Story by Rod Charles
BLUE MOUNTAIN, ONTARIO — Let’s face it, not everyone’s a Steve Podborski. If you’re one of those people with downhill skiing skills that are less than impressive, don’t worry. There are activities for everyone at Blue Mountain.
Even though downhill skiing and snowboarding are the two things Blue Mountain is most famous for, there are other activities you can enjoy that are just as much fun in the resort north of Toronto. With winter winding down, here are five activities you can try before spring arrives — and none of them involve a ski lift.
1. Snowshoeing: A great workout with spectacular views, snowshoeing is an activity the whole family can enjoy.
I had the chance to try out an afternoon of snowshoeing with Free Spirit Tours on the Kolapore Uplands, about half-hour drive from Collingwood in the town of The Blue Mountains. Even though there wasn’t a lot of snow on that day, it was still a fascinating way to get close to nature and share good times with friends.
Cost: $50 per person
Duration: 3 hours
2. Tobogganing: Your party is picked up at Blue Mountain Village and shuttled to a nearby hill. The toboggan and warm drinks are included in the activity fee. If you get a chance to go tobogganing at Blue Mountain take the opportunity. It’s tons of fun.
Cost: $20 per person, $65 for a family of four
Duration: 3 hours
3. Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster: Okay, I’ll admit, I’m not a huge roller-coaster guy. For that matter, I’m not even a kiddie coaster guy. But I promise you’ll love the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster.
Now for all you seasoned adrenaline junkies who are used to rides like Apollo’s Chariot or Dragon Fire then yes, this ride probably won’t get your juices flowing. But if you’re just starting out on roller-coasters, have kids who would want to ride with you, or just want a nice ride that will give you a rush without ripping your intestines out, then Ridge Runner is for you.
One thing that makes this ride fun (at least for me) is the fact that you can control the speed. And the view is really incredible … all the way down.
This coaster is operational all year but it makes this list because being outside on a coaster streaming down a snow-covered mountain is an experience you simply must try and won’t soon forget.
Cost: $15 a ride ($10 for lodge guests)
Duration: 5 minutes, not including lineup
4. Blue Mountain Village: More than 25 shops, restaurants and bars will provide you with plenty to do while you take a break from the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster or other activities on the slopes.
The village has everything from souvenir shops to lingerie shops, art galleries and even a Crock A Doodle for creative kids and their parents.
Some of the restaurants include Tholos, which serves Greek cuisine. Try the wonderful fried calamari — tender pieces in seasoned flour, lightly fried and served with tzatziki and grilled lemon ($13), or the chicken souvlaki ($20).
While not right in the village, Oliver & Bonacini at the Westin Trillium House, Blue Mountain is a place to go for a relaxing meal. Try the roasted squash & coconut curry soup with pumpkin seeds & scallion ($4.50 cup, $7.95 bowl), the Yukon gold fries ($6.95), or the grilled calamari ($11.75)
And, of course, a trip to the mountain wouldn’t be complete without Starbucks Coffee, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and BeaverTails, all of which you can find in the village.
5. Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain: Three words — eucalyptus steam bath. Not only is it refreshing and soothing, but the steam bath allows you to disappear into a warm mist so thick you literally can’t see your hand in front of your face. An incredible place to just shut down, relax, and meditate.
Scandinave Spa has several rinse, relaxation and warming areas where you can just lay back and let go. With several packages to choose from, including the Relaxation Package ($72) and Hot Stone Therapy ($179), Scandinave Spa is a great place to just warm up and enjoy the day.
Like the Ridge Runner, the spa is open all year. But it makes this list because there’s just something special about being outside in a hot pool soaking in luxury at night while snow falls around you.
MORE ABOUT BLUE MOUNTAIN VILLAGE
For lodging reservations: Telephone 1-877-368-2583
For activity information: Consult the village’s website.
Directions: The map below gives directions from downtown Toronto.
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