Wet weekend closes Gatineau Park trails, local ski hills

Environment Canada is forecasting a wet weekend for the capital region, and that's bad news for winter outdoor enthusiasts.

As of Saturday afternoon, rainfall and freezing rain warnings were in effect for the Ottawa area, as well as many parts of western Quebec and eastern Ontario.

Many communities are expected to see heavy rain Saturday that would change to freezing rain by the evening.

Camp Fortune Ski Resort is closed today due to the weather, and officials said they're waiting to see what the storm brings before deciding whether to open Sunday.

"Hopefully winter returns," said Erin Boucher, a Camp Fortune spokesperson.

"We do have a good base. There still will be skiing in Ottawa. We just need to grin and bear it, and then hopefully winter will come back soon."

The Vorlage ski hill in Wakefield, Que., was also closed Saturday, according to a notice posted on its website.

City crews getting ready

City of Ottawa officials said crews have been busy clearing local catch basins to ensure the anticipated rain and freezing rain has somewhere to go.

"We're clearing [them] out with loaders, backhoes and sometimes even shovelling by hand," said Bryden Denyes, the city's road operations manager.

Denyes said crews are also making sure they have an adequate supply of salt, sand and grit to use on the roads this weekend.

Rain and freezing rain won't help the situation on the Rideau Canal Skateway either, which has yet to open this season.  

"Right now, the ice condition, there's some thickness, and it's very well compacted, but not safe enough. And the few surface inches are slushy," said Bruce Devine, the skateway's senior manager.

Devine said the ice on the Skateway needs to be 30 centimetres thick before the canal can open.

Gatineau Park trails closed

The National Capital Commission (NCC) said Saturday morning it had also closed all trails and parking lots in Gatineau Park as the bad weather could bring down tree branches.

"As soon as the weather conditions allow, maintenance crews will inspect the trail conditions and make them as safe as possible for Gatineau Park users," the NCC said in a statement.

The park's main visitor centre and its parking lot remain open.