5 active winter vacation ideas
Longing to get away with your family or friends? We rounded up some fun and healthy winter vacation ideas
Embrace Canadian winters with these great getaways
While winter inevitably invites hibernation, we found five great Canadian resorts that will encourage you to get out there and enjoy it-from dogsledding to diving (yes, we mean deep-sea diving!) to good old-fashioned snowmobiling.
Marble Mountain (Corner Brook, Nfld.)
With a huge average annual snowfall (more than 500 centimetres!), Marble Mountain is located in one of Canada’s snowiest places, providing an excellent base for your winter adventures. Marble’s main attraction is skiing and snowboarding, and, with a 520-metre vertical-okay, it’s not Whistler, but it’s comparable to Mont Tremblant in Quebec, and more than twice as high as Blue Mountain in Ontario-it offers some of Canada’s best slopes east of the Rocky Mountains. Plus, there are 37 ski runs and a great terrain park for snowboarders.
Insider tip: The truly adventurous can try snow kiting-a high-adrenaline sport that’s like kite surfing on a snowboard.
For more information, visit skimarble.com
Rockwater Secret Cove Resort (Halfmoon Bay, B.C.)
An oasis of green in our snowy country, the Sunshine Coast-an area stretching 180 kilometres along the Strait of Georgia from Howe Sound in the south to Desolation Sound in the north-remains relatively warm and dry all year round, meaning that a number of activities that aren’t possible at this time of year in most parts of Canada continue here through the seasons. There’s year-round sea kayaking, golf and mountain biking, but perhaps the coolest thing you can do here is the winter sea diving. Underwater visibility is best in this part of the Pacific during the winter months, and nearby dive sites are well suited for all ages and abilities.
Insider tip: Take a stroll at Smuggler Cove Marine Provincial Park, close to the resort, where the bulk of the hiking trails have been converted into boardwalks.
For more information, visit rockwatersecretcoveresort.com
O’Donnell’s Cottages (Doaktown, N.B.)
Set on the Miramichi River some 90 minutes northeast of Fredericton, and directly connected to more than 1,000 kilometres of some of the best snowmobile trails in Canada, the cottages at O’Donnell’s are perfect for those who have always wanted to try snowmobiling but don’t know where to start. Courtney Appleby isn’t an avid snowmobiler, but she had a blast when she visited the resort for the first time with her husband last winter. And for those who think that driving a snowmobile has about as much fitness value as driving a car, think again, she says. Leaning into corners, absorbing the bumps, and riding through twists and turns burns cal-ories and really works the glutes, quads and obliques
Insider tip: Call ahead and the resort can arrange guided snowmobile tours. And ask about their girls’ getaway package.
For more information, visit odonnellscottages.com
Muktuk Adventures and Guest Ranch (Whitehorse, Yukon)
Pounding down a mountain trail in the Yukon behind a sled being pulled by ?10 dogs-as Northern adventures go, it really doesn’t get much more authentic than that. Muktuk Adventures and Guest Ranch is operated by Anne Tayler and Frank Turner, a man who has competed in the legendary, 1,000-mile Yukon Quest dogsled race more than 20 times (more than anyone else in the history of the race). Driving a team of sled dogs is definitely a real workout, notes Barb Schubert, who flies to Muktuk every winter from her home in Seattle. She says that out on the trail, you’re truly the “11th member” of the team, leaning into turns, running behind the sled while going uphill, and even pulling the sled out of embankments when it (inevitably) gets stuck. “It’s about strength, endurance and stamina, and really about finding outthat you’re much stronger than you anticipated.”
Insider tip: Those opting to stay in one of the cabins can even invite their favourite dog in to stay overnight and keep them company.
For more information, visit muktuk.com
Oakview Lodge and Marina (Minden, Ont.)
Oakview sits on Little Hawk Lake in the Haliburton Highlands, a picturesque and hilly area in the Canadian Shield that’s about midway between Algonquin Park and southern Ontario’s Muskoka region. Snowshoe or cross-country ski right from the front door of your cabin or the main lodge, or walk out on the lake, carve your own hole and do a little ice fishing. You can also strap on the blades and go for a skate, or take part in some dogsledding or downhill skiing nearby.
Insider tip: On request, the staff will prepare a fish fry with your ice-fishing catch at the fire pit down by the lake.
For more information, visit oakviewlodge.com