Our two years of living and working in Toronto is almost over so it’s time to start summarizing our collective experiences. Here’s how the skiing around Toronto and Canada we’ve experienced compares, for the novice Aussie skiers that we were when we joined the North Toronto Ski Club last year:
Location: Georgian Peaks (Private Club).
Address: 104 Wensley Drive
The Blue Mountains, ON
Travel time from Toronto: 2 to 2.5 hours
Where to rent: Slalom Gate. across the road, away from the Main Lodge.
Tips for renting: you can pre-order online. Rentals are downstairs. You pay upstairs. We met a friendly though eccentric character who was super knowledgeable but I had no idea what he was rambling on about.
Difficulty of runs: Hill conditions. It’s the highest hill in Ontario and the runs are steep. There were 1.5 greens which suits an intermediate level. I wasn’t brave enough to try any blacks. The runs face North, over frozen lake. In the afternoon as the sun starts to set visibility reduces and you lose seeing where bumpy bits are. This nauseates me.
My favourite runs: Tomahawk Glade (blue) and Champlain (green).
Buying food: cafeteria upstairs and downstairs. Hot food is cooked from scratch and tastes less mass-produced than elsewhere.
Is there a microwave?: two. Plus hot water and milk and sugar and condiments if you bring your own teabag and mug.
Après ski: the cafeteria closed at 15:30 on the Wednesday we went but we’d already crawled in and returned out skis.
Staying longer: you have to drive from elsewhere.
Overall impression: good small club feel, less crowded than Blue, with challenging steeper runs for us.
Will I travel all the way from Australia to come back?: if the ski club is going and I can get an invite on the bus.
Location: Blue Mountain.
Travel time: 2 to 2.5 hours.
Where to rent: at the lodge – either the village if you’re staying the weekend or the other side at South Base Lodge if you went up with NTSC.
Tips for renting: it’s chaos. Get a friend to walk you through if you’ve never rented. There are ipad terminals to register – sometimes you click through and then the bloody thing won’t communicate with its server.
Difficulty of runs: a good range.
My favourite runs: Dr Doug and L-Hill
Buying food: average processed food, or ski village priced places in the village.
Is there a microwave?: Yep.
Après ski: in the village.
Staying longer: we spent a weekend with our neighbours and had a blast, but barely skied compared to a usual day trip.
Overall impression: it’s the main ski hill for Torontonians. When you go West to Banff or Whistler you discover it’s only a hill; the runs are comparatively short.
Will I travel all the way from Australia to come back?: to spend the weekend, for sure!
Location: Beaver Valley
Distance from downtown Toronto: 137 km
Travel time: 1.5 hr.
Where to rent: Squire John’s.
Tips for renting: Know your shoe size.
Difficulty of runs: ranges.
My favourite runs: We only went here in 2014, real beginners. I probably only did the greens.
Buying food: Yes.
Is there a microwave?: Don’t recall.
Après ski: Didn’t stay.
Staying longer: Didn’t stay.
Overall impression: It’s a private club, worth a visit.
Will I travel all the way from Australia to come back?: No.
Location: Mount St Louis Moonstone.
Distance from downtown Toronto:
Where to rent: the left side of the lodge, facing the runs.
Tips for renting: you have to fill out a paper carbon copy form. Take extras for next time and pre-fill and sign.
Difficulty of runs: easy. I started skiing last year an am a cautious skier (unlike my fearless husband) and I am comfortable on all the blacks.
My favourite runs: East and West Peak.
Buying food: upstairs or downstairs cafeteria. Gets extremely crowded.
Is there a microwave?: no.
Overall impression: crowded but comfortable runs and you can ski between St Louis and Moonstone if you think it’s too crowded and it might be better on the other side (as does everybody else).
Will I travel all the way from Australia to come back?: if I’m joining friends.
Location: Devil’s Glen.
1793 County Road 124
Glen Huron, Ontario
Travel time: 2 hours.
Where to rent: ski store to the left of the lodge as you walk up from the carpark, towards the runs.
Tips for renting: grab the paperwork to fill it out if there’s a queue.
Difficulty of runs: a good mix. It was -20°C and snowing the day I went. My goggles fogged and froze and I got vertigo.
My favourite runs: Paradise (green) and River Styx (green).
Buying food: average.
Is there a microwave?: yes.
Après ski: we went mid-week.
Staying longer: N/A.
Overall impression: only experienced the green runs here, nothing memorable good or bad.
Will I travel all the way from Australia to come back?: probably not.