Words :: Kristin Schnelten. Article sponsored by Tourism Simcoe County.
Snow season has arrived! And, if weather predictions hold true (they always do, right?), we’re in for a winter chock-full of the white stuff. Don your layers and head outside to experience the wonders of Ontario’s Simcoe County covered in a blanket in fresh snowfall.
Shoe and Brew with Free Spirit Tours
Slow down for an afternoon in a forest with a snowshoe adventure through Petun Conservation Area. Located just minutes from Blue Mountain Resort, the trail winds through picturesque woods and around steep rock faces and crevices.
Never snowshoed before? No worries; the guides at Free Spirit provide all the equipment and instruction needed before leading the pack at a pace catered to each group’s abilities.
Post-hike, head to a local brewery to recap your day on the snow. A flight of beer at Side Launch or Collingwood Brewery—or why not hit both?—are included with your tour.
Free Spirit has a minimum participant level of two, and can accommodate most any-size group. Learn more about the Show and Brew tours and book your spot at their website: freespirittours.ca
Cross-country Skiing at Highlands Nordic
Click into your skinny skis and hit the freshly groomed trails at Highlands Nordic.
The folks at Highlands Nordic meticulously maintain 25 km of cross-country tracks in every level, each trail meandering through silent forest, some periodically peeking out to a splendid view of Georgian Bay. Their bright and welcoming lodge is the perfect place to warm up with cocoa or soup from the cafeteria, and their pro shop has all the equipment you need to rent or purchase.
For a well-earned post-ski meal, idyllic Creemore is just a short drive from the nordic centre. Savour the flavour and warmth of fine dining with mushroom bourguignon and crisp, roasted herbed potatoes at Chez Michel, or belly up to the bar with an order of tasty fish and chips at The Old Millhouse Pub. Italian fare, hot pizza and bakeries abound in this historic village.
Visit highlandsnordic.ca for details about XC skiing along the escarpment and experiencecreemore.com to peruse dinner options.
Skiing and Snowboarding at Mount St. Louis
Is this the winter to finally give downhill skiing or snowboarding a try? Or maybe dust off those long-forgotten turning skills? Family-owned Mount St. Louis Moonstone is the perfect place to dive in.
Start the day in the lodge, where you’ll find the latest rental gear from helpful, knowledgeable staff, then head to the hill for a lesson with a CSIA pro. With trails and equipment for beginners through advanced riders, Mount St. Louis is family-friendly and welcoming to all.
Après ski, check out Quayle’s Brewery. Just a few minutes down the road from the ski hill, Quayle’s homestyle beef chili pairs well with a pint of Raised in a Barn pale ale, brewed on-site with key ingredients sourced directly from the farm.
Plan your day on the slopes at mountstlouis.com and learn more about the farm-to-glass experience overlooking 12 acres of hop yards at quaylesbrewery.ca.
Skate Trail at the Simcoe County Museum
Lace up your skates and glide along the 1.2 km path that winds around heritage buildings and under towering pines at the Simcoe County Museum. The skating trail is a recent addition to the site, and will be open, weather-dependent, throughout the season.
After a few laps in the woods, pop inside the museum to learn more about the history of Simcoe County with permanent exhibits highlighting the earliest inhabitants of the area, local natural resources and Barrie’s Main Street at the turn of the 20th century.
Book your space ahead of time at museum.simcoe.ca.
Fat biking at Horseshoe Resort
Take a break from sliding and gliding to pedal your way through the snow. Horseshoe Resort maintains a 9-km fat-bike loop through the Copeland Forest, designed for both beginner and intermediate riders.
First time on a fat bike? Horseshoe offers Norco bikes for rent for both youth and adults, equipped with wide, low-pressure tires ensuring easy traction and safe flotation on the trail. Reserve your bike and plan your visit at horseshoeresort.com.