The Bittersweet trails are operated and maintained by the Bittersweet Cross Country Ski Club. Situated in the Assiniboine River valley, they are a short 1½ hour drive from Winnipeg, 50 km SW of Portage la Prairie on highway 242 between highways 1 & 2, just north of the Assiniboine River bridge at the top of the hill.
The 21K of classic trails and 12K of skate trails are in a hilly wooded area. They are continuously groomed and offer an experience for all levels of skiers, from beginner to expert. The trails range from easy to challenging. To maintain the intimate, woodsy feel of the trails, most of the skate and classic trails are separate to minimize trail width. The skate ski trails can only be accessed from the Oak Meadows Trailhead.
Signs at the three trailheads state that dogs are not allowed on the trails.
There is a heated Nordic Centre building at the Oak Meadows Trailhead. It features a large south-facing deck, big windows that overlook the trails, comfortable seating, hot drinks, and (one of the grand ideas from Maplelag Ski Resort) a “bottomless cookie jar”! A new Terrain Park is also located at the Oak Meadows Trailhead.
The wood-heated Ski Hut is located among the trails for your convenience, either as a rest stop or as a lunch spot to meet with your fellow skiers.
Bittersweet has developed a new map for its trail system. It uses the Avenza Maps app and a georeferenced PDF file (Bittersweet Trails Map). The Avenza Maps app uses your phone’s (or tablet’s) built-in GPS to precisely track your location with a moving blue dot in real time. It does not require cellular service or internet access to function. The app also provides a number of other features, including the ability to zoom in or out, record your track distance and time, drop and label placemarks, attach photos, and more.
To use the Avenza map:
— Install the free Avenza Maps app from Google Play (Android), the App Store (iOS), or the Windows Store.
— Download the Bittersweet Trails Map (2.8 MB PDF). (The map can also be printed or viewed without using the Avenza Maps app.)
— Open the Avenza Maps app, configure Settings from the menu, and import/copy the downloaded Bittersweet Trails Map into the app. Tap the map to begin using it.
The updated map has been printed on aluminum and mounted at all trail junctions. There are also large versions in the Nordic Centre and the Ski Hut.
Membership to the Bittersweet Cross Country Ski Club can be purchased on-site or by going to zone4.ca and searching for Bittersweet Ski Club.
The club produces a newsletter in the Fall and Winter that it emails to members. Non-members can be added to the distribution list by contacting McMaster@xplornet.com .
Non-members must sign their names and the date in the registration books provided at our trailheads, and are thus covered as day users by our liability insurance provider for that particular day. Appropriate signage to this effect will now be posted at our trailheads. We thank you for your cooperation in this matter. We hope that the benefits you gain, access to our beautiful trails, will justify the trouble of reading and signing the necessary forms. Also, please make a donation in the locked box to help the club with the expense of operating the Nordic Centre and grooming the trails.
Bittersweet’s annual recreational skiing event is held every year on the Sunday of the Louis Riel long weekend. It’s listed on CCSAM’s Events Calendar.