Put on your skis and hit the slopes
With resorts like Blue Mountain, Horseshoe, Calabogie Peaks and Hidden Valley, Ontario offers skiers a number of exciting downhill options. Blue Mountain Resort, just two hours north of Toronto, now offers skiers 364 acres of slopes and 42 trails thanks to Orchard’s recent expansion which increased the resort’s ski area by 21%, making it the largest in Ontario. With a number of trails offering varying levels of difficulty, Blue Mountain is the perfect resort for beginners or more confident skiers and boasts a lively afternoon scene. Horseshoe Resort is a popular southern Ontario ski destination spanning 680 acres. Located in a natural snow belt just an hour north of Toronto, Horseshoe offers 29 different trails, a redesigned snow park with a rail slot and a ski and snowboard cross course, and over 45 km of ski trails. Nordic groomed trails that allow cross-country skiing. and skaters through the beautiful Copeland Forest. Instead of the slopes being closed to skiers at night like at many European resorts, Horseshoe’s is open seven nights a week for an adventurous night skiing spot.
Hidden Valley Resort, located on the scenic shores of Peninsula Lake in Muskoka, is the only lakeside resort in the province and boasts uncrowded slopes and plenty of fresh powder, and is ideal for beginners. The resort spans 35 skiable acres with an average annual snowfall of 3.4m. Hidden Valley also offers skiers night skiing and a snow park to show off their skills.
Close to Ottawa, Calabogie Peaks is both an alpine and cross-country ski resort just a 45-minute drive from the city. The resort has the highest drop in Ontario at 780 feet as well as 22 trails, including the longest green trail in the province for beginners, as well as a snow park and mogul fields. For cross-country skiers, 26 provincial parks are open during the winter season, including Arrowhead and Algonquin, which encompass more than 450 km of cross-country ski trails. On the outskirts of Ottawa, visitors can enjoy more than 150 km of cross-country ski trails on the Greenbelt, suitable for beginners as well as more advanced skiers.
Live experiences that slide beyond the slopes
Lake Superior Credit: Ivorr
For snow bunnies who want to try something a little different this winter, Ontario has a number of exciting alternatives to try. For adventurers looking to reach new heights, Northern Ontario is a renowned land for ice climbing. Visitors have the chance to explore dozens of ice-covered roads from Thunder Bay to Red Rock along the northern shores of Lake Superior, some reaching over 300 feet in height.
Back on the ground and on two wheels, cycling enthusiasts can try their hand at “fat bikes” specially adapted to snowy terrain with very thick tires. Offered in Horseshoe Valley, just an hour and a half from Toronto, visitors can enjoy serene serenity as they wander through Ontario’s pristine wilderness with Ride Guides.
Winter in Ontario
For a quick ride in the snow, visitors to Ontario have the chance to rub shoulders with huskies with Voyageur Quest, Call of the Wild, Snow Forest Adventures and Highlands Wilderness Tours which offer husky rides in and around the provincial park. Algonquin and Winterdance offers walks in Haliburton. Boreal Journeys offers dog sledding tours near Thunder Bay and Borealis Dogsled Tours offers trips to Vermilion Bay. Alternatively, those in need of speed can enjoy a day of snowmobiling along the world’s longest interconnected network of groomed trails.
Ice fishing is another great Canadian activity to enjoy in Ontario. 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours offers all-inclusive, fully guided helicopter ice fishing tours, which include round-trip helicopter transfer from Gananoque. Visitors have the opportunity to fish for trout, walleye, pike and perch and take in the stunning views as they fly over the 1000 islands. For an experience hard to find elsewhere, the Arrowhead Provincial Park Ice Skating Trail is a must-do, taking skaters through the wilderness on a dedicated 1.5 mile long trail. Visit during one of the park’s Fire & Ice nights when the trail is illuminated by hundreds of Tiki torches for a truly unique experience. Other notable rinks in Ontario include the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, the largest naturally frozen ice rink in the world, as well as Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto.
The province also offers tubing, ice fishing and sleigh rides, and snowshoeing at a number of provincial parks including Arrowhead, Killarney, Pinery, Wasaga Beach and Windy Lake. Experience the Ultimate Winter Vacation: Located in Muskoka, the Deerhurst Resort is the perfect place to stay while exploring Ontario’s winter wonderland. The quaint “country” resort offers guests a number of different accommodation options, including lakefront rooms, condos, lodges, and vacation homes. There are also a number of winter activities including snowmobiling, skiing, dog sledding and sleigh rides to name a few.
Nearby is the JW Marriott Rosseau Muskoka Resort & Spa, a luxury lakeside resort offering a peaceful sanctuary. You can go cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and skating, among other winter activities. After a busy day, guests can unwind and unwind at the resort’s spa, Spa Rosseau – a full-service luxury spa with eleven treatment rooms including a Vichy room for hydrotherapy.
One for the outdoor enthusiast, visitors to Algonquin Provincial Park can stay in yurts during the winter months. The tent-shaped structures are mounted on a wooden deck floor, offer an electric head and can accommodate up to six people. Yurts are easily accessible at Mew Lake Campground and Achrav Campground.
For more information on Ontario, please visit www.ontariotravel.net