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Nordic Skiing Adventures: Stride through Cape Breton Island

Cape Breton Island, most notably the 300-kilometre Cabot Trail, is where nature enthusiasts go to escape the city’s boisterous streets and stressful workplaces. Much of the year, Nova Scotia’s prized island attracts hikers, paddlers, and cyclists. However, once winter arrives, most travellers seek out Cabot Shores’ 55-acre wilderness estate to wholly unplug, restore balance, and embrace hygge. One of the many ways to seize winter’s inevitable advent is to explore the region’s unique topography via Nordic skis. Nordic skiing, also known as cross-country skiing, is not only a sublime way to experience a new landscape, but it’s one heck of a workout, especially for your quads and gluteals.

The North Highlands Nordic Trail System

Thankfully, Cabot Shores is a short drive from a handful of Nova Scotia’s best cross-country skiing networks, most notably the North Highlands Nordic trail system, one of the province’s best-kept secrets. We’re on the cusp of yet another glorious North Highlands cross-country season—none of which would be possible without the efforts of the North Highlands Nordic Ski Club, a local nonprofit. Visitors will discover approximately 12 kilometres of well-groomed trails, often described as a real-life “Narnia” because of the snow-covered trees, wind-swept valleys, and rolling hills. While this Cape North-based destination is an hour’s drive from Cabot Shores, it’s well worth the trip, even if just for the natural beauty and several hours of true tranquillity.

Backcountry Adventures and Alternative Networks

Skilled Nordic skiers often venture into the snow-packed backcountry where no groomed trails lie—it’s just you, the forest, and curious woodland critters. A Cheticamp-based couple perfectly summed up the experience a few years back. Cabot Shores’ most adventurous outdoor enthusiasts are more than welcome to explore our sprawling acreage via snowshoes or Nordic skis. Be prepared for an uplifting, albeit challenging experience. Hopefully, you’ve been practicing this offseason!

If you’re looking for an alternative to the North Highlands, we recommend Baddeck’s Ski Tuonela, which boasts an 18-kilometre network for $15 per person. Meanwhile, a Sydney-based chapter has eight kilometres of daily-groomed trails.

Cabot Shores, a Quintessential Cape Breton Resort

As we rapidly approach the holiday season, it’s important to note that Cabot Shores offers a bevy of crowd-pleasing packages, all of which include countless on-site amenities. Our 55-acre wilderness resort proudly features a gourmet dining experience, seven distinct types of lodging options (including chalets, yurts, and tiny houses), a renowned healing arts program, and a winter activity hub.

Photo of a Couple in a Cabot Shores Hot Tub—the Perfect Place to Relax after Skiing on Cape Breton Island.

Most visitors utilize our sprawling, oceanside campus to enjoy some much-needed outdoor recreation, mainly snowshoeing and winter hiking. But feel free to ask a team member about their favourite local Nordic ski trails. You might be surprised to find a diverse array of backcountry options that only locals frequent. When you’re not exploring the topography, don’t forget to soak in an outdoor hot tub, sip hot cocoa beside a crackling fireplace, and stargaze into the night’s sky.

To book a well-deserved wintertime escape to Nova Scotia’s top-rated glamping destination, please check availability online (or call us at 866-929-2584).