Try these fun and affordable winter sports

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Father and son ice skating

Caitlin McCullough

HELP, SOMEBODY! THE SHOVEL MAN’S AFTER ME! Do we feel guilty for chastizing this kind old man and his grandson? Slightly. But hey, gramps probably owns a shovel.

The snow may have arrived late in London, but there’s still lots of time to enjoy winter sports before it disappears. Skiing, snowboarding, skating, and tobogganing can all be found close to campus.

Downtown London features two outdoor skating rinks. Victoria Park is open for free skate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., though it’s closed daily 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for ice resurfacing. The Covent Garden Market rink is open Monday to Thursday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Indoor skating is available at Earl Nichols Arena for $2.75. Visit for a schedule.

Don’t worry if you forgot your skates back home; numerous sports equipment stores sell used skates at great prices. It’s worth it to avoid arena rental fees.

Boler Mountain, roughly a 20-minute drive from campus, offers nine runs for downhill skiers and snowboarders. The slopes are open for both day and night skiing. Tickets can be bought for as little as two hours or for a full day. Prices range from $20 to $37.

Boler also has a tubing hill, open Wednesday to Friday, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 for two hours of tubing. Visit the website for more info (

Cross country skiers can find 10 kilometres of trails at the Fanshawe Conservation Area in northeast London on Clarke Road. The trails are track-set seven days a week, weather permitting, and a ski centre " open weekends 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. " offers equipment rentals, a wood-heated pavilion, washrooms and a snack bar. Admittance is $5 per adult to a maximum of $10 per vehicle.

The Pinery Provincial Park, located near Grand Bend, also has 38 kilometres of ski trails with various loops for beginners or advanced cross-country skiers. The trails are open from 8 a.m. to sunset.

The Pinery has a toboggan hill and a heated chalet. It’s $2 per skier and visitors must purchase a daily vehicle permit.

For a few thrills and spills " and something a little easier on the wallet " you can find tobogganing only a few steps from campus at Doidge Park, located behind St. Joseph’s Hospital. Bring lots of sleds and friends, but leave cowardice at home.

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