For about 3-4 months every winter, the fresh water lakes around Ontario consistently freeze. This usually happens in parallel with the ski resorts being open. If it's cold enough to make snow then it's cold enough for the lakes to freeze. The wind riding season usually starts mid to late December, sometimes even as early as late November and runs until the beginning of April.

This article talks about -
How long is the season?
Not quite Europe
Huge terrain!
Access to the lake

If you've every been to Europe, you've probably found that the climate between parts of Canada are very similar. True during summer months, but there is a very fine line during the winter months. When you think of going to Europe to ski in the winter, remember that you're going up in altitude where it's colder. But down away from the alpine regions in the larger cities, the temperature is much warmer. The lakes don't necessarily freeze like they do around Ontario. A few degrees makes all the difference in comparison to what Ontario has to offer during the winter!

Lake Simcoe is just north of Toronto, about one hour by car. With prevailing westerly winds, the east shore of Cook's Bay, and the south shore of Lake Simcoe provide some of the largest wind riding terrain around. If you measure the sailable terrain of Lake Simcoe, it's about 20 times larger than the skiable terrain in Whistler, British Columbia. As mother nature is constantly grooming the lake with wind and precipitation, the surface varies from black ice to powder snow. The beginning of the season starts with black hard ice usually only sailing with sharp ski edges or bladed crafts. The latter half of the season is usually snow packed excellent for kite snowboarding. A sharp and/or properly waxed pair of skis can usually ride all the terrain except when the snow gets two deep unless you have a power of powder or twin tip powder skis that float easier.

The access to the lake is via parks and boat launches (Walter Drive, Parkwoods Avenue) at the beginning of the season. In mid to late January the ice usually freezes so thick that you drive out to your launch spot (Glenwoods Avenue has become the most popular). Statistics report that the lake is actually busier in the winter than it is in the summer. The combination of ice fishermen, sled riders (skidoo/snow mobile), motor cyclists, cross-country skiers, ice skaters, 4x4s, kiters and even pedestrians sometimes walking there pets really turn the lake into a winter playground for all ages to enjoy.

The colder dense winter winds provide steady, okay sometimes gusty, riding conditions almost every day when compared to what is sailable during the summer. This means you can literally go up to the lake when ever you can to ride.

The short drive from the city, the easy access, the reliable wind conditions, huge changing terrain, and the proximity to Toronto are putting Lake Simcoe on the map for one of the best winter wind riding locations in the world. If you plan to vacation here, you can enjoy the city highlights in Toronto when you're not sailing.