Canada’s ski resorts offer as much off-mountain fun as you can fit in
Ice Climbing at Big White Ski Resort– Bits of ice fly in every direction as you plunge the picks of two ice axes – one in each hand – into the towering 18 metre (60 foot) wall of ice at Big White, near Kelowna, British Columbia. With every heart-pounding swing, you pull yourself closer to the top. And you’re not afraid because Jim Ongena, a certified mountain guide, is shouting words of encouragement from below while controlling the rope attached to your safety harness. When you ring the bell at the top and look down – waaaaaay down – you feel on top of the world.
Roller Coasting at Mont Saint-Sauveur– Put on a Viking helmet, climb into a two-person sled and get ready to scream! The Alpine Coaster Viking hurdles down the snowy Québec mountain slope on an elevated track at up to 35 km/h (22 mph). You’ll fly around bends, careening with your toboggan. Don’t worry; you’re strapped in and if you really don’t like the feeling of having your stomach in your mouth, you can lean on the brakes and make your journey a scenic one instead.
Snowmobiling at Blue Mountain Resort– Enjoy the rolling farmland and deciduous forests of the Niagara Escarpment by snowmobile. Blue Mountain Resort, near Collingwood, Ontario, provides guided one-hour tours on some of the thousands of kilometres of trails created and maintained by the Ontario Federation of Snowmobiling Clubs. You don’t need any experience to drive a snowmobile – just a driver’s licence.
Skating at Grouse Mountain– High above Vancouver the air is cold and crisp as you glide across the smooth ice on Grouse Mountain’s 744-square-metre (8,000-square-foot) skating pond. It’s popular with couples looking for a romantic evening skating to music under the stars and families looking for a fun-filled day with the kids. When you need to warm up, head into the Peak Chalet and sit by a roaring fire with a mug of hot chocolate.
Snowshoeing at Mount Washington Alpine Resort– Walk out Mount Washington’s back door and walk into the old growth forest of Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island. Choose from seven marked trails that meander between trees and over frozen lakes. Keep an eye out for gray jays that will feed from your hand if have a snack to share. On Friday and Saturday nights the resort offers an hour of guided snowshoeing, followed by a three-course fondue dinner back at Raven Lodge.