Thinking about planning your next great, Canadian ski getaway? Here are 12 Great White North resorts that powder seekers and newbie skiers will have a blast exploring.
Neighbouring Whistler and Blackcomb mountains in British Columbia are about as famous as it gets among Canadian ski destinations. The spirit and good times found in this touristy town is infectious, but the athleticism and skiing is still serious biz, with more than 200 runs, 8,171 acres of terrain and16 alpine bowls. Whistler village is bustling with shops, bars and restaurants — a fun-filled spot to decompress after a day on the slopes. While there, be sure to try dog-sledding, zip trekking and relaxing on a leisurely sleigh ride. Visit Whistler Blackcomb for more info.
A dream come true for high-peak seekers, Marmot Basin has 86 runs along 3,000 vertical feet of drop in the stunning Canadian Rockies. The attitude is friendly and relaxed and there are plenty of runs for all levels. Plus you will find dogsledding, ice skating and cross country skiing. For more info, visit: Marmot Basin.
Reach new heights at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, which has North America's greatest vertical lift service at 5,620 feet. Loved for the 3,121 acres of fall line skiing, high alpine bowls and day and night skiing. While the majority of runs at Revelstoke cater to advanced and intermediate skiers, newbie enthusiasts can hone their skills at Turtle Creek Beginner Area at the village base. Also available is snowmobiling, dogsledding and paragliding. For more info, visit: Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
Just 45 minutes from Kamloops, for those looking for a laid-back ski destination, Sun Peaks is it. Boasting three mountains, Sun Peaks is the third largest ski area in Canada, offering 152 runs as well as cross country skiing, mountain tours snowshoeing, snowmobiling and dogsledding. During the summer months, take advantage of the hiking, biking and golf. Added bonus: This resort lives up to its name with more than 2,000 hours of sunshine annually. For info, visit: Sun Peaks.
Nighttime ski lovers will love Mont Sainte-Anne for its 19 lit trails, including the highest night skiing vertical in the country. A good spot for all ski levels and lots to do for non-skiers, from canyoning, tubing and ice skating to dogsledding, paragliding and enjoying Zen time at one of the Nordic spas. For more info, visit: Mont Sainte-Anne.
Skiers and non-skiers alike flock to Lake Louise for the breathtaking scenery of the Rockies and the UNESCO World Heritage site, Banff National Parks. Of course there is no shortage of skiing with the ‘Big Three’ ski resorts in the area: Mt. Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise Mountain Resort, all of which offer child-friendly activities. For more info, visit: Banff/Lake Louise
A ‘must’ in the heart of most Canadian skiers, Fernie, British Columbia is known for its incredible powder, five alpine bowls and more than 140 adrenaline-pumping runs. This hip mountain town also packs a warm, welcoming vibe, along with shops for stocking up on supplies and eateries to replenish your energy. Very kid friendly with movies and games and activities for non-skiers, including snowshoeing and ziplining. For more info, visit: Fernie Alpine Resort.
The town of Golden is a fantastic town for the non-skiers in your group, but slope hounds will definitely get their powder fix at Kicking Horse, which offers more than 120 across 2,800 acres. Take a daybreak and visit the Wolf Centre in Golden or get a different kind of workout at the indoor rock climbing gym and then let your muscles simmer at the hot springs. Before you leave, be sure to visit Canada’s highest restaurant, the Eagle’s Eye, for a vertical view from 4,000 feet. For more info, visit: Kicking Horse Resort.
When visiting Blue Mountain Resort, it truly is worth staying over. This pretty resort near Collingwood is the largest in Ontario, featuring 42 trails, which cater to bunny-hill newbies and double black diamond seekers and everyone in between. The lively village offers terrific après-ski spots, including cafes, pubs and restaurants that trail off into more energetic nightlife later on. For more info, visit: Blue Mountain Resort.
Revel in the lively East Coast spirit and warm hospitality at Marble Mountain, Newfoundland. Marble has 39 runs catering to all levels, along with Marble Zip Tours, hiking and sightseeing and ski-town shopping and good eats nearby. For more info, visit: Marble Mountain Resort.
While this year-round resort speaks to summer lovers and winter enthusiasts alike, the 29 ski runs and night runs at Horseshoe Resort draws both beginner and seasoned skiers to its powdery slopes. Located an hour north of Toronto in Barrie, this popular spot also boasts a bike park, treetop trekking and Segway adventures in the warmer months. For more info, visit: Horseshoe Resort.
One of the largest family-run ski resorts in Ontario, Mount St. Louis Moonstone is located in the province’s snow belt just north of Barrie and has been in business 50 years. Fun events take place on the grounds throughout the year, but during the winter months, snow seekers will find 36 slopes that cater to all levels of skiers and snowboarders. This family-friendly, no pressure spot is a great place to learn. For more info, visit: Mount St. Louis Moonstone.
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Our home is filled with many frightening things. There are monsters, big and small, and apparently many ghosts. I am not sure exactly when they all got here — maybe they’ve always been here — but suddenly they are everywhere. That is, according to our two-and-a-half year-old son.
Lately the monsters and ghosts have been jolting our little guy awake in the middle of the night. At about 3 a.m. we hear him calling for us.
“I want to go in mommy’s bed,” he pleads, his tiny body shaking and sweaty from fear. I pick him up and bring him to the “big bed,” where he is instantly comforted and drifts back to sleep within minutes. One night he asked my husband where the crying baby in his room went. Yeah, that was kind of freaky.
Our child’s imaginary companions come out during the daytime, too, but they are generally a fun and friendly bunch, unlike their after-dark counterparts who seem a bit hauntingly sinister.
“There’s a blue monster, mommy!" he says happily.
"Right there! It’s a big monster!” he exclaims pointing to the sunny kitchen window where the creature is apparently stationed.
“Go away monster!” he orders. He then pretends he’s Buzz Lightyear and that his arm is equipped with a laser beam, which he uses to fend the monsters off with. He is the cutest space ranger I’ve ever seen.
I too help shoo the monsters and ghosts away. Sometimes we roar like tigers, other times we tickle them until they leave.
My husband and I get the most basic details: The monster is yellow, red or green, the ghost is big or very small. Sometimes the ghost is friendly, other times it is “not happy.” While I am not convinced we have ghosts or monsters roaming about, when our son tells us he can see something, I believe him. I can only imagine how scary these things look through his innocent eyes. Indeed, this is the creative works of the wildly imaginative toddler mind (at least we hope that it is, as we certainly don’t want to get into the creepy ‘I see dead people’ kind of territory here).
A Google search of this eerie phenomenon pulls up some fascinating pages. Some websites suggest our child may be sensitive to paranormal activity and is actually seeing ghosts. He may even be psychic! Meanwhile, a post on Baby Center advises we buy a bottle and fill it with monster spray to help empower him, which I think is a pretty cool idea for any number of situations, really.
It also advises finding ways to develop coping mechanisms.
“It will help if your child learns how to cope with his fears and understand that he is not in danger. But that's easier said than done. There is a fine line between reassuring him and reinforcing his fears. It's important not to ignore his fears, but on the other hand you can't comfort him too much because you may inadvertently give him the message that he really does have something to be afraid of.”
For really young children, dealing with these types of situations can be tricky.
A 2011 study in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology titled Monsters, ghosts and witches: Testing the limits of the fantasy—reality distinction in young children, found that "children from the ages of three to five were only able to distinguish real people from fictional ideas, such as monsters and dragons, 40 per cent of the time."
This means we have some time yet before our son can truly grasp the differences between of make-believe and reality.
For now, we’ll continue to do our best to try and reassure and comfort him, and hope that this is just another passing phase.
In the meantime, should you hear us shouting ‘go away monster!’ or see us chasing ghosts away, please don’t be alarmed — They’re not real.
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Some things are inherently creepy about the myth of Santa Claus.
As an adult, I can see this.
The line, “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake,” in the beloved Christmas tune, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, gives me the willies.
So does the idea of telling our kids to go sit on the lap of a bearded stranger to ask for free stuff and then unquestioningly accept candy from him (all completely at odds with teaching our children not to talk to strangers or accept candy from them).
Then, to top it all off, we tell our children that this red-cloaked man flies around the world in a sleigh pulled by reindeer so that he can sneak into our homes late at night and deliver a pile of gifts, while tossing back endless helpings of baked goods.
All this being said, a long time ago, I believed in Santa Claus.
At what point I stopped believing in him is a bit of a mystery, but the discovery of this fallacy certainly didn’t leave any major dents on my psyche or conjure up feelings of betrayal.
But now it’s my turn to lie, and this Christmas I found myself wrestling with the question countless parents before me have wrestled with: Do my husband and I continue to perpetuate the Santa Claus myth?
Do we lie to our child?
And if we don't, can we live with being those parents? You know, the Bah Humbug ones hated by their fellow community members for their unwillingness to go along with age-old narratives of Saint Nick and, in their refusal to do so, destroy the dreams of countless other kids in their child’s orbit?
No, we can't.
Yet, it is all highly strange.
How did so many grown-ups (the majority of whom we’ll assume are sane) agree to go along with this widespread lie?
I think I might know.
Recently, my husband and I took our two-and-a-half year-old to see Santa.
His little friend came along, too, and while we waited for Santa’s arrival, the two of them were chatting and laughing animatedly. They ran about as though they’d been downing pints of liquefied sugar all morning (they hadn’t been).
Then, as Santa came into sight, they froze.
They were utterly speechless.
Santa took his spot on a lovely plaid bench and soon we were ushering the boys toward him.
As they sat down, their eyes filled with awe and wonderment.
It was the look of pure unadulterated joy. In that moment, I could see Santa Claus through the wide, star-struck eyes of my child.
This was it.
This is why we lie to our kids.
When we see our children and their sweet openness to the world — so lacking in cynicism, so inviting — we fully understand how beautiful and fleeting a thing like this is.
It is magical.
We know that one day not too long from now, it will be gone. Writing that last line brought tears to my eyes. Like many of you, I want to bottle up these precious moments of childhood and keep them with me forever.
That night, I asked my son what his favourite part of the day was.
When he answered, his eyes twinkled and he revealed that delicious infectious smile of his, “Seeing Santa Claus!” he exclaimed.
Me, too, I thought.
And once again (this time as a full-grown and presumably sane adult), that wonderful childlike spirit of the holidays is alive and I find myself believing in the mystifying magic of jolly Old Saint Nicholas.
Who knows, maybe secretly I always have.
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