Training involves climbing 2000-3000ft per day and being able to ski down with a pack on.
My favourite training spot is at my local ski hill Calabogie Peaks. It has a 700ft drop and is home to the longest green run in Ontario. This run, called the "Ole K&P", named after the old Kingston-Pembroke railline nearby, is 2 kilometers in length and has the perfect grade for ski touring training. It takes us about an hour to do one lap: 45 minute walk up on skis with skins on the bottom for traction, transition to downhill mode at the top, and ski down back to the bottom of the hill. We generally do 3 laps for training, for a total ascent of 2100ft (6km) which is good training for a day out touring.
Before heading out, make sure if your local ski hill has any 'uphill' policies. We always skin on the side of the trail, in single file, as a tight group. We also pick a wide green run to skin up so that downhill traffic has room to move. We have never had any issues.
Everytime we go out, we often get cheered on by others, having people stop and ask questions, or get yelled at: "You're going the wrong way!". The most common questions we get are about the specialized equipment, and what we are training for. There are several fantastic backcountry ski destinations in Quebec, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. To read more about some of the backcountry ski trips we've done in the Eastern and Western parts of North America click here.
Calabogie has 25 unique interesting runs, 2 quad chairlifts, and 1 carpet lift for the beginner area. It has some of the steepest terrain in the region and 1 terrain park.
Calabogie is also a fantastic destination if you are a snowboarder (yes I do that too!). The variety of runs makes boarding interesting, and the terrain changes make both your mind and body engaged from top to bottom.
No day on the hill is complete without enjoying the après-ski. Black Donald's Pub in the Calabogie base lodge hosts live music every Saturday. A great way to unwind with friends after a day on the slopes, especially when going UP and DOWN!
All in all, Calabogie is a fantastic ski destination in the Eastern Ontario-Western Quebec region no matter if you board, ski, or tour!