When the city is awash with ugly piles of dirty snow, imagine a place where the white stuff stays white, and the magic of winter inspires and delights. This is cottage country in what we think is one of the best times of the year.
Enjoy stunning sunrises and sunsets; hike across frozen lakes; explore pristine woodland on snow shoes, and come home to a cosy cottage at the end of another amazing day.
Have we tempted you yet? How about the activities……?
Ontario isn’t a mecca for downhill skiing but there are still some great spots to spend a day on the slopes. Let’s start with Blue Mountain near Collingwood, Ontario’s only year-round mountain resort and spa. Blue’s 42 trails across 364 acres of skiable terrain will keep most ski enthusiasts happy.
Hidden Valley in Huntsville is where Sochi Olympic medallist Dara Howell began her ski career, so you are in good company if you get on the slopes there.
Haliburton’s ski area is Sir Sam’s and is home to trails and terrain park about 12kms north of the town of Haliburton.
In the Eastern Ontario, Ottawa area, head to Mount Pakenham where you can Ski, Snowboard and Tube! They have something for every age group.
Cross Country Skiing
Nothing beats the peace of a blue-sky winter’s day on a well-groomed cross-country trail. Whether you are an experienced skiier or have never tried the sport before, there’s a trail for you. Try Arrowhead Provincial Park if you need to rent your gear, or head to Kawartha Nordic, south of Bancroft for a one-on-one lesson and ski rental.
If you are comfortable with non-groomed trails, you’ll find them in most provincial parks.
When you bring your snowmobile to a cottage and can get straight out on the trails from the door, it’s such a bonus.
Alternatively, if it’s something you’ve never tried before, did you know you can rent one? Skidoo Rentals has outlets in Haliburton and Muskoka – rent for a day or a weekend and have a ton of fun. If you’re able to travel to cottage country mid-week, rates are very reasonable.
If you haven’t heard of the Fire & Ice Nights at Arrowhead Provincial Park, it’s something to behold! Covering 1.3 Kms of trail through the Muskoka forest, guests can skate their way through day or night. During the evening is when it really comes alive when it is lit with hundreds of Tiki Torch lights throughout the trail. Be sure to check in to confirm the trail is open before making the trip, it is weather dependent of course!
If Arrowhead is a bit out of reach, Johnson’s Cranberry Marsh in Bala, is another bucketlist experience with a 1.2Km skating loop, surrounded by forest on one side and the cranberry bogs on the other. Fun fact, this is the only trail where you can skate by waterfalls, warm up by the fire and sample hot mulled-wine and hot cran-apple cider! You can even enjoy a game of Bog Hockey or jump onto the Snowshoe Trail. Once again, be sure to check for hours and conditions before arriving.
If you plan on skating on any of Ontario’s beautiful frozen lakes, be sure to test the water and get to know the area first. Not all lakes freeze equally and some are never safe for supporting winter ice sports. Testing with an auger and asking questions before venturing out on the ice is always necessary.
Be sure to ask our Reservationists if you have specific activities that you would like to enjoy during your holiday and we will make sure to guide you in the right direction! Our properties each have unique experiences and we love exceeding our guest’s expectations. Whether ice fishing, snowmobiling, skating on the lake or touring local villages, please don’t hesitate to be as specific as you’d like!