Welcome to the West Wind Highlands. There is a sliver of central Ontario where magic happens every winter. It might be freezing, sunny and breezy in Toronto or North Bay, but in the hills to the west of Algonquin Park, snow squalls are forming. Cold, dry winter winds sponge up moisture over the warm, open waters of Lake Huron. When that moisture-laden air hits the uplifting slope of the West Wind Highlands, snow falls with abundance. The hills themselves are too steep for effective logging, hard to build roads into and difficult to navigate for many. This has left them quietly free of people and, once they receive their winter coat of snow, perfect for skiing.
WWHSTA was founded in the year of hindsight, 2020, by a group of people who’ve been quietly enjoying this powder buffet for decades. It could seem a strange thing, to want to share this bounty with others. However, sharing is exactly what these highlands need. To ski in the quiet woods on a gorgeous, still winter day with a handful of good people is a wonderful feeling. Human-powered travel over snow has virtually no impact on the land; one literally floats over it. Ski touring requires that skiers take what nature gives them: there is no grooming or preparation of trails, so the conditions are not always the same. They simply are what they are. The skier has to adapt and choose the appropriate trail, slope or challenge to suit the day, and there are no bad days! When people come to appreciate the gifts of such an experience they want to help ensure it’s available for others, particularly future generations.
By joining or supporting West Wind Highlands Ski Touring Association you are helping to give a voice to those who love wintertime human-powered exploration. At WWHSTA, we strive to make excellent skiing options available, in a way that respects and protects the environment. We educate skiers, helping them grow their knowledge and skills. We protect our members with insurance. We grow connections between people and organizations, allowing both to grow stronger and more engaged. We explore and open up new areas to enjoy our sport, with responsible partnerships and land-use agreements.