The Best Ski Resorts in Ontario
Finding a good ski resort in Ontario can be tough, especially if you’ve ever experienced the notorious beastly mountains out west, like Whistler or Revelstoke. Ontario is considerably flatter than our Western counterparts, but there is still some quality skiing to be done close to home thanks to our cold and snowy winters (the only time this phrase is allowed!). Save yourself the airfare, and check out these top ski resorts in Ontario that, while not the most challenging slopes you’ll ever experience, have tons to offer regarding lodging, dining, and fun outdoor activities.
Horseshoe Ski Resort
If you’re looking for a ski resort that offers a little bit of everything, Horseshoe Valley is your best bet. Located just an hour north of Toronto, Horseshoe has a ton of winter activities that are sure to please even your most hyperactive kid. They can choose from snowshoeing, snowmobiling, snow tubing, skating, and even a horribly named sport called fat biking—a type of winter mountain biking with extra wide tires.
There’s a nice mix of 29 different ski and snowboard runs ranging from easy to expert, as well as 45 kilometres of Nordic skiing—in case you don’t feel up to hurtling down a hill. There’s also an onsite spa (hello!) where you can get standard services like mani-pedis and facials that are only slightly more expensive than non-resort spas. Accommodations right on the resort will cost you about the same as a decent hotel would, but at least this way you don’t have to drive anywhere and some of the lodges are even pet-friendly.
Overall, Horseshoe is ideal for families that want to enjoy some winter fun without having to drive too far or break the bank. The ski runs might not be the most thrilling, but there are enough of them to keep you busy, and the new high-speed chairlift will help you get the most out of your lift ticket.
Lift ticket price: $54 adult/$44 youth
Blue Mountain Resort is the largest ski resort in Ontario, with 42 trails and an adorable village that brings to mind Mont Tremblant in Quebec. Blue Mountain is the third busiest resort in Canada, which means you’ll be hard-pressed not to find something to like about it. The village is probably the best part, offering loads of restaurants, bars, and shopping.
The surrounding area is full of unique activities, like caves, wineries, and thermal baths—this might be the most relaxing thing place you’ll ever go. Your teens will love the badass terrain park full of jumps, rails, and pipes—they might even thank you after the trip is over. Blue is frequently one of the top-rated ski resorts in Canada, and for good reason; there’s so much to do, you can’t possibly get bored. You can find great lodging options, from resort homes to hotel rooms, but be prepared to drop some money. The weekend will be an expensive one, but you can find ways to soften the blow to your wallet, like rooming and dining off the resort and sticking to the slopes. In short, Blue Mountain is the resort for you if you want a livelier and more adventurous ski trip.
Lift ticket price: $66 adult/$49 youth
Mount St. Louis Moonstone
Mount St. Louis Moonstone is a quaint ski resort dating back to 1964 that’s an easy drive from GTA. You won’t find as much “fluff” here as other ski resorts; St. Louis focuses on providing great skiing and snowboarding, and not a whole lot else. That being said, it’s a great place to learn to ski and to master the basics; they have a comprehensive snow school offering not just beginner lessons but advanced performance training as well so that you can raise a master ski prodigy of your own.
Parents wanting a break can hand off their kids to the on-site childcare centre, which is a nice reassurance that other parents need time off too. You can rent equipment easily, and even trade up at their annual Ski Swap. St. Louis doesn’t offer slope-side accommodations, but you’ll easily be able to find a nice variety of affordable hotels nearby if you decide to make it a weekend trip. However, St. Louis is a great day-trip option in Ontario; you can get a full day of skiing thanks to their reliable and speedy snow-making machine, and parents will appreciate the family-friendly vibe. If blissful, scenic and uninterrupted powder-surfing is what you’re after, then look no further.
Lift ticket price: $59 adult/$45 youth
Because the GTA isn’t the center of the universe, this resort is located in Eastern Ontario about a 40-minute drive west of Ottawa. Don’t let the silly name fool you—Calabogie Peaks means business with the highest vertical drop among Ontario skill hills at 232 metres (which is kind of a big deal for this vertically challenged province).
Calabogie Peaks is rated one of the best parks in Eastern Ontario, praised for its short wait times and fantastic runs with the most varied terrain. Runs are geared more towards intermediate and advanced skiers but don’t worry; there’s still your trusty bunny hill.
They offer sensational events at night, like comedy acts and music festivals, and the hotel is just a two-minute walk from the ski lifts. You get all the usual activities, including Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, but you can even go ice fishing on the lake 5 minutes away, which is a nice way to get rid of husbands for the day. Ottawa is nearby too, so you can pack in a day of sightseeing to your weekend.
The only downside to the resort is the limited and pricey dining options, but despite this, Calabogie Peaks is one of the more affordable resorts in Ontario. Lift tickets are pretty reasonably priced, and they even offer cheaper four-hour passes and weekday discounts. Plus, you can get your entire ski rental package for just $29, which is laughably cheap. Calabogie Peaks is a good option if you don’t feel up to driving to Mont Tremblant, but still want to get the heck out of Dodge—er, the GTA.
Lift ticket price: $42 adult/$37 youth