WWHSTA’s activities are based in an area we have called the West Wind Highlands. This area lies roughly east of Georgian Bay, west of Algonquin Park, and includes the rolling hills and forest found in the District of Muskoka, the Region of Almaguin Highlands and the County of Haliburton. Blessed with ample snowfall and open hardwood forests, it is a tree-skiing paradise.
Please note that while we use the term “skiing” throughout this website, all forms of self-propelled snowriders enjoy the terrain in the Highlands. Our members include telemark skiers, alpine touring skiers, nordic skiers, snowboarders and skishoers.
With almost limitless potential for exploration, we have chosen to focus our initial efforts on three areas:
Limberlost Forest and Wildlife Reserve
“Limberlost” is a large, privately owned nature reserve with a long history of year-round outdoor recreation. Located off Muskoka Road 8, about 35 minutes drive east of Huntsville, the reserve is open to the public and offers a well-maintained multi-use trail system, cabin rentals, disc golf, fishing, paddling and much more. WWHSTA operates there with the permission and support of the owners and managers. With permission, founding members of WWHSTA have hosted annual “glading work days” since 2017, with the objective of opening tree-sking lines on the site of the “Top of the World Ski Hill,” which offered lift-served skiing from 1939 through the early 1970s. Remnants of the original rope tow can still be seen and the T-Bar still stands proudly, offering a uniquely challenging downhill run today. For more information and history, visit limberlostforest.com
Limberlost is our flagship site for many reasons: it is accessible, offers a wide range of touring opportunities, gets tremendous snowfall, the downhill lines are really fun and new visitors can find their way around without too much difficulty. At this time, there are numerous skiable lines on the Top of the World hill, all accessed via a wide and usually well-packed uptrack. Skiers not wanting to test their tree-skiing mettle can enjoy mellow touring on a mix of groomed and ungroomed trails throughout the property. More adventurous souls can find new terrain opportunities in the hills surrounding Buck and Solitaire lakes.
Before visiting Limberlost, please read our “Limberlost access notes.”
Please download or print our handy Limberlost map:
Backcountry skiing at Limberlost in the media:
Nickle Peak is a large hill located beside Forestry Tower Road about 40 minutes northeast of the village of Kearney, and just west of Algonquin Park. The name is unofficial, honouring the memory of Lawrence Nickle, a well known landscape painter who passed away in 2014. A well travelled artist, this was his favourite area to paint. This remote area offers some the highest vertical and most interesting ski lines in southern Ontario.
One of several large hills off Forestry Tower Road (aka Powder Peaks Road), Nickle Peak boasts 450 feet of vertical drop, easily offering the best skiing in the area. The ‘massif’ has several features which make for ideal backcountry skiing: predominant north and northeast aspects, several lookouts, small areas of older growth pine and cedar, and a wide variety of terrain. The valley is a natural snow trap for lake effect snow. Due to higher latitude and elevation, temperatures are typically three to five degrees colder than in Huntsville. Often when it is raining in town, dry powder engulfs the peak. The area is situated entirely on crown land and due to restricted access, there are no conflicts with other users such as snowmobilers or hunters.
Over the past few years, a group of dedicated skiers have been exploring the hill and the surrounding area. Based on this passion and interest, WWHSTA is now pursuing permitting approval to: 1) cut a simple trail system. 2), trim glades in selected areas. 3) construct a seasonal warm-up shelter and, 4), build a seasonal bridge to safely access the area.
Access to Nickle Peak requires an ice crossing over the upper reaches of the Magnetawan River. If you decide to explore the area, you do so at your own risk. The area is very remote with no cell service and plowing of the road can be irregular. We highly recommend that new visitors to Nickle Peak find a person with first hand knowledge of the hill to join them.
Please download or print our handy map:
Just 15 minutes drive past Limberlost Forest Reserve, at the very end of Tasso Lake Road, lies an intriguing and very remote area we call Tasso Highlands. Centred on a long north-south trending fault line, it holds the highest vertical drop and highest point in Muskoka. Rising over 160 metres (525 feet) above Tasso Creek to the west and the Big East River to the north, the bluff is yet another natural snow trap. Anecdotal reports of the abundant snowfall here are impressive: one year, as late as April 16th, the snowpack was still over a meter (three feet) deep.
Because of the terrain, which includes many cliff faces and narrow canyons, the area is best suited to a network of simple, rugged ski trails through the hills and valleys. For the moment, mellow touring is possible on existing logging roads. A few locals have been exploring the area since the early 1990s, drawn primarily by looking at the hefty vertical and consistent pitch. In 2021 WWHSTA will be applying for a permit for construction of a trail system and a simple warm-up hut on site. Glading of a few select slopes may be an option pursued in the future.
This area is entirely situated on crown land, some of which is part of Big East River Provincial Park (a “non-operating” park). The region is remote and there is limited to no cell service. If you decide to explore, you do so at your own risk and we suggest you travel with a person with first hand experience of the area.
Please download or print our handy map: