Hit the Ontario slopes this winter!
Hit the Ontario slopes this winter!
Instead of hibernating this season, plan a ski weekend getaway!
At first thought, heading outside in the dead of winter in Ontario might seem daunting. After all, it’s cold, it’s snowy, and dressing in layers and boots is a necessity. These three things, however, have a positive association for many Ontarians because the words “cold, snowy, and layers” mean the start of something fun, something exciting... one of the best things to do in Ontario: skiing and snowboarding season, of course!
This excitement exists for a reason – normally beginning in December, Ontario opens up over 30 ski hills and resorts that provide everything from fun-filled family day trips, to weekend-long getaways, complete with luxurious lodge-lounging, fabulous restaurants, shopping and relaxing spa treatments. Skiing in Ontario is the best way to spend the cold months of winter!
Blue Mountain, on the southern shores of Georgian Bay, is one of the province’s most popular skiing destinations, and when the snow flies, this resort turns into “Ontario’s winter playground… where your time on the slopes is matched by your time off them.” Boasting 34 trails that range from beginner to black diamond, property that reaches across the Niagara Escarpment, and hills that are up to 720 feet high, Blue Mountain offers a well-rounded skiing experience for every level of talent.
Night skiing is also available on 22 trails, with 10 lifts that are situated under the lights. Freestylers, on the other hand, can enjoy the resort’s three freestyle zones that have everything from super-pipes to beginner rails. (If the word “super-pipe” has you running for the car, Blue Mountain also invites you to take a step back and sign up for a lesson or two at its Snow School learning centres.)
No matter your skill level on the slopes, you will be sure to enjoy the many tourist amenities offered by the rest of Blue Mountain Village. At the top of many visitors’ lists is a trip to one of the three spas in the area – Kalola Boutique & Spa, The Lilly Pad, and Scandinave Spa – in which unique relaxation and wellness therapies (including the ancient tradition of hydrotherapy baths at Scandinave Spa) are used to soothe tired muscles.
In addition to wearing you out, skiing all day can also help you to work up an appetite, and from light meals and snacks at places like Starbucks and the Royal Majesty Espresso Bar Bakery, to fine dining at restaurants like Oliver & Bonacini and Twist Martini & Wine Lounge, Blue Mountain Village has something for every taste. This idea also extends into Blue Mountain’s variety of shops and retail experiences, with jewellery boutiques, ski shops, eyewear stores, perfumeries, and more lining the quaint streets of the village.
About an hour to the east of Blue Mountain is Barrie’s Snow Valley, where family fun ranges from skiing and snowboarding, to snow-tubing and snowshoeing. Indeed, Snow Valley strives to be the best resort in Ontario for families to learn to ski or snowboard, and with ticket and lesson options for all ages and skills, the resort is truly doing everything it can to solidify its already-assured reputation. Two-hour tickets and Family Lift Packs are just two examples of how the resort is working to provide convenience and flexibility, and with Ontario’s best snow-tubing facility, the reasons not to visit Snow Valley become few and far between.
Also in Barrie is Horseshoe Resort, which “prides itself on great snow-making and even better conditions,” thanks to its natural location in a winter snow belt that’s surrounded by Copeland Forest. Horseshoe Valley is different from Snow Valley because it specializes in alpine and Nordic skiing, but each winter, this focus creates 26 top-notch downhill runs and 35 kilometres of wonderfully groomed cross-country skiing trails. Horseshoe Valley also has a competition-level half-pipe, snow-tubing, group, private, and semi-private lessons, and a terrain park.
Ontario Ski Hills
Beyond the three ski resorts listed above, Ontario has many other skiing opportunities. For instance, in northern Ontario, Adanac Ski Hill (Sudbury), Kamiskotia Snow Resort (Timmins), Laurentian Ski Hill (North Bay), and the Loch Lomond Ski Area (Thunder Bay) operate successful skiing and snowboarding programs. Other hills (just to name a few) to look out for in central and southern Ontario include: Calabogie Peaks Resort (Calabogie), Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area (Huntsville), and Hockley Valley Resort (Orangeville).
...the words “cold, snowy, and layers” mean the start of something fun, something exciting...
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