Living in Toronto is its own kind of thrill. Barrelling down the stairs at a TTC station because you just heard an incoming train; roaring alongside 19,000 other fans at the Scotiabank Arena as the Raptors take the court; dodging street preachers in Yonge Dundas Square; entering a long and unassuming hallway to reach the city’s hottest new speakeasy… there’s a lot to be excited about here.
But sometimes, you want to swap those urban thrills for a more natural hit of adrenaline. Instead of throwing yourself down the TTC stairs, you want to throw yourself down a powdery slope. Instead of dodging people, you want to dodge a few hazardous moguls.
In these cases, Torontonians take to the surrounding areas to catch a chair lift. Skiing and snowboarding are fantastic ways to enjoy the outdoors this winter in Toronto – provided you know where to go.
As the premier Toronto real estate agents, we’ve done our homework on anything and everything related to the GTA and its surrounding attractions. And from that research, we’ve compiled a list of the best ski resorts that Toronto and its surrounding areas have to offer.
Suit up, strap in, and join us for a tour up some memorable mountains.
The Best Bang for Your Buck: Blue Mountain
As far as ski resorts near Toronto go, Blue Mountain is hard to beat. While there are bigger, more intensive mountains further afield (more on them a little later), Blue Mountain is the perfect mix of proximity and quality. Spanning the Niagara Escarpment, its impressive expanse of skiable terrain features 42 trails, mixing green and blue beginner runs with experts-only black diamonds.
But, arguably, the real draw here is after you’ve packed it in for the day. Blue Mountain boasts stunning accommodation options that merge “chalet chic” with startling natural vistas. And its charming village centre comes alive in the winter with lights, events, bustling pubs and relaxing eateries.
Practicing Close to Home: Earl Bales Ski and Snowboard Centre
We aren’t saying that Earl Bales in North York is the most impressive ski and snowboard centre we’ve attended. Still, it’s a) right at our doorstep, b) easy to access via the 401 or subway Line 1, and c) perfectly serviceable if you want to scratch that skiing/snowboard itch.
Oddly, not many Torontonians know about it. Poised around the intersection of Bathurst and Sheppard, the centre offers rentals and three beginner-to-intermediate slopes that never feel uncomfortably crowded. At around $25 for a two-hour pass, it’s roughly comparable in price to a matinee at the movies – but a lot more exhilarating.
The Ideal Day Trip Shred: Mount St. Louis Moonstone
If Blue Mountain is the distant gold standard, and Earl Bales is the nearby consolation prize, then Mount St. Louis Moonstone is the Goldilocks option. Located around Barrie, it’s a breezy drive north on the 400, quicker to reach than Blue Mountain. And while it doesn’t quite match BM’s skiable terrain, Mount St. Louis’ 30 runs and 170 skiable acres come pretty darn close.
Therefore, we’re dubbing it the “ideal day trip shred.” It’s relatively close. It features plenty of intermediate blue runs to satisfy the occasional skier/snowboarder, as well as a first-of-its-kind $14-million chairlift. And it isn’t as crowded as some of the more popular slopes in the province.
If you’re planning on buying a cottage for winter in Ontario’s cottage country, Mount St. Louis is destined to become your go-to spot. Chat with one of our expert agents about landing the perfect cottage in the area.
The Best of the Rest: Horseshoe Resort, Hockley Valley and Glen Eden
With too many contenders to explore in full, we decided to group a few into our “best of the rest” list. These hills and resorts each offer exciting peaks and challenging trails with varying skiable acreage and diverse run difficulties. They are:
- Horseshoe Resort: Another North Barrie institution, Horseshoe boasts a moderate 29 downhill runs and plenty of resources for first-time skiers and snowboarders. It’s particularly well-groomed, and you can find relatively inexpensive accommodation nearby.
- Hockley Valley: Due north from Mississauga, right around Orangeville, you’ll find Hockley Valley Resort. The amenities, spas and restaurants are all gorgeous here. And the 16 runs (a healthy mix of greens, blues and black diamonds) have something for everyone.
- Glen Eden: If you live in West Toronto or Mississauga, Glen Eden is a breeze to reach. Admittedly, it’s small, with just 12 trails to its name. Nevertheless, its proximity makes it a fantastic winter weekend day trip if you want to escape the city for some fresh air and thrills.
If you’re interested in buying real estate around these pristine natural beauties, come chat with us. We specialize in finding dreamy winter retreats in the GTA.
For the Border-Crossing Bomber: Mont Tremblant and Holiday Valley
If we’re talking ski resorts near Toronto, we have to plug the cross-border options too. Especially when they’re as good as Mont Tremblant or Holiday Valley.
We won’t sugar-coat it: Mont Tremblant takes a few hours to reach. This is a destination for longer winter trips, to be sure. But once you get there, it’s pure thrill of the hill action. Routinely ranked as the best ski hill in eastern North America, Tremblant is a behemoth of 102 trails and 750+ acres of skiable terrain (that’s almost double the size of High Park). Its sprawling village evokes the chalet towns in the Swiss Alps with countless dining options, bars and swanky lounges.
Then, there’s Holiday Valley. If you have a valid passport and a tank of gas, consider crossing over to Ellicottville in upstate New York. From the western edge of the GTA, it’s a roughly two-and-a-half-hour drive (give or take a surly border attendant). It features 60 trails, nearly 300 skiable acres, and a reliable patronage of dedicated skiers across the US.
Whether you’re a total amateur or a seasoned snow bomber, we hope you find somewhere to love on this list. And if the spirit of winter sports moves you to consider a cottage or chalet retreat here in Ontario, we’d be honoured to chat about real estate options. Happy skiing and snowboarding season to those who celebrate!