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    photo courtesy Blue Mountain ResortKidzView Blue Mountain is much wider than it is high. It is the widest, tallest ski area in the Canadian province of Ontario. There are 34 runs that line up one beside the other along a long ridge called the Niagara Escarpment. From the top you get a really big view of Georgian Bay, which is part of Lake Huron--one of North America's Great Lakes. It's fun to ski or ride Blue from one end to the other. Start at the South End and do every run -even the hard ones--until you get to last run at Blue's North End. Then make your way back. You get to ride every chairlift on this adventure--it's a great way to explore the mountain.

    For Sanity's Sake: Look for frequent ski week specials (see our calendar). On these weeks lift tickets range from $10 to $29 Cdn. Indoor tennis and spa facilities are a treat on bad weather days. On ski days, head to Blue Mountain's South Base first where most of the beginner and intermediate terrain is located. There's a ski school and daycare at that end, as well as lots of parking. There's another ski school at the Village Base, sometimes called Central Base, as well as restaurants, shops and coffee bars.

    KidzPoints: There are tons of kids programs going on all day at Blue Mountain, both inside and out. It's very family-friendly. Get program info at the ski school desk. There are childcare centers for kids from four months to five years, and there are Kids Adventure Camps for kids learning to ski and snowboard. There's also a cool snowboard park called Badlands. At night there are movies, a new game room at Blue Mountain Inn, and weekend activities such as scavenger hunts. Games and crafts are organized at Blue Mountain's Activity Desk every day after 3 p.m. Dogsledding and snowshoeing are available nearby.

    Where to Ski: Blue--which is what the locals call it--has 34 trails and 12 chairlifts, four of which are high-speed. Like we said, Blue is the biggest ski area in Ontario and it certainly is the widest, so there's lots of terrain to choose from. Blue's South End is best for beginners and intermediates. If you're skiing for one day only, park your car at South and use their facilities. Big Baby really is a big baby--a wide-open novice run that has lots of room for carving big easy turns. Waterfall and Crooked Oak are a blast. Mogul Alley and Apple Bowl are intermediate to advanced runs in the center of the ski area--both are lots of fun. Much of the ski and snowboard racing at Blue is done on Tranquility. And at the north end you'll find the expert runs, including the scary (but not too scary) Spectacular and Elevator Shaft.

    photo courtesy Blue Mountain Resort Where to Board: The best boarding at Blue is in the Badlands Terrain Park, where there are boxes and rails, wave walls, hips and pipes. You can also try shredding through Hell's Half Acre--another very bad (meaning good) spot for snowboarding. Like Blue's night skiing, Badlands is open until 10 p.m. every night.

    Special Programs: Kids Adventure Camps are fun ways to learn to ski or snowboard, or to improve your skills. The camps are organized in Blue Mountain's South Base Lodge. Ski camps for kids aged 7-12 are available, and snowboard camps run for kids from 8-12 years of age. Camps are $50 Cdn. plus lift ticket. Call (705) 445-0231 to make a reservation.

    Child Care: Child care is available for children ages 4 months to 5 years. Located at the South Base Lodge, full day programs run $45 - $55 Cdn. Childcare with a ski lesson is available for preschool aged children (3-5) years for $60 Cdn. (includes lunch, snack and ski lesson). Call (705 )445-0231 to make a reservation.

    Good Groceries: The Pottery Dining Room in the Blue Mountain Inn serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner- you can dine in your ski boots, no problem! The Pottery also has an outdoor patio open when the weather's good. Monterra Bar & Grill isn't right on the hill but it's close by at Blue's Monterra Golf Course. It serves great Tex-Mex food and kids are welcome. Jozos is a great place for kids' parents to hang out after the kids have gone to bed! Pizza Pizza in the Village Base Lodge gets high marks on their pizzas (open late too). You could also try the new Indian Motorcycle Cafi in the Village Base--the patio is where it's cool to "be seen". And the coffee's great at the Starbuck's outlet, also in the village.

    Sleep Tight: If you're skiing with small kids, stay on the mountain. Blue Mountain Inn has a pool and a game room. The Grand Georgian and the Weider Lodge have hot tubs and recreation rooms with games and big screen TVs. Plus, there are computer games on all of the in-room televisions and Internet access so you can surf or check your email. The Grand Georgian and Weider Lodge have kitchen units, so you can cook your own meals. All three hotels are right on the hill--just walk out the front door and you're at one of the lifts.

    Spendy: Historic Snowridge Mountain Homes are fully-equipped houses nestled into the quiet of Blue Mountain's nearby golf course. Shuttles are available to and from the mountain, or you can drive your own car. Each house has luxury master bedroom suites, rooms for the kids and fully-equipped kitchens. Prices (2002) start at about $249 Cdn for a three bedroom but are lower for one and two bedrooms. Lift and rental packages are available.
    Moderate: Weider Lodge and The Grand Georgian are two brand new condo-hotels at the Village Base of Blue Mountain. Each condo has a kitchen, dining room, bedroom(s) and balconies. There's a pool that's open in the summer and hot tubs on the premises. Weider Lodge and The Grand Georgian are located in the heart of the Blue Mountain Village, where shops, restaurants and lifts are located. Prices start at about $129 Cdn. Lift and rental packages are available. Resort Condominiums are also located nearby, just a short walk to the action. These condos have one to three bedrooms, kitchens and all the comforts of home. Prices start at about $174 Cdn. Lift and rental packages are available.
    Thrifty: Blue Mountain Inn, located right on the mountain, is a traditional resort hotel that's easy on the budget. Many rooms have two beds, private baths, TVs and fridges. Plus, the Inn has a restaurant, a bar, a game room, a sauna, whirlpools and an indoor pool. Prices start at about $119 Cdn. Lift and rental packages are available.


    Rent: Rental shops are situated in Blue Mountain's South and Village Base Lodges. They open at 8:30 a.m. and run through to closing. You can rent ski and snowboard equipment for night riding as well.
    Buy: Try Red Devil Sports for purchasing ski and snowboard gear. Located in the Village Base, the store has a wide selection of hats, mitts, headgear, sweaters, skis, boots, snowboards, goggles... you name it.

    photo courtesy Blue Mountain ResortOther Fun Stuff: Try snow tubing at the south end of Blue Mountain. Tube Town is located next to the Big Baby run. There's a tow that takes you and the tube to the top, where you have four slopes to choose from. They say you can get your tube sliding at speeds as fast as 60 kilometers per hour. (That's about 40 MPH at American speeds!)

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    Location: Blue Mountain is located 11 km (7 miles) west of Collingwood, and 11 km (7 miles) east of Thornbury, off Highway 26, on Blue Mountain Road. R.R. no.3 Collingwood, ON, Canada L9Y 3Z2.

    Info: 705-445-0231

    Snowphone: 705-445-0231

    Reservations: 705-445-0231

    Terrain: 251 acres
    17% easier
    42% more difficult
    41% most difficult

    Base elevation: 775 feet

    Vertical rise: 720 feet

    Average Snowfall: 110 inches

    Snowmaking: 100%

    13 Lifts; 3 surface lifts, 4 double chairs, 2 triple chairls, 2 hi-speed quds and 2 hi-speed six passengers.

    Lift tickets (Canadian dollars):
    All day adult: $47 (9-4:30); $54 (9am-10pm)
    All day youth (6-17): $29/37
    Children 6 and under free

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