Toronto and the GTA are a great place to spend winter if you enjoy outdoor activities, especially skiing and snowboarding. There are many great ski resorts around Toronto that are usually draped in a white blanket during the winter. You don't even have to leave the city if you're satisfied with a smaller slope that is in fact a very suitable option for young kids that are only beginning. However, if you're looking for a nice, more challenging ski slope, you'll have to leave the city. When you're willing to get up earlier and drive for a while, you can be sure that you'll have a great day skiing on perfect, long slopes. Ski resorts near Toronto are accessible, fun, and cost-efficient. Here is a small guide for ski and snowboard enthusiasts in Toronto.
The largest ski resort in Ontario is just two hours north of Toronto. Blue Mountain has really a lot to offer: two terrain parks, 13 lifts including 5 magic carpets, more than 42 trails, and some of the highest vertical drops in Ontario: 220 metres (720 feet). The runs at Blue are very well kept, the lifts are reasonably fast, and they offer free equipment checks. If you're a fan of night skiing, Blue Mountain won't let you down, as it operates 30 trails under the lights. As Ashley Amis, PR manager of the resort, says:
Whether you're a beginner just getting your snow legs or a seasoned pro, there's a trail and activity for you at Blue Mountain.
Blue Mountain by Nicki Varkevisser
You should also note that the uphill capacity of Blue Mountain is 21,690 skiers per hour. Ashley also told us about her personal favourite, the Southern Cross trail, which opened in 2013:
It's been carved right into the limestone bedrock of the mountain, which means that it's really one of the most picturesque trails you can find on Resort. It's narrow and winding and if you didn't know you were skiing in Ontario, you'd swear you were out West or in the mountains of Colorado.
Even though the price of a weekend full day (9:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M.) adult ticket is one of the most expensive in Ontario (starting at $99 for Double Down pass), spending a day or a weekend at Blue Mountain is worth it. Furthermore, the Blue Mountain resort is very popular for the abundance of activities you can do when visiting this lovely place. Apart from skiing and snowboarding, the favourite winter activities are skating, snow-tubing, winter caving, night tours, snowmobiling, and snow shoeing. There are five unique hotels surrounding the Blue Mountain Village that provide a variety of options ranging in size from studios to three bedrooms.
Toll Free: 1-866-HOCKLEY (462-5539)
If you don't want to drive all the way up to Blue Mountain, Hockley Valley is a great choice. It's only about an hour away from Toronto. Hockley Valley Resort includes three surface lifts, two quads, 14 trails for downhill skiing and snowboarding, an expanded terrain park, beginner terrain, and a half pipe. Beginners will appreciate ski and snowboard lessons given by instructors with a great reputation. Moreover, there are 30 lights available, so the whole mountain is prepared for night skiing. A weekend full-day ticket will cost you $47, while a seasonal pass runs $550.
Hockley is very popular — especially among Torontonians, many of whom tend to stay here for the whole weekend or even longer. The resort has 100 guest rooms and is available four seasons. Services are on a decent level and there are always a lots of things to do here. Visitors can enjoy an 18-hole championship golf course, a European spa, snowshoeing, a skating rink, a fitness club, an indoor pool, and much more.
Snow and sky Hockley Valley by Matthew Ingram
Phone: (855) 808-4211
Horseshoe Resort is located about one hour north of Toronto just to the northeast of Barrie. This mid-sized ski resort claims to have the longest ski season in Southern Ontario. There are 29 Alpine ski and snowboard runs, 40 kilometres of Nordic trails suitable for all kinds of skiers, a competition-level half pipe, a terrain park with more than 20 features, two full championship golf courses, and much more.
The longest run of this resort is 670 metres long and the top elevation is 406 meters and the entire mountain is suitable for night skiing. Visitors can also enjoy an opportunity to try fat-biking, ice-skating, or snow-tubing or go for a snow-shoeing walk. The adult full-day ticket at Horseshoe costs $55. Many people appreciate that the whole resort is a dog-friendly area.
Mount St. Louis Moonstone
Toll Free: (877) 835-2112
Mount St. Louis is a popular destination located just one hour north of Toronto. Even though it doesn't offer night accommodation, this resort is struck by a huge number of visitors each winter. The main reasons for its popularity are 36 well kept slopes serviced by nine chair lifts and three surface lifts. The wait time in lines is very short thanks to the resort's decent lift capacity of 23,600 skiers per hour. Moreover, if you want to spend the whole weekend or a week here, there are many places nearby where you can stay, such as Seasons Change, Stonegate Inn, or Christie's Mill. The park also offers two super pipes groomed by a Zaugg super pipe machine. The price of a full-day adult ticket is $56.
Up until this year, the hours of operation here were a bit shorter than in other Ontario resorts. However, much has changed this season.
After all these years, it's time to ski and snowboard under the lights,
says Josl Huter, CEO and a founder of the resort. He also adds an invitation:
Opening day in 1964, lift tickets to Mount St Louis were $4.50! Join us Friday December 19th, 2014, and MSLM will celebrate by offering that same price with a food bank donation!
Mount St Louis Moonstone by Alex Indigo
Earl Bales Park
E-mail: email@example.com (City of Toronto contact)
This ski resort, located just one light south of Sheppard Avenue W, inside Earl Bales Park, includes facilities like a ski and snowboard school, snowboard and downhill rentals, helmet rentals, hi-tech snow-making, a four-person chair lift, night skiing, a rope tow, and much more. It's a very nice place for beginner skiers, which offers three intermediate slopes and one beginner run.
North York Ski Hill at Earl Bales Park by Jon Watts
Many people describe the park as having "a cute hill" that's especially useful when you want a not-too-demanding place to kick off the season with your kids or start learning. A full-day ticket costs $31.50, and if you need to rent full equipment, you'll pay about $28.50. An additional $5 is required for helmet rental.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (City of Toronto contact)
Phone: (416) 394-8753 (Snow School Office)
Centennial Park is one of the two ski spots within the borders of Toronto, located one block west of Renforth Drive, north of Rathburn Road. It's another city-operated ski and snowboard centre that consists of one intermediate slope, one beginner slope, and a snowboard slope. Centennial Park offers various facilities such as ski and snowboard schools, rentals, hi-tech snow-making, a tow-bar, a carpet lift, night skiing, and a snack bar. The park sometimes also organizes ski and snowboard camps, where kids can come over a learn a few new tricks over the duration of the program.
A full-day ticket runs $31.50, and full equipment rental costs $28.50.
The City of Toronto: Snowboarding in Centennial Park
Phone: (905) 878-5011
Glen Eden ski resort is located just 40 minutes west of Toronto and minutes from other cities like Mississauga, Oakville, and Burlington. The prices at Glen Eden are very good, as the resort prides itself for being affordable for families: lift tickets start at $33 dollars for a full day and $20 for morning or evening during the week.
Tubing Field by Keith Bellvay
Cory Patten, the resort's marketing director, described the improvements in the park for us:
Over the past couple of seasons we have invested heavily in updating our infrastructure throughout the property: new lift, new Visitor Service Centre, snowmaking system upgrades, and more.
The resort offers a fully equipped terrain park for snowboarders, snow-tubing, snow-shoeing, and lessons for all ages and ski levels. There are five lifts at the park, and the waiting times are bearable. This season a new offering to us is in our rental shop. If you're completely new to skiing or snowboarding and don't have anything we can completely outfit you head to toe. We are renting snow pants and jackets to make your first experience sliding a comfortable one,
Overall, Glen Eden is a very nice ski resort suitable for both experienced skiers and beginners that is worth a visit. As Cory puts it,Really it's nothing but smiles around here. That's the best part.
Hidden Valley Highlands
Toll Free: (800) 398-9555
Hidden Valley Highlands ski resort is located approximately two hours north of Toronto. This resort offers four lifts, three of which are quad chairs and one a surface lift. There are runs suitable for all kinds of skiers and the vertical drop at Hidden Valley is 100 metres. They also offer night skiing, and the capacity of this resort is 6,500 persons per hour.
The all-day ticket price for adults costs $66. It's not a very big ski resort, and if you prefer longer and more difficult runs, you probably won't appreciate Hidden Valley as much as beginners do. However, many people claim that this place is an excellent spot to return to skiing after a long time or to start the season before moving to bigger resorts.
You can find Dagmar ski resort in Uxbridge, in the Oak Ridge Moraine north of Ajax and Whitby. It's about an hour's drive from Toronto and as snow school director Meredith Youmans says, the resort
is always working hard to be the first to open each season.
This ski resort includes 17 ski trails of all kinds of difficulties, served by six lifts that also operate during nights.
Dagmar Resort by Valerie Lam
Meredith also shared why the resort should be the top choice, especially for families with kids:
We have the best learning terrain around with two magic carpet lifts (like moving conveyer belts) and a baby chairlift. We also have the largest Terrain Park in Durham region with over 100 features.
The facilities at Dagmar Resort include a coffee lounge and a restaurant with a licensed bar (where you can share a cup of hot chocolate with Meredith and other instructors after a long day of winter fun). The prices of lift tickets range between $43.36 and $51.33, depending on when and for how long you plan to ski.
Lakeridge Ski Resort
Lakeridge Resort also lies in the beautiful Oak Ridge Moraine in Uxbridge, Ontario. Visitors of this charming resort can enjoy 23 runs spread over 70 acres suitable for all kinds of skiers. It also has mogul runs and three dedicated snowboard terrain parks. Night skiing is normally available until 9:30 P.M. Many people recall learning to ski here and that's still what's most appreciated about the resort — it is a great place for families and kids.
The prices are a bit higher (an adult, full-day and night ticket costs $57.75) when you take into consideration the length of the slopes. However, you won't spend much time in lines (outside peak days and special events), and the natural beauty surrounding the resort is beautiful.