Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 20, 2017
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The time is white

10 great ways to get into snow

1. More powder to you If you are looking for a December ski destination, only one thing matters: snow. As much as you can get. BC's Whistler Blackcomb has the continent's longest ski season so it gets plenty of the white stuff, but the snow can be damp, even wet at the base early in the season. For drier conditions, head inland to Big White, an underrated and very family-friendly resort. It has a huge range of groomed trails, powder and tree skiing for both experts and those making their first fluffy forays. www.whistlerblackcomb.com.

2. Euroski While the resort itself leaves something to be desired, Val Thorens in France offers some of the top skiing in Europe. It's Europe's highest ski hill, afterall, well above the tree line at 3200 metres, so a sure bet for the fluffy stuff. The resort even has a Snow Guarantee: if fewer than 70 percent of lifts are open between December 25 and May 1, you'll get a free day pass. Val Thorens is part of the 3 Vallées, which include the resorts of Courchevel, Méribel and Les Ménuires, all of which can be skied with one pass. The Val Thorens resort was built for functionality -- expect great skiing, not cosy chalets with views of French shepherds sipping wine while tending their flock. www.valthorens.com.

3. Save money with your 10-year-old Kids in Grade 5, or who are 10 years old, ski and ride for free this winter, thanks to the Canadian Ski Council and its partner resorts. The Grade 5 SnowPass offers up to three free days of passes at 150 different hills, including 98 in the East (Ontario to Newfoundland) and 52 in the West (Manitoba to BC). www.snowpass.ca.

4. Roll out the barrels One of Canada's earliest winter fests happens in Niagara Falls until January 8. Brave the winter weather and the cool mist of the falls at the Winter Festival of Lights, while watching over 125 animated lighting displays, including the popular Enchantment of Disney displays. There are fireworks on weekends, stage productions and concerts. www.wfol.com.

5. Break the ice If you didn't spend a day on the Rideau in 2007 when it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is the season to visit the world's largest skating rink in Ottawa. The canal is a 202-kilometre-long waterway that links the Ottawa River with Lake Ontario at Kingston. On winter weekends, the Ottawa portion turns into a huge family playground, conveniently located in a town with fantastic restaurants and cafés. A great daytrip.

6. As green as white gets If it's been a while since you last spent an afternoon on your cross-country skies, maybe this is the winter to pull them out of the basement. While old-time alpiners will tell you it won't be the most thrilling afternoon you can spend, it certainly will get you heart pumping. Healthy, yes, and green -- just you and your skis moving smoothly along a trail and getting winter's ultimate aerobic workout. For a thorough list of the country's trails, clubs and marathons go to www.out-there.com -- it's also a decent starting point if you're looking for snowshoeing and dog sledding in your area.

7. A well-rounded getaway It doesn't get any more Canadian than sleeping in an igloo - an architectural thing of beauty, wonder and cold. Quebec's Parc Nationale du Bic will put you in one (including sleeping bag and snowshoes) for $54 per person per night. Don't forget the body heat. (800) 665-6527; www.sepaq.com/pq/bic/en/.

 

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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