I started skiing about four years ago. I hated it for the first year and a little bit of the second, but then I figured it out and I love it. As a kid, I had this fear I would lose a ski, then have to ski down the hill on one foot, then have to pay for the ski I lost leading to my parent’s ultimate financial ruin. This was a genuine fear for me that kept me from skiing. I was a weird kid.
Two places in the world have private ski clubs: Ellicottville and The Blue Mountains. Membership in these private clubs can be pricey (yearly at Georgian Peaks starts at $4000, lifetime at $35,000), but worth it to some. Like any private club, membership has its perks; not the least of which is saying you’re in a private club.
I still prefer skiing Blue because of the village (note that I have yet to save a member’s life thereby being granted honorary membership, but still). I live minutes from Snow Valley, and at least an hour from Blue. It’s worth the drive. Skiing for us is an event and I like it like that. We go for dinner. We go for drinks. We do some runs. We meet some friends. we do some shopping in the village. Heck, we’ll sometimes just go to the village. It is one o the very few places outside of Toronto, that is walkable. It’s easy to blame the culture of convenience and the proliferation of Big Box stores that destroyed downtown Bobcaygeon. With those big boxes stores came parking lots and we lost the the nice places to just walk around (if they ever really existed in the first place). The Blue mountains, with its focus on ski and adventure built that with their village. When we go skiing, we go to Blue.
I never thought when I was that kid that I could, you know, walk up that hill and retrieve my one ski (with or without the other one equipped). the hill was insurmountable, impossible to conquer on foot and I was much better off not doing things. I was wrong. My four year old walked up it.
Like I said, in all of Ontario there are few places outside of Toronto that are as walkable as Blue. most places just can’t support it. What that means is if we want to go for a walk and shop or a good hike, we head to Blue. There are enough visitors throughout the year to keep the place vibrant and on even miserable days there are enough things to do that people aren’t just shuffling to shelter, but genuinely making the most f their time. The heated outdoor pool helps.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, there is a spot just past the Collingwood Caves (also a very fun option), at the Nottawasa Lookout where you can park and go for one of the greatest nature walks on Earth. The bluffs are part of the The Bruce Trail, which has some amazing sights all around, but in particular in this area. Some spelunking is a genuine option.
I admit I have only climbed once almost 15 years ago. For a couple years on and off on drives I’ve been trying to stumble on the place again. It’s called Metcalfe’s Rock and it’s fantastic. I want to do some climbing again, but it’s something that may have to wait for a few more years. Repelling is still one of the funnest things I have ever done. The area offers some great climbs if you know where to look. Adventure doesn’t have to be in the Rockies or in the Alps. Sometimes its an hour away.
Like most ski hills in the summer, the option exists to put on a helmet and grab two wheels and roll down as fast as you can. I prefer the road biking in the Blue Mountains simply because of the open spaces and long distances with few cars. Biking is great. I don’t know what more to say about it because if you don’t bicycle I don’t understand you. Get a roof rack or a bike rack and just go man. Just go.
5. Eat & Shop & Relax
The great thing about Blue is the village and sure, I admit, there is a somewhat consistent bar fare that permeates the restaurants in the village. I’ve had good and bad at most, but I will say this about them; they’re not chain restaurants and there is enough options to make you not feel like you’re eating at the same place every time you go out.
Shopping is a little restricted, but if you’re doing items 1 through 4 on this list, then yeah, you’re going to have a need for something from one of the stores. you won’t find a new suit, unless you’re looking for a new snow suit and you’ll have a hard time fancy walking shoes, but if you’re looking for those you’re in the wrong place anyway.
After getting your gear, feeding your body, you can go relax the rest of the night at the Scandnave Spa enjoying the tranquility of a quiet environment, hot and cold baths and general all around relaxation, unless you have kids with you, then just enjoy the quiet car ride home while they sleep and you think about how nice it must be to go to the spa for once.
Not Included: Swim
This activity does not need to be spelled out. If you see water. Jump in it. Georgian Bay is right there. You can’t miss it. There’s also that heated pool. In and around the area that is not Wasaga (which is awesome) is Craigleith.
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