About Greenbelt (east) XC Trail Grooming and Track Setting

The Orleans Nordic Ski Club (ONSC) has been grooming and track setting for classic style skiing at 3 locations in the eastern Greenbelt for 20 years.

    1. Green’s Creek/ Hornet’s Nest (where the Club runs its Learn to Ski programs).
    2. Mer Bleu-west of Anderson Road
    3. Pine Grove Forest- north of Leitrim Road

    Thank you to ONSC volunteers who widened the trails for the 2020-2021 season in order to facilitate physical distancing.
    Each of these areas share common characteristics that influence how and when grooming can be done:
      • the trails are generally NOT paved or hard surface.
      • the trails are generally narrower than for example the trails along the Ottawa River. In some places, the trail is only slightly wider than the ski doo. They are not suitable for skate skiing.
      • there are boardwalks and bridges incapable of supporting heavy grooming equipment.
      • the ground that makes up trail must be frozen and there must be a minimum of 10 cms of snow before grooming can take place. Grooming and track setting takes multiple passes of the equipment.


      Grooming equipment must be trailered from site to site. The equipment is NOT kept on site. Because it is trailered, the grooming equipment is mechanical rather than hydraulic or electrical- grooming is done with drags and the tracks are set with a commercial but mechanical Bachlor track setter.

      Tracks are set by pulling the track setter behind a ski doo. Molds on the track setter press into the snow to give you tracks. Depth of track is adjustable and additional weights can be added to the track setter.

      For 20 years, the ONSC has fully funded the grooming and track setting. The commercial rate is $95 per hour. A volunteer has been doing this work using the club’s equipment.


      National Capital Commission (NCC) and City of Ottawa Financial Support to the Winter Urban Trails Alliance (WUTA)

      The Orleans Nordic Ski Club is one of the 6 founding members of WUTA.

      In preparation for the 2021/22ski season, the NCC contracted for clearing and brushing the trails at Pine Grove Forest (after the cutting of approximately 700 diseased trees in the spring of 2021) and the Green’s Creek sector. Club volunteers did the brushing and clearing of trails at Mer Bleu. This clearing and brushing means wider trails with double tracking for classic skiing contributing to social distancing.

      For the 2021/22 season, the Orleans Nordic Ski Club will receive $11,750 from the NCC for on-going grooming and track-setting in the Greenbelt. The City of Ottawa contributes by clearing the 3 parking lots at the trailheads. Both the NCC and the City provide permits and/or permission to groom and track set trails on lands they manage.

      The Club gratefully acknowledges this funding. It is essential to the long-term viability of the Club.


      La Commission de la Capitale Nationale et la ville d’Ottawa contribuent financièrement à l’Alliance des sentiers d’hiver en milieu urbain.

      Le Club de ski nordique d’Orleans est un des six membres fondateurs de l’Alliance.

      En 2021/22 le Club va recevoir 11,750$ provenant de la CCN afin de défrayer les coûts associés avec la préparation des sentiers d’hiver. En plus, la CCN a engagé un contacteur afin de préparer les pistes à Pine Grove et au ruisseau Green’s. La ville d’Ottawa s’occupe du déneigement des stationnements liés à des pistes de ski.

      Le Club de ski nordique d’Orleans apprécie grandement ce support financier qui est essentiel à la viabilité à longue durée du Club.