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First time skiing! Family of four UK, Some questions :)

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96 posts
61 reviews
104 helpful votes
First time skiing! Family of four UK, Some questions :)

Hi all, we are a family of four from the UK, we are staying in Toronto in Febuary 2017 and we so want to try skiing! I have searched many places and I think this is the best resort to bring my family (children will be 8 and 11 years old). I was thinking of staying overnight in the horseshoe hotel as it includes free lift pass for us all, what do you think? Is this a good place to stay with children? We will also need to hire all of our ski equipment, does anybody know approximately how much this will cost? I have been on the web site but prices are not available yet. So after booking the hotel, free lift pass and hiring the equipment is there anything else I need to do? As I haven't been skiing before we are not sure about all of this, any help would be appreciated. Thanks :)

7 replies to this topic
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
641 posts
1 review
1 helpful vote
1. Re: First time skiing! Family of four UK, Some questions :)

I agree that Horseshoe Valley is the best option for you. Everything you need is there on site. They have several hills/runs at a variety of difficulty levels including a small beginner "bunny hill". My kids both ski/snowboard there and I believe the equipment rental is about $40 to get fully decked out. Helmets are optional but I would encourage you to wear them; the kids at least.

Since you have not skied before I would highly recommend a lesson from an instructor for your family. I wouldn't suggest attempting any of the hills without at least learning the basics of turning, stopping, getting on/off the chair lift etc.

Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
4,012 posts
29 reviews
11 helpful votes
2. Re: First time skiing! Family of four UK, Some questions :)

Hi. Horsehoe Valley is good as mentioned above. But you will definitely not learn how to ski in one day. If you schedule an early lesson then you all can attempt the bunny hill to get the experience of skiing.

I am sure you are aware that at that time of year it can be very cold, so appropriate clothing is essential, especially hats, mitts, and a ski suit.

Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
10,441 posts
140 reviews
83 helpful votes
3. Re: First time skiing! Family of four UK, Some questions :)

You should verify to see if they have a package offer that includes a lesson or all day lesson along with the lift pass and equipment. Many ski areas offer such a combo which is usually most economical. I do not read anything about taking lessons. If you have not skied before I strongly advise you to take a lesson. There are lots of tricks to skiing and most important enjoying skiing and lessons will help you tremendously.

As a ski instructor I have seen people struggle all day, falling all the time or even hurting themselves because they chose not to take lessons. On the other had after a one hour lesson many can master the beginner runs and not fall plus learn how to handle the lifts to the top of those runs. It's well worth the 1 hour investment.

Barrie, Canada
Level Contributor
351 posts
19 reviews
1 helpful vote
4. Re: First time skiing! Family of four UK, Some questions :)

As someone who used to live and ski at Horseshoe Valley I would support all the suggestions above. It's a great place to experience your first skiing experience.

Paradise, Canada
Level Contributor
1,907 posts
23 reviews
9 helpful votes
5. Re: First time skiing! Family of four UK, Some questions :)

Hi buttonq

I love Horseshoe resort too. It is my favorite resort for downhill. But...Not to burst your bubble, but do you have any experience driving in winter conditions?

Barrie is considered the snow belt region here. Toronto may not have any snow, while Barrie may have a lot. On average Toronto receives 27 cm while Barrie receives 46 cm of snow in February. Here is a Canadian Travel article about winter driving https:/…Travel-g153339-c55003

Here is a you tube video of driving to Barrie in a snow storm (caution there is cussing right away. Turn down the volume) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8RaLvb3sNk

Now there is another ski resort that has a shuttle to the Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood, Ontario. There are also ski packages with accommodations. Blue Mountain resort is similar to European resort areas, as there are restaurants and shopping in the village and ski in/ski out available from your accommodations.


Deals and accommodations



Destination Expert
for Niagara Falls
Level Contributor
6,355 posts
18 reviews
29 helpful votes
6. Re: First time skiing! Family of four UK, Some questions :)

Not sure if learning how to ski is the best use of your vacation time. It looks fun and it can be fun but it also is a huge undertaking, IMO.

I hit the slopes again last winter after a 20 some year break. It wasn't all that easy and I was sore all over for the next day or two. Your kids thou might love it so maybe go for it but long as you know what you are getting into. Skiing is a risky sport, people do break their leg or worst, even with all the safety equipment on.

Have you thought about just going ice skating ? That can be fun too and there is more places and the cost is far less.

Mississauga, Canada
Level Contributor
196 posts
73 reviews
32 helpful votes
7. Re: First time skiing! Family of four UK, Some questions :)

There are lots of winter time activities in the Huntsville and Algonquin area, maybe a night time wolf howl in the park, cross country skiing, walks in the snow, skating, snow shoeing, I'm sure there will be guided hikes available somewhere.

If you are in the Toronto area for a while check out what programs are offered at some of the local conservation areas, day events and kids programs, family day is Feb 20 and there lots of activities.Skating at Nathan Philips Square/Toronto city hall happens all winter.

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