Rivendell is located between Russell & Roblin, approximately 5 minutes north of Asessippi Ski Area. There is no longer any signage directing you to it. Turn west off Hwy 83 onto Skinner Road. Rivendell is the first driveway on the left (south), marked by a Private Property No Trespassing sign. Call ahead and pop by the house so they can put the dogs away before your ski, and to pick up a map. Trail fees are $8.
Of the former 25K of ski trails, 7K are still active. (From the trailhead to Bush Wacky and part of Ravine Run.) After skirting the honey farm, the trail winds through a narrow wood running along the rim of a deep gorge opening up to the Assiniboine River valley. There are constant glimpses through the trees of Lake of the Prairies, with a few wide vistas just off piste. You are quite sheltered from the winds, and wherever the trail ventures near an open area, old hay bales have thoughtfully been stacked to keep the trails from drifting in. Terrain is rolling, and towards the far end there are a few exciting steep-down-steep-up rollercoasters.
Also worth checking out in the same area are the ski trails at the Frank Skinner Arboretum. These are on the same mile road (Skinner Road), but just east of Hwy 83. The arboretum is flat, but not boring; it’s a labyrinth of intersecting trails winding through dozens of species of native, exotic, and locally hybridized trees.
After trying in vain to ski here over several successive Xmases, I was beginning to believe that Rivendell was a mere myth; a legend of the Elder Days. But just as hope seemed all but extinguished, I gave it one last ditch effort, and lo! The trails are currently groomed and Rivendell is open.
Of the former 25km of ski trails, 7km are still…[Read more]