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It takes vision and imagination, not to mention a great deal of hard work, to turn any resort project into a going concern. It’s even harder when that project involves a mountain that’s mostly inaccessible to the very people you’re hoping will visit.
But that little obstacle certainly didn’t stop Czech immigrant Jozo Weider from laying the foundation for what has become Ontario’s largest and most popular mountain destination. Today, Blue Mountain Resort is a multi-million-dollar concern spanning some 700 acres, and attracting 1.5 million guests each year to enjoy winter and summer activities.
Although no longer around to see just how big his resort was to become as he passed away in 1971, Weider likely wouldn’t have been surprised. When work began on the development in 1941, the Weider family cleared the trails by hand. The first lift was anything but glamorous: it consisted of two sleds pulled up the hill by a cable powered by a truck engine, serving just three runs. And with limited road access, the first skiers had to be picked up from nearby Craigleith station after arriving by train.
Skiing at Blue Mountain Resort: Something for everyone
Fast-forward to today and the skiing at Blue Mountain Resort is considered some of the best in Ontario. The resort’s two ‘bases’ (South and the Village) boast 42 ski and snowboard trails, 30 of which are available for night skiing, and 12chairlifts with a capacity of 26,750 skiers per hour. There are also now three terrain parks available for snowboarders.
It all adds up to in excess of an impressive 750,000 lift tickets sold per year, making Blue Mountain the third-busiest ski resort in Canada after Whistler-Blackcomb in British Columbia and Mont-Tremblant in Quebec.
While we’re talking numbers, here’s a few more to digest:
- Vertical drop = 320m
- Elevation = 452m
- Width = 4km
- Longest run = 1.6km
The resort’s 164 acres of skiable slopes, almost all of it covered by state-of-the-art snowmaking machinery, is split evenly into terrain designated for skiers of particular abilities: 27% for beginners, 27% for intermediate, and an impressive 46% for advanced skiers.
The Blue Mountain Resort is also the proud owner of one of the largest snowmaking set-ups in Canada. This state-of-the-art system is capable of pumping an impressive 14,000 gallons of water per minute, enough to supply the copious amounts of fresh snow needed to cover the resort’s many trails.
A total of 750 snow guns, including multiple tower guns, mobile guns, and sled mounted guns, fire the water droplets into the air where they freeze, and are capable of covering an acre of land with a foot of snow in an astounding six minutes.
More than 51km of steel pipe was buried beneath the frost line to carry this huge volume of water, pumped along by air compressors and water pumps. The water is stored in three reservoirs with an impressive 45,000,000-gallon capacity, much of it drawn along three km of pipeline from Georgian Bay.
Blue Mountain Resort Skiing for Novices
Those new to the sport are extremely well catered to in terms of equipment rentals (always a good idea before shelling out on stuff you may never use again), as well as a top-notch ski and snowboard school.
Private lessons and programs are available that will see beginners progress to an intermediate level within the season, while those moving up to an advanced level can be trained to tackle moguls, racing, the half-pipe and terrain parks.
All in all, some 300 ski and snowboard pros are available for instruction between the South and Village Base lodges. The beginner area at the Village Base has two dedicated runs with two chair lifts. The Easy Street run offers a long, gentle slope and is great for beginners young and old.
The Best Skiing at Blue Mountain Resort for Advanced Skiers
Once the basics have been mastered, it’s over to the Graduate run, slightly steeper and a little faster. The South Base beginner area, conveniently located next to the Kids at Blue childcare center, is great for younger members of the family and has two magic carpet surface lifts.
A fun Kids’ Camp forages seven to 12 operates at South Base seven days a week, and the Children’s Activity Centre offers childcare services for youngsters aged 18 months to six years. A combined childcare-skiing program is also available for children aged three to six.
Seasoned skiers and boarders are well catered to with a number of advanced race-focused programs available. Programs include adrenaline-filled racing and skill development clinics, park and pipe programs, training stubby courses and an introduction to full gates. The emphasis is on fun and racing skill development, with an introduction to both GS and SL type courses, and including an element of ski racing fitness.
A Place to Lay Your Head
While the larger hotels are located in Blue Mountain Village, there are a number of excellent alternatives spread around the remainder of the property. The closest of these to the hills is Blue Mountain Inn. Located at the north end of the resort property, the Inn is the resort’s original slope-side retreat and was part of Jozo Weider’s original development.
The Inn has benefitted from a $1.2 million renovation that saw the addition of a private mountainside ‘oasis’ complete with four new hot tubs. In addition, the inn’s indoor pool and sauna, as well as its games- and exercise rooms, were all given an overhaul, as was the 13,000 sq ft Blue Mountain Conference Centre. On-site entertainment includes the Blue’s Lounge, Jozo’s Bar, and the Pottery Restaurant, a casual eatery serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
For more ideas and info on the best places to stay for your skiing at Blue Mountain Resort adventure, check out our story about the best luxury hotels in the Blue Mountains. There are also numerous great luxury accommodation options in Collingwood, an easy 10-minute drive away.
More Tips and Tactics
For more tips and tactics regarding the best skiing at Blue Mountain Resort, as well as ideas about other fun things to do in the South Georgian Bay region, be sure to visit our sister site at LuxuryCollingwood.com.
For Blue Mountain lift tickets, including pre-season discounts, visit their website here.
Interested in the ultimate luxury ski experience in The Blue Mountains? Check out our guide to the best Blue Mountains ski clubs to find out why going private is popular.
Kim Kerr is a luxury lifestyles writer and Co-Founder of Riley International Media.