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Whether You Shred Hills or Relax in the Spa, Ontario’s Ski Resorts Offer Unexpected Fun

Hop in the car and explore one of our four favourite local hills

Three people on a ski lift with skis and snowboard equipment heading up a mountain

Picture the best Canadian ski slopes, and chances are images of resorts in the Rockies come to mind. But don't miss out on what's on offer here in Ontario. Terrain runs from steep (thanks to the Niagara Escarpment) to rolling, and facilities range from basic to luxury resorts. Many are within easy driving distance of Toronto or Ottawa, so day trips are doable, though weekend getaways can be more fun.

1. Snow Valley: a hop, skip and a ski jump away

Snow Valley is renowned for its high-calibre lessons and its proximity to Toronto—just over an hour’s drive north. It has 21 trails, nine lifts, a challenging terrain park and gentle hills for beginners, and is one of several outposts for the Ontario chapter of the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing. A recently built lodge, in addition to the 66-year-old hill’s original chalet, means there’s lots of room for après-ski. Other amenities include on-site tubing and snowshoeing.

2. Horseshoe Resort: all-season fun

Horseshoe Resort, just north of Barrie and 25 kilometres past Snow Valley, has 32 trails and six lifts. As the name implies, it’s a resort, with plenty of amenities such as a tube park, cross-country ski trails, slopeside skating and a spa. Two hotels plus a new condo development mean there are lots of accommodation options. There are also just as many activities during the off-season, like swimming, wakeboarding and off-road biking.

View from up high on the hill of the Blue Mountain village in the winter 

3. Blue Mountain: the big kahuna

Blue Mountain is the biggest and most popular ski destination in the province. Set on the Niagara Escarpment, just west of Collingwood on Georgian Bay, this four-season resort boasts 365 acres of skiable terrain, 43 trails and 13 lifts. Night skiing, a terrain park and top-notch lessons add to Blue’s popularity. If you want a break from skiing the slopes, it also has snowshoeing, tubing and mountaintop ice-skating, as well as spas and indoor and outdoor pools. The European-style village at the base of the mountain offers accommodations, restaurants and shops.

4. Calabogie Peaks Resort: drop in and drop down

The biggest vertical drop of any public ski hill in Ontario is at Calabogie Peaks Resort, about an hour west of Ottawa on Calabogie Lake. This hill has three lifts and 24 trails, including the longest beginner trail in the province. Be sure to check out Top Hut, the warming station and snack shack at the summit of Dicksons Mountain.

Explore more of the great outdoors this winter

Discover these alternative winter sports. If walking is more your pace, these hiking trails are all an easy drive from the GTA.

Plus, find out about a new high-design, low-cost hotel in Whistler in the winter 2018 issue of CAA Magazine.

Image credit: Andrea Hamlin/Blue Mountain and Pexels