t have them already), the Sawmill trials include a range of loops from beginner to expert. Groomed for both diagonal and skate skiing techniques, this trail system is very popular with members, clubs and schools. There’s even a night skiing option, with the Jackrabbit Loop lit when the sun goes down.
The Sawmill Trails are managed by the Bruce Ski Club, who also oversees the Colpoy’s Bay and Rankin ski trails. Seasonal memberships are $65 per individual or $140 per family (2 adults, 2 children). Day passes are $5 per adult and $3 per child and can be paid at the trail head cash box or at Suntrail Source for Adventure, Spirit Rock in Wiarton, Cedarholme Cottages in Hope Bay, Red Bay Lodge in Red Bay or Bikeface Cycling and XC Ski and Winter Gear in Owen Sound. Registration forms can also be downloaded at http://www.bruceskiclub.ca/registration.html
If you want to awaken some winter passion in your kids, the Jackrabbit program is alive and well at the Sawmill Trails today. Learn more about this popular youth program at www.bruceskiclub.ca/jackrabbits.
If you’re heading to the Bruce for this cross-country skiing adventure, there are some great local accommodation options. Check out the Evergreen Bed and Breakfast for a quiet country retreat or consider Tipi Camping near Wiarton for a real, backcountry, winter camping experience.
Cross-country skiing is great cardio and you’ll need to fuel up in the morning and replenish in the afternoon. Why not start your day with fresh baked bagels and coffee at MacBeth’s in Sauble Beach and follow up your ski with lunch at the Green Door Café in Wiarton? Lamb burgers and Caesar salad should fill the gap nicely!
With your legs stretched and your belly full, there is one last quintessential Wiarton experience you must have! Fill your suitcase with Wiarton Willie souvenirs for the folks back home. Check out RAM Trophies and Sportswear for official Willie swag or pick up some Willie Good Treats at Northern Confections. And, even though Willie will be hibernating, be sure to snap a pic with the impressive Willie statue at Bluewater Park.
For more information on exploring the Bruce, visit www.explorethebruce.com/winter-trips/