Thursday, 12 February 2015

Living Winter to the Fullest at Blue Mountain

Becoming a #winterwarrior at Blue Mountain
If there is one thing Torontonians are good at doing it's commenting (and often complaining) about the weather. Ironically it seems like we've been pretty lucky snow-wise until Groundhog Day when Mother Nature decided to bless us with 6 more weeks of winter and a good few feet of the fluffy white stuff. But bemoaning winter is not going to make it go away and so I've decided the only way to get through it is to embrace it and become a #winterwarrior.

For a while now there have been plans laid to go to Blue Mountain in Collingwood. It's not such an awful drive up - you can probably make it there in under two hours from Toronto if the conditions/traffic aren't killer. I carpooled with Ajay and our friend Aaron to meet our giant group of 16 up at our chalet for the weekend. I'd like to think that I performed my duties as car DJ admirably. Especially since I got the guys to twerk (no really).

Tim Hortons coffee is such a typical Canadian road trip companion
Since we arrived way before check in time we quickly changed into our gear in the car. I don't really come from a winter sporting kind of family so, being completely gearless I head on over to rentals. It never ceases to amaze me how cordial people just outside of Toronto are (not that we Torontonians are terrible people but I guess city life does have its stresses). Indecisive as always I had to be coached through what I ought to get. There's a lot to do at Blue, from skating to snowboarding. I don't have much to compare it with price-wise but if you buy on the spot heading up the mountain will run you about $100 a day (inlcuding rentals).

The (easy) slopes at Blue Mountain
Let me start off by saying, full disclosure, I am a complete newb when it comes to skiing. But I really feel as though I took to it like a fish to water. I've tried snowboarding a handful of times and have never been really won over but skiing just felt natural! I've been having dreams of parelleling ever since and I just can't wait to head back.

After getting my butt kicked we headed to our chalet to unwind. With such a big group and with everyone at different levels of skill the chalet was really the only touchstone for socializing. And most of that took place in the hot tub! That first night somehow nearly all of us managed to fit inside and enjoy the hot water and cool breeze. Then someone had the brilliant idea of making snow angels. We Canadians are naturally fearless when it comes to the freezing cold... Or so we like to think. I'm sure we all looked ridiculous running in our skivvies through the frozen terrain and making quick little snow angels before dashing back into the warm water.

Our Chalet at Collingwood
Ajay and I adventured out on our own one afternoon and rented snowshoes. It was a hard treck through the snow but bundled up we hardly felt the chill. We ventured off the beaten path - the 1.5km and 4km trails that we were prompted to take just took us around the golf course and were not the experience I was after. I wanted to see the Great Outdoors and so we dipped into the tree line when, exhausted, we lay down and looked at the canopy.

Ajay looks very Walter Mitty here
My Sorel Caribous came in handy as we went snowshoeing
One of the real big wins of Blue Mountain is the village. Walking through Blue Mountain Village the mix of German and Victorian architecture makes you feel like you've been transported to Austria. Though relatively small there is so much to do there and I don't think I got to experience it all properly. One of the places I really wish I'd had a chance to peek into is Georgian Christmas.

Beautiful horses carting skiiers and snowboarders from slopes to resorts at Blue Mountain
Ajay and I had a great night out in the village with some of this friends from work who happened to also be up for the weekend. We met them at Twist Martini & Wine Lounge where the crowd was a mix of Apr├Ęs-ski and dressed-to-the-nines. Great music, great drinks and full of people in the party spirit Twist proved to be the best decision we'd made all weekend.

We had a bit of a Home Alone moment the next morning when we woke up 15 minutes before check out. All 16 of us rushed to get everything together and packed. But somehow we made it out in time and back to the city.

I wish I could make Blue Mountain a regular stop during the winter months. It's the perfect weekend away. What keeps you busy during the long winter months? Let me know in the comments!

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