Crush your new year’s resolution with these bucket list winter adventures in Ontario.
ICE CLIMBING: WINTER’S MOST GRIPPING ADVENTURE
Set the bar high this year on a tower of ice. After that, well, you’ve got the rest of the year to brag about it. Northern Ontario is a mecca for hard core climbers, as it boasts some of Canada’s best year-round climbing.
Join Outdoor Skills and Thrills for fully-outfitted and guided ice climbing excursions just outside Thunder Bay to cliffs, rock faces and icefalls in Orient Bay, Kama Bay, Dorion, Red Rock or Nipigon. Founder Aric Fishman is certified by the Professional Climbing Guides Institute, and his passion for the sport is infectious.
Outings are between 6 and 8 hours, and you don’t have to be a pro – one of their most popular winter programs is the Beginners Ice Climbing Adventure.
SNOWKITING: IT’S A REAL THING AND IT’S AMAZING
Attention thrill seekers – this is the new wave of gnarl. Experience the euphoria of surfing and soaring across a frozen lake or a snowy field with the harnessed power of Ontario’s winter wind to give you lift and speed. Are you game?
In addition, they’ll gear you up with harnesses, helmet and kite of course, and can arrange skis or snowboard rentals too. Dress warmly; think snow pants and layer up. Keep in mind the sport is heavily weather dependent, so you’ll need to be mobile and flexible. Spontaneity is part of the fun!
BOONDOCKING: WHAT IS IT AND HOW DO I GET ME SOME OF THAT?
Want to really throw down this winter? Be one of the first this season to experience Ontario’s only snowmobiling playground dedicated to ‘boondocking’ – off-trail, backcountry powder riding in Algoma Country.
With its expansive old growth forest wilderness, rugged Canadian Shield terrain, and a long and plentiful snow season, Algoma Country is a snowmobiler’s paradise. Wawa, located just north of Lake Superior Provincial Park, is the boondocking gateway and offers sled friendly accommodations, rentals shops and experienced guides.
You’ll need to get your OFSC Trail Permit, and in addition you’ll be required to obtain passes for the playground as there is a check-in program in place. The best part: this is open to both the novice and the avid. Need rentals, gear and guides? No problem. Jones Powersports will get you fully outfitted. It’ll blow your mind.
SNOW TUBING: THE ULTIMATE ‘ALL-THRILL, NO SKILL’ ADVENTURE
Consider snow tubing the evolution of the quintessential Canadian sport – tobogganing. Like tobogganing, snow tubing basically involves sliding down an icy hill at thrilling speeds, but with the added element of spinning!
New this season, Thunder Tube Park at Horseshoe Resort has doubled the length of their tube hill with an extra 1,200 feet, making it Ontario’s longest snow tubing hill. The dedicated tubing facility features a steep drop off, five big chutes, plus two tube-drops at the bottom, and of course, the magic carpet lift back up.
Horseshoe Resort is located just outside of Barrie, on the southern edge of Ontario’s Snowbelt. Purchase single ride vouchers, two hour tickets or a multi-day unlimited pass for the truly passionate.
DOGSLEDDING: WHAT RAW POWER FEELS LIKE
This is a winter game changer; you’ll gain a new appreciation for the season, the sport and the scenery. The dogs will simply melt your heart.
Hank Debruin and Tanya McCready-DeBruin, own and operate Winterdance Dogsled Tours on almost 5,000 acres of property bordering Algonquin Provincial Park in the Haliburton Highlands. Winterdance raises and runs purebred Siberian Huskies, an affectionate and hard-working breed (these guys run up to 20 kilometres per hour).
Opt for a 2 hour, ½ day, full-day, moonlit or multi-day sledding trip. Or go star status and book the Heli-Dogsledding Tour; arrive by private helicopter and enjoy a dog sledding tour complete with trailside lunch by a roaring fire. All trips are fully outfitted and guided; just come dressed warmly, keep your camera close and get ready to be blown away.
Featured Photo (top): Paul Desaulniers, Outdoor Skills and Thrills
Dogsledding: Winterdance Dogsled Tours
Ice Climbing: Terry Milne, Outdoor Skills and Thrills
Snowkiting: iKite Canada
Boondocking: Virgil Knapp
Snow Tubing: Horseshoe Resort