By Tourism Sault Ste. Marie

find the Perfect Places to ski in 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, 21 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.

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.

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 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 Christina Donati

Escape to the best winter adventure hub in Ontario! Here’s a plan to make it happen.

When thinking about fun winter activities with physical distancing in mind, Sault Ste. Marie is the perfect place. Nestled right along St. Mary’s River, and bordering both Lake Superior and Lake Huron, this charming Northern Ontario town is chock-full of fun things to do to get more in touch with your outdoorsy side year-round.

And in the wintertime, its natural adventures do not disappoint. Not only are there frosty views you won’t find anywhere else (Lake Superior’s breathtaking ice caves are unique to this region), but Sault Ste. Marie also boasts an abundance of activities as well.

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By Colin Field

The next generation of turn earners go backcountry skiing in Sault Ste. Marie.

I love Bellevue Valley Lodge. It’s no secret. I love earning turns too. It’s a special kind of masochism I suppose, but I love being in the woods, working hard, and then enjoying the thrill of skiing through trees, bouncing over logs, and falling into soft, deep, bottomless powder snow.

After two visits to see Enn and Robin (owners of Bellevue Valley Lodge), I finally managed to drag my 10-year-old son and my wife away for a couple days of ski touring and Algoma Country hospitality. Would my family love it as much as I do?

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By Conor Mihell

Sault Ste. Marie is a great destination for an active winter weekend vacation in Ontario.

Cradled by the ancient mountains of the Canadian Shield and surrounded by freshwater seas, locals have always known the community of Sault Ste. Marie (pop. 70,000) to be an epicenter of outdoor adventure. Exceptionally snowy winters support vast networks of groomed cross-country ski trails, an incredible array of backcountry ski and snowshoe options, and a vibrant fat-biking scene. “The Soo” has emerged as a one of the best winter sports hubs between Quebec and the Rockies. This three-day itinerary is jam-packed for adventure travellers keen to play in the snow.

Day One

Stokely Creek Lodge located just off the Trans-Canada Highway, a mere half-hour drive north of Sault Ste. Marie, is a beloved destination for American cross-country ski enthusiasts who return year after year.

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By Martin Lortz

Five Days of Winter in Algoma

Day one kicks off with a day on the slopes at Searchmont.

As a skier, there is no better way to start the day than to the rumble of a snow groomer outside your window and a landscape of fresh, overnight snow that gently rounds over the hard edges of yesterday. Actually, not just a layer of snow but 30 cm that fell in the last 24 hours. Yummy.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Where is this winter wonderland, you ask? We are at Searchmont Resort, nestled in the rugged Canadian Shield of the Goulais River Valley—about 45 minutes northeast of Sault Ste. Marie. With a vertical of 700 feet (228 metres), Searchmont can trade vertical stat jabs with the best in Ontario. But unique to this ski resort is the prolific snow-making machine known as Lake Superior, regularly pounding these slopes with winter storms to the tune of 132 inches (336 cm) annual snowfall on average.

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By Colin Field

The best snow, slopes, and tree skiing this side of the Rockies and the US border. Discover what makes Sault Ste. Marie one of Canada’s best places to ski

Dropping into the tree run to far skier’s right, I watch as the locals flow through the knee-deep snow. They dart between the trees, over jumps and into the air. I’m right there behind them, and we’re all whooping ecstatically. For skiers and snowboarders that chase powder, this is the dream. And when Searchmont gets snow, it is one seriously fun place to ski.

Just north of Sault Ste. Marie, Searchmont Resort has 700 feet of vertical, three chairlifts, and one Poma. It’s a friendly place that gets an annual average snowfall of 132 inches. The resort benefits from lake effect snow as cold air masses travel across Lake Superior and send the white fluffy stuff over Searchmont. Spending our first day tracking out the resort is the perfect way to start a trip in Algoma Country.

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