Ontario’s winter Resorts are your gateway to outdoor snow adventure, but did you know they offer a lot more in between frolicking in the flakes and finding a comfy place to crash? Here are five winning ways to après snow this winter in Ontario.
You foodies know that dining is so much more than just the meal. It’s about the total experience.
Elmhirst’s Resort on Rice Lake is committed to seasonal menus made from home-grown or locally sourced ingredients. Maintaining this focus is a lot easier when you have your own farm. Elmhirst’s raises turkeys, Pekin ducks, Angus cows, and keeps bee hives for natural honey. Using an indoor and outdoor greenhouse-to-garden system, they’re able to extend the growing season for herbs and vegetables.
The Striploin and Rib Eye steaks are dry aged for over six weeks to ensure maximum flavour and tenderness and desserts are all created in-house (try the wild rice pudding, a recipe handed down from Grandma Mary-Bell Elmhirst).
What they don’t grow, they source from local farmers. You can’t get more locavore than that.
RED OR WHITE?
Toast a day on the slopes with a glass of home grown, award-winning wine – harvested and hand-crafted onsite.
Located an hour drive outside of Toronto, Hockley Valley Resort is a luxury ski retreat with 15 runs, 4 lifts and a freestyle terrain park. And next door is Adamo Estate Winery; well, 1.8 km or a 3 minute drive, to be exact. Family-owned Hockley Valley and Adamo offer a seamless peaks-to-pinot experience, although we wouldn’t judge if you skipped the ski hills altogether and headed straight to the winery.
Sample a mix & match flight at the winery that focuses on cool climate varietals of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but also produces a lovely Riesling, Gamay Noir, Cabernet Franc and Vidal. Pair with a cheese tray or a charcuterie of meats, pickles and savoury nibbles from the Paddock Café.
Or whisk a bottle of wine back to your room … Salute!
Get some serious TLC at Canada’s top destination spa.
Ste. Anne’s Spa in Grafton (just over an hour east of Toronto) is dedicated to the art of pampering. With more accolades, awards and honours than you can shake a terrycloth robe at, you’d think visiting this property might feel a bit like walking into a shrine. Quite the contrary, Ste. Anne’s is a casual, unfussy, country spa. Bring your bae, your BFF or just your book because this is the perfect place to catch up on ‘us time’ or ‘me time’.
Warm up in the eucalyptus steam room or sauna, and splash between hot tub, plunge pool and outdoor heated Fieldstone Grotto. Seasonal treatments include: the Warm Chocolate Swedish Massage with customized aromatherapy blend of dark chocolate, coconut and peppermint or clementine oil and the Hydrating Hot Chocolate Wrap, a foot to scalp soak and exfoliation.
And yes, both involve consuming chocolate.
A warm fire is the yin to the yang of refreshing snow adventure.
After a day on the trails, it’s time to hygge (a Danish word that translates into a feeling of warmth and coziness), Ontario-style, and no one does it better than Sherwood Inn, a boutique Muskoka resort. As the sun sinks, this resort heats up. Fires are lit in the lounge, the dining room and the outdoor fire pits.
Directly outside the front doors of the main lodge is a large fire pit, surrounded by Muskoka chairs. Meet up, warm up, share blankets, share stories and enjoy a hot chocolate under the winter stars. Hint: give your hot chocolate that little bit extra; add a dash of gingerbread liqueur.
All the lakefront cottage suites at Sherwood feature large, wood-burning fireplaces for ultimate coziness. Catch the winter sunset across the shimmering, frozen lake, while you (and whoever is lucky enough to join you) enjoy the soft glow of a crackling fire.
OWN THE NIGHTLIFE
After a day on the slopes, keep the momentum going well into the night with music, entertainment and … ping pong?
Blue Mountain is Ontario’s most recognized snow destination and keeps ski & snowboard fanatics fuelled with 36 trails on over 250 acres of varying terrain (25 available for night skiing) with 15 lifts, including four high-speed. The Village at Blue is a vibrant pedestrian community of cafes, shops, bars, restaurants and stays awake well into the wee hours.
Catch a live show at MJ Byrne’s Irish Pub in the heart of the village. Known for original cocktails like the Pink Beaver, the Razzamatazz and the ‘Hail Rusty’s’ Caesar, Rusty’s at Blue also hosts a line-up of live acts on weekends and usually ends the night with a light show over the dance floor. Kaytoo Restaurant and Bar features a live DJ on Friday and Saturday nights and Twist Martini Restaurant transforms into a dance floor as night descends.
Looking for something a little different? Book one of the four Olympic standard-sized tables at SMASH Ping Pong and Nite Club, Blue Mountain’s only Ping Pong club. The place turns into a top 40 nightclub after 10 pm, so recharge with peppercorn poutine or fish tacos from their late night menu before busting a move.
Dine Well: Elmhirst’s Resort
Spa Pampering: Ste. Anne’s Spa
Get Fireside: Sherwood Inn by Paul Bennett Photography