Resist the temptation to hibernate this winter. This glorious season delivers a whole new menu of exhilarating and empowering outdoor adventures.
When you’re new to winter sports, getting started might feel a little daunting. Ontario’s resorts and ski/snowboard destinations make it easy with flexible teaching lessons for all ages and skill levels, full equipment rental services, programming for guests with special needs and a variety of ticket packages. You just need to take that first step out the front door (TIP: dress code = layers).
KIDS CAMPS AND SCHOOL BREAK PROGRAMS
Did you know many of Ontario’s ski resorts offer camps and lesson programs for kids, tweens and teens during school holidays?
Located just outside Thunder Bay, Loch Lomond Ski Area takes full advantage of Northern Ontario’s splendid winter weather with full and half day ski camps. There are a number of holiday camps and packages at Ski Dagmar, in Uxbridge, about an hour’s drive north of Toronto. Watch the confidence grow as your kiddo graduates from the bunny hills to more challenging slopes during Kid’s Camp at Mount St. Louis Moonstone in Coldwater, just north of Barrie. Classes are super flexible, rentals are available, and the facility is a peanut-free zone. Nearby in Minesing, Ski Snow Valley even offers pre-school programs. The programs for the littlest tykes at Boler Mountain in London include Skee Bees & L’il Rippers classes, while at Laurentian Ski Hill they’re called Squirrels, Chipmunks and L’il Shredders. Warning: cute overload!
Photo credit: Horseshoe Resort
ACCESSIBILITY AND ADAPTIVE PROGRAMS
There’s a growing number of ski properties committed to sharing the joy of winter sport with guests who require special assistance. Innovative programs are designed to remove barriers and help foster the potential in everyone, focusing on ability not disability.
Horseshoe Resort in Barrie runs an 8-week adaptive program in partnership with Canadian Adaptive Snowsports based on a ‘safety-fun-learning’ philosophy. Starting in January, ski and snowboard sessions take place with specialized equipment, such as sit-skis, trained ski partners and CADS certified instructors (watch it in action).
INDIVIDUALIZED LESSONS THAT WORK FOR YOU
It’s never too late to discover your passion for the slopes. In addition to kids camps, most ski facilities offer a variety of personalized training programs from private to group lessons, novice to advanced, and in some cases, offered during off-peak hours.
Kamiskotia Snow Resort in Timmins makes learning hassle-free with private instructions, lift ticket and rental equipment all included in 1-hour lessons. Private or group ski or snowboard lessons at Mount Dufour in Elliott Lake are offered by certified ski and snowboard instructors.
Getting up to the top of the hill at Hockley Valley Resort in Mono is super easy on their ‘Magic Carpet’, a conveyor belt for new and learning skiers and boarders. Need a little BFF support on the slopes? Check out the 8-week All-Women program at Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area in Huntsville. Sessions start with a sport-specific warm-up, followed by a 2-hour lesson and end with a hearty lunch.
Horseshoe Resort offers a sweet First Time Discover Ski and Snowboard deal with lift ticket, equipment and 2-hour lessons for guests 10 and up. Find a learn-to-ski-or-snowboard program that fits your ability level and schedule at Searchmont Resort in Sault Ste. Marie, Blue Mountain Resort, Sir Sams in Haliburton, Lakeridge Ski Resort in Uxbridge and at Laurentian Ski Hill in North Bay.
STAY ON THE SLOPES AT RESORT ACCOMMODATIONS
Now that you’re out owning winter, try your hand at other snow adventures like snowtubing, snowshoeing or fat biking. Many of Ontario’s ski resorts, including Hockley Valley Resort, Blue Mountain Resort, Horseshoe Resort and Searchmont Resort offer a variety of activities and mountainside accommodations from suites to chalets so you can literally stay and play all day.
SNOW NEWS IS GOOD NEWS
The weekly Ski and Snow Report is your go-to for the most up-to-date snow conditions at ski hills and resorts across the province.
What are you waiting for? Avoid the hibernation trap, head to the hills and embrace winter.