Warm weather and low snowfall totals made the 2015-16 cross-country ski season in Pennsylvania a challenge.  Some areas of Central Pennsylvania almost set records for the lowest snow totals. Even the Lake Erie snows were off and the Laurel Highlands suffered too.  A few storms hit the southern tier counties of PA but the snow did not last long.  In short it was a challenge to get out and ski.  Timing was everything as the snow would come then melt.  One day in February at Oil Creek the morning ski was fine but by late afternoon the trails turned to slush.  That was the last of a three day of stretch of skiing for Oil Creek. Most ski centers experienced very short spurts of skiing followed by long warm ups.  Ski events were canceled all over the state.  Very few events survived the warm weather and it was a disappointment for citizens racers. Here is hoping that 2016-17 ski season will be much better.  El Nino is being replaced by La Nina and that should help skiers in PA.  One option when the weather is like this in Pennsylvania is to head north to the Ottawa, Canada Capital Region. You need a passport but the trip to Gatineau Park just north of Ottawa had really good skiing in March and April.  It saved my ski season and provided a wonderful finish to a poor year here in PA.  The city of Ottawa has many services and the short drive to Gatineau Park makes it easy to create a ski get away.  There are about 200 km of finely groomed (classic and skate) trails in a beautiful setting. The cost is very reasonable $12-15 Canadian per day depending on age.  I leave you with a photo from Gatineau and with hope for a better winter for cross-country skiing in 2016-17.  HP

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