Full Steam Ahead: Fairmont Hot Springs Resort, British Columbia
Fairmont Hot Springs Resort in the heart of the Columbia Valley literally brings you Nature’s hottest après-ski. It’s both one of North America’s largest natural hot springs, over 1.5 million gallons of mineral water flow daily through its pools, and one of its oldest, its discovery dates back to the 1880s. After hitting the Fairmont Ski Area, soothe your sore muscles with steam rooms, saunas and a private outdoor soaking pool. Or challenge yourself with an authentic Scandinavian fire and water test in Fairmont’s Nordic-style hot and cold plunge pools. Whatever you choose, you won’t have to worry about getting enough hot or cold as Fairmont offers an H2O Snow Card, a 3-day ski and unlimited hot spring pass for $99/adult. And just to test those newly limber loins, check out one of the other mountain resorts in this Eastern British Columbia playground, Kicking Horse, Panorama Mountain Village, Kimberley, or Fernie.
The Village of Love…and Culture: Le Massif, Baie-Saint-Paul, Charlevoix, Quebec
When you think of a French artistic hot spot, teeming with culture, history, architectural elegance, and charming cafes, what first comes to mind, Paris? Quebec’s Charlevoix region possesses a true homegrown rival to Parisian splendor: Baie-Saint-Paul. This cultural gem—and the birthplace of Cirque du Soleil—is just up river from Le Massif de Charlevoix Ski Resort. Both remain largely unexplored by the Tremblant-destined throngs, so tell only those you really like. After you’ve spent the day cutting through crisp white snow and blue sky, off the edge of Le Massif’s 50+ runs down to where the Saint Lawrence River opens up to the Gulf, wander along one of the streets in this 350-year-old settlement. If you head down the colourful Rue St-Jean-Baptiste, you’ll see your sublime ski experience reflected in the vibrant hues and intensity of the region’s artistic style in one of its many galleries and studios. And if you pass down the Rue St-Joseph, you’ll find historic homes, over-hanging roofs, stone bricks, and French cathedrals, all built in original settlement style. Satisfy your well-earned hunger at one of the town’s many classic cafes and Quebecois restaurants. Le Café des Artistes at The Maison Auberge Otis, par example, offers a Parisian-inspired bistro menu, while proudly sourcing local ingredients.
Zip the Cold in the Bud!: Marble Mountain Ski Resort, Corner Brook, Newfoundland
Cut ziplining from your tropical vacation bucket list and paste it to your ski holiday I-conquered-this! list because the Rock’s reinvented this high altitude thrill ride. Marble Mountain, nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, offers winter ziplining—an après (or pre!)-ski for the bold and adventurous who simply can’t get enough of gliding through mountain air or their own red sniffly noses. The course boasts 9 zip lines, and stretches of over 2,000 feet where zippers can whizz through the Humber Valley at up to 70km/hour. The best part? Your snowmobile escort to the top of each line. The very affordable tours ($99/adult) run every 2 hours, from 10am- 4pm and you can book up to a day in advance. And in case you need an après-ski for this après-ski, the Knotty Pine Lounge at Marble Mountain offers its Après Eats snack menu Monday-Wednesday 11am-4pm, Friday until 9:30pm, and Saturdays and Sundays until 6pm; and showcases Newfoundland’s incredible musical talent every Saturday afternoon.
Bright Lights, Big Stars: Blue Mountain, Collingwood, Ontario
One of the ultimate après-ski events a resort can offer is a vibrant nightlife. If you’re searching for some of Ontario’s wildest post-ski nightlife, look no further than Blue Mountain, Collingwood. But forget worrying about your dance moves or what drink to order for the region’s coolest and coziest Friday night event: a moonlight horse-drawn sleigh ride. It’s just lights, stars and action. You’ll see the stars and, if you’re lucky, maybe even the Northern lights as you never have before—in the middle of the forest in the Blue Mountains. Collingwood’s Snowbound tours offers a Friday Night Special, $45/person for a 3 hour ride. A private bonfire and rounds of hot chocolate only sweeten this deal. And the mini marshmallows on top is that they’ll pick you up and drop you off right at your resort.
Hungry after a day on the slopes at Lake Louise, Banff’s Sunshine Village, Mount Norquay, or Nakiska Resort? Of course you are, you’ve likely been to all four! So take the swift jaunt to Canmore, one of the Alberta ski-zone’s best-kept secrets. From there, head straight into Iron Goat Pub and Grill. Now rest yourself by a huge window in the toasty, exquisite chalet under the timber roof, surrounded by the carved stone walls, and take in the spectacular view of the Three Sisters and Chinaman’s peaks. If you’re still a little sweaty from the day’s ski, who cares; you’re there for the food. And so is the staff. The Iron Goat’s latest menu features a variety of smoked delights—all of which they prepare in their own smoker using pecan and mesquite wood chips. Perhaps start with the smoked platter, follow it with the smoked wings, and finish with the smoked sweet potato cheesecake. Even toastier now? Step outside, you’re in the middle of the Rockies!