Searchmont Resort is one of the best skiing and Snowboarding experiences in Ontario

By Colin Field and Mountain Life Magazine

Dropping in, we flow through the trees in knee-deep snow. The locals ride and ski through the woods like water down a stream: effortlessly. Their movements are beautiful to watch. We’re all whooping with joy; it’s impossible not to. We absolutely nailed the conditions today: blower Lake Superior-affected powder. And lots of it. We reach the bottom and without even speaking I ski through the non-existent lift line and hop right back on the chair. Glorious. Friends be damned, it’s a powder day.

With a vertical drop of 700 feet and an average snowfall of 132 inches, Searchmont Resort is the underdog of Ontario’s ski resorts. There’s no Starbucks at the base lodge. You can’t buy a Canada Goose jacket in the pro shop and there are no waterslides or amusement parks. But that’s part of its charm. It’s a ski hill. You come here to ski (or snowboard obviously). And that’s what everyone is here to do.

While Searchmont didn’t open in the winter of 2020/21, they’re stoked to fire up the chair-lifts and get those bull wheels turning again in 2021/22.

“There’s a lot going on,” says media coordinator Darren Sanderson. “We’re replacing our old double lift with a new triple and we are building a brand new triple, which will also feed into two new runs. Our goal is to make it so there’s more of a transition between our learning centre and the main runs.”

Not only that the owners that took over in 2018 have invested in a new restaurant called the Kiln and the new Caribou Café, and their villas are being completely rebuilt, both inside and out. Hopefully they’re ready for this sea-son. And perhaps most importantly, they’ve upgraded their snowmaking capability.

“In 2019 we had our earliest start ever, on December 7. It was partly because of those new snowmakers. Hopefully the weather co-operates so we can have a good start to the season this year too.”

Amen to that. Come on UlIr!

Visit the Searchmont website to learn more including info about season tickets and lift pass. 

And read the full article by Colin Field in Mountain Life magazine here.

find the Perfect Places to ski in Sault Ste. Marie

By Tourism Sault Ste. Marie

Sault Ste. Marie is home to some of the best skiing east of the Rockies, including Alpine, Nordic and Backcountry. We offer a true winter experience in the beautiful backdrop of Northern Ontario wilderness. Like other outdoor adventures in Sault Ste. Marie, you can expect scenic vistas, glacier-scoured hills, ancient forests and — most importantly — truly monumental snowfall. Our stunning landscape is what makes the region so special as a place to ski in Ontario. Here’s how to get the most out your skiing trip in Sault Ste. Marie.

No.1 – Searchmont Resort

Big vertical, rugged terrain, Searchmont has some of the best downhill skiing in Ontario.

On top of the 700 feet of vertical, 26 runs, 100 acres of rolling mountain, terrain park, 4 lifts, snow school, Searchmont is also a fully equipped resort with a restaurant, bar, shop, ski and snowboard rentals and accommodations. Escape the crowds and the lift queues of jam-packed southern Ontario ski hills and get away to this stunning, adventure-packed mountain.

Visit the website for more information. 

Click here for a link to all trail and maps.

No.2 – Cross Country Skiing at Stokely Creek Lodge

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Stokely Creek is world class. A short 30-minute drive from the city this stunning venue draws visitors from all over the world. This amazing Ontario cross-country ski destination garners rave reviews and ranks among the best in North America.

There are over 100 km of trails for classic and skate-skiing techniques. Stokely earns its credibility with breathtaking scenery, including frozen waterfalls, endless forests and the amazing vista from the top of King Mountain.

Backcountry cabins and rest stops are spread out along the way, enhancing the resort’s wilderness feel. You’ll appreciate warm shelter while skiing Stokely. Better yet, make it a weekend (or stay for a week): The lodge boasts Scandinavian-style accommodations and outstanding home-cooked meals..

Parking and trailhead is at Stokely Creek Lodge, in Goulais River Ontario.

Click here for a link to all trail and maps or read more about Stokely here!

No.3 – Cross Country Skiing at Hiawatha Highlands

Hiawatha Highlands offers more than 50 km of varying levels of cross country skiing trail on professionally machine groomed trails for both classic and skate skiing. Parking and trailheads are located on Landslide Road, located just a few minutes drive of the city. Hiawatha easily ranks among the best places to go cross-country skiing in Ontario. 

There are three main skiing trail systems to explore, each with different terrain and elevation. The Pinder System features minimal hills and gentle grades which make it suitable for all skill levels. The main 4 km route has an additional 6 km of extensions including the open Mockingbird extension with picturesque views of neighbouring farms. A lighted 2 km loop near the trailhead means you can ski until around 10 pm.

The Red Pine system, a favourite of many locals, is a little more rugged with steeper hills making it more advanced and technical trail with several side extensions, creek crossings and towering red- and white pines.

Finally, the Crystal Trail system is the most challenging. Trails weave around Crystal Creek and alongside waterfalls, with steep descents and heart-pounding climbs. It’s a great test for the advanced skier. Along with a rugged 10 km backcountry ski trail to Mabel Lake, the Crystal features more than 20 km of trails to sink your teeth into.

Click here for a link to all trail and maps or read more about all that Hiawatha Highlands has to offer here!

No.4 – Backcountry Skiing at Bellevue Valley Lodge

Sault Ste. Marie is one of Ontario’s premier destinations for backcountry skiing. Your starting point is Bellevue Valley Lodge, set in the massive Canadian Shield hills of Goulais River, a 25-minute drive from the city.

Explore the extensive beauty of the area with backcountry telemark, alpine touring or nordic skiing. Ski up the impressive King Mountain at 1800 ft above sea level, and explore 30 gladed powder runs with about 700 feet of vertical. With no chair lifts you’ll have to bring your climbing skins to earn your turns.

Runs include the formidably named Undertaker, Overtaker, Vortex of Pain and the Pyramid. Steep fall lines combine with incredible snowfall to make Sault Ste. Marie a fantastic place to powder ski. This is unquestionably the best backcountry skiing in Ontario!

Click here for a link to the trail maps.

By Martin Lortz

Looking for a long-distance snowmobile tour in Ontario? A new full-day tour for sledders is now open in Sault Ste. Marie. Learn more about why riding out of the Soo is the perfect way to enjoy a day on the trails.

Welcome to the Soo, aka Sault Ste. Marie. When it comes to Ontario snowmobiling, it’s all about adventure and good times. With 32,000 kilometres of groomed trail reaching far-flung corners of the province, planning the perfect snowmobiling experience can be a time-consuming challenge. Luckily, thanks to the efforts of many, we have at our disposal 36 OFSC self-guided snow tours to choose from. An impressive list to which we can now add the new Soo Highlands Loop.

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By Conor Mihell

Fat Biking, Skiing, Skating and more: Winters are hot in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma. Learn more about one of the best places for a winter vacation in Canada. 

Sault Ste. Marie experiences winter like few other places in Ontario. Close proximity to Lake Superior produces exceptional snowfall; this, combined with a rugged Canadian Shield landscape of rolling hills, tall pines and hardwood forests, creates a winter playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Ontario’s finest nordic and alpine skiing have long been staples of Sault Ste. Marie winters; you’ll also find incredible backcountry skiing and snowshoeing, an emerging fat-bike scene, great ice fishing and unique urban ice-skating opportunities—all making “The Soo” the preeminent winter adventure town in central Canada.

Nordic Skiing

With the legendary trails, gourmet meals and luxury accommodations of Stokely Creek Lodge on hiatus for the year due to COVID-19, the 50-plus-km of diverse, impeccably groomed cross-country ski trails at Hiawatha Highlands take center stage.

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By Craig Nicholson

Riders Can Still Count on Major Snow, Primo Trails & Great Hospitality! Sault Ste. Marie is one of the best places to go snowmobiling in Ontario.

Located in Northern Ontario, Algoma Country is a vast territory of 28,000 square miles comprised of two unique snowmobiling areas, Algoma East and Algoma North. Come winter, all of Algoma Country turns snowy white and remains that way for a long season. That makes it a perfect and convenient winter destination enjoyed by thousands of riders.

Anchored by the TOP Trail D, Algoma Country’s 2,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails typically attract numerous American visitors through its international border at Sault Ste. Marie or its TOP Trail D107 border crossing on the ice bridge from Drummond Island, MI. to St. Joseph Island, ON. Many visiting snowmobilers from Southern Ontario have also discovered Algoma Country sledding and return to experience more each winter.

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By Jennifer McCartney

Sledding from Ontario’s Gateway Cities. Reporter and host of All Girls Garage, Cristy Lee stages from Sault Ste. Marie for an adventure on the famed trails of the north.

When motorcyclist and host of All Girls Garage, Cristy Lee, got the opportunity to go snowmobiling in Sault Ste. Marie, she didn’t hesitate. “I live in Michigan which is only a couple hours away,” she says. “I’m also a motorsports enthusiast.” She figured the switch from bike to sled would be a fun one. And while she didn’t have any experience with snowmobiling, she was excited to give it a shot. Luckily, for this all-around athlete, it was a pretty easy transition.

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And click here to watch Cristy Lee’s video of Snowmobiling in the Soo!

By Rob LaRue

Looking for tips on the best places to go snowmobiling in Ontario? Here’s what you need to know to get free snowmobile maps, real time trail status updates and club information.

If you’re a sledder from Ontario or Michigan, below is some information that will help you plan for the 2020 winter snowmobile season in Ontario’s Algoma Country. You’ll find a complete list of where to find trail updates from our region’s clubs, what trails are open and where you get request free travel information, or even where to buy your trail permits online.

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