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The Winter Resolution: A Weekend Away in Ontario’s Highlands

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In my last “Winter Resolution” post, I shared that I had bought myself ski gear for the first time. Yep, at age 42, I am now the newbie owner of downhill ski gear! It’s my way of committing to this “love like the winter” kick I’ve been on since I first posted about my struggles with winter back in December of 2009.

Downhill ski gear is the most recent in a list of commitments I’ve made since 2009. The others include:

  • A warm down-filled winter coat and insulated winter boots for everyday use
  • A winter ski jacket for outdoor exercise
  • Cross-country skis and boots
  • Snow shoes (this trip convinced me to get them)

Do I have a mad love for winter now? Well, no. But I do have to admit that the right gear makes a tremendous difference in terms of comfort (and therefore, enjoyment). I especially love my winter coat, which is so warm and covers my butt.

Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization had been following my winter resolution series and they thought they might be able to help: Would we like to come and spend a weekend at Calabogie Peaks Resort?

Naturally, as a family that is always up for an adventure, we said “yes, please!” So, on a Friday evening after work, we drove up. It’s a nice, scenic drive from Ottawa that only takes about an hour and a half. As we rounded around the lake, the Resort came into sight. It looked just like a picture-postcard!

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The inviting lodge-style Hotel at Calabogie Peaks Resort.

As we walked into the front entrance, we were greeted by a roaring fire and friendly front desk staff. (This was certainly turning out to be a fine idea, after all!) The rooms at the resort overlook either the lake or the mountain, and we were really thrilled to luck out with a mountain view. Check it out!

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View of Dickson Mountain from our room at Calabogie Peaks Resort.

The room we were booked into was called a “Standard Room” and had two queen beds (from surfing around on the website, it looks like these run for about $180/night and include a continental breakfast). For a short mini-getaway, this room suited us just fine. But if you were planning on staying for a longer time or had a bigger family, I’d recommend trying out one of the resort’s condominium options instead.

In addition to the view of the ski hill, we could also see that the resort had built a massive ice rink for guests to enjoy as well. So bring your skates if you’re planning a trip!

Enjoying some sun on the hotel room balcony. Check out the ice rink behind me!

Enjoying some sun on the hotel room balcony. Check out the massive ice rink behind me!

We unpacked our bags and then relaxed for a little before heading back downstairs to the resort’s Canthooks Restaurant. The kids enjoyed meals from the children’s menu, while Hubby had lamb and I had fish (things we never cook at home, but both love to eat when we’re in a good restaurant). Everything was delicious and so fresh — including the high-quality kids’ meals.

By this point, I was basically ready for bed. (Remember, I had just started taking medication for Strep throat on Thursday!) But the kids certainly were not and were extremely eager for Hubby to take them to the swimming pool. Frankly, I think he would have been happy to relax in bed too, but he couldn’t refuse their excitement. So off they all went to the resort’s indoor salt-water pool for a pre-bed dip.

In the morning, we hustled ourselves over to the ski hill because we didn’t want to miss the ski lessons that were booked for us. A private ski lesson costs $49 at Calabogie and I truly believe it’s worth every penny. It’s not just about the technical instruction, it’s about gathering confidence.

Plus, in our case, our instructors were so fabulous! My 5-year-old son Max had a young man by the name of Ben as his instructor, while my 11-year-old daughter Stella had a woman by the name of Debbie. As for me, I had the pleasure of meeting Don.

Selfie on the chair lift! This is my Calabogie Peaks ski instructor Don.

Selfie on the chair lift! This is my Calabogie Peaks ski instructor Don.

Don started skiing at age 49, so he knows exactly what it feels like to be an adult learning on the hill. He has a great instruction-style and, as a retired IT executive who enjoys travel as much as I do, I found him really interesting to talk to as well. In my mind, our one-hour lesson flew by so fast! However, my thighs didn’t agree as much — Oy! Could I ever feel them after trying all those turns down the hill!

So when I caught up with the rest of the family and my son asked to go tubing, I didn’t hesitate to offer to take him. Hubby and Stella took this opportunity to try out some of the more advanced hills without Max and I to slow them down. Their loss though because Max and I had a BLAST on the tubing tracks!

An action shot from one of the two tubing tracks at Calabogie Peaks Resort.

An action shot from one of the two tubing tracks at Calabogie Peaks Resort.

We had arranged to meet back up with Hubby and Stella after 2 hours of tubing. The day was still beautiful and bright, so Max and I got our ski gear back on and heading out again for a few last runs.

Beautiful view from the top of Dickson Mountain.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that we were really reluctant for our day to end. We all were having such fun … we just wanted to squeeze out every last ounce of the day that we could! When the chairlifts shut down and the lodge started to empty, we were some of the last folks left.

Hey, where did everyone go? We're having too much fun for this day to end!

Hey, where did everyone go? We’re having too much fun for this day to end!

Luckily, we didn’t need to let the day end because upstairs, in Black Donald’s Pub, there was a happy apres-ski vibe kicking into high gear. My son told me he was hungry (which, these days, he tells me about a dozen times a day!) and in the time it took for me to order us some nachos and drinks, he was fast asleep! There was live music playing at full blast and people everywhere, but he just looked so peaceful snoozing in his chair.

And while I think that is the perfect spot to end my tale, Hubby decided it was the perfect spot to start this video he made of our weekend adventure up at Calabogie Peaks …

As it turned out, a little getaway was exactly what the whole family needed. We really are so fortunate to live here in the Ottawa Valley, where there are countless ways to enjoy the winter season (even if we must do it begrudgingly! haha!).

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Comments

  1. Love your attitude! I am trying to get myself off the “winter hate” bandwagon that I fall into so easily. Looks like you’re having a great time doing it, too! Good for you for taking on skiing as an adult too. I have been a skier a long time, but I’ve been afraid to start boarding with my family because I think I’m too old. Very inspiring!

    • Thanks for the encouragement! (I am your scowling neighbour on the “winter hate” bandwagon!). My husband learned boarding as an adult … I think I might stick to skis though (less falling).

  2. LOVE this. And the video is fab! (You did well on the hill, Ms. Beginner.) So fun because I grew up skiing there. And I’m horrendously uncoordinated. (Once took out a hill full of people, domino-style as I careened down, limbs, skis and poles flailing….) But I looooved it. The hill was a huge part of our social life as teens. I was back at Calabogie with my kids and extended family a few years ago. It was a blast. But I haven’t experienced those new facilities. Looks like it was really fun. Certainly makes me smile. : )

    • haha! Love your story, Pam. Coordination usually isn’t an issue for me. It’s just actually enjoying being out in the cold (and the fear of falling when I come to a steep hill!). Calabogie totally rocks — so much fun!

  3. So wonderful that you’re embracing winter and keeping true to your resolutions. Look how much fun your family is having! You make us WANT Winter! Thank you for sharing this amazing experience. You looked like you learned a ton especially about having fun in the winter, and you definitely did your share of family bonding! This is how we should all live our lives!

  4. I LOOOOOVE winter. This post totally makes me want to getaway for some skiing! I haven’t been downhill in a couple of years… kids kinda got in the way. I started downhill skiing in university so don’t feel bad about just getting skis now! I think you can start anytime. :) Thanks for sharing!

    • You love winter?! Wow, I need to hang out with you and hope some of it rubs off. (Actually, my husband loves winter too and none of it has rubbed off yet!). Our kids just finally got to ages where we could take them out on the hills … you’ll get there soon too!

  5. Stunning photos! I LOVE this post! Looks like you guys had a blast! Reminds me of the time two Winters ago that we spent in Haliburton with my brother and his family. Fun times! Spending time with the fam is so precious! You look awesome, btw!

  6. What a fantastic family getaway! This looks like it totally makes winter fun :D I would love to go tubbing!!

  7. You almost…ALMOST make me want to try skiing. My family goes off every Sunday in the winter and I do laundry, go for a run and catch up on some blissful alone time.

    Nope, not gonna change a thing, but I do admire you!

  8. Don Di Salle says:

    Your blog on your experience at Calabogie made my day. What a wonderful family winter adventure filled with laughter, fun, good food and many great memories. As your ski instructor you were a quick study and in invite you to get back on skiis ASAP. Perhaps next winter you can get out a couple more times on those perfect blue bird days. Winter is a blast. Take care and see you on the slopes. Don

  9. Adam Harrison says:

    Love the video!

    What a great weekend. Don seems like a gem, and yeah COMMIT!! :D

  10. This design is incredible! You certainly know how to keep a
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    moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job.
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