The majestic Norwester Mountains on the south side of Thunder Bay are breathtaking from afar, but there’s nothing quite like standing on top of them in a pair of skis. Just riding the chairlift even up the Snoopy Hill, the smallest run out there, offers spectacular views.
For my family, Loch Lomond is synonymous with childhood memories. It would be impossible for me to count the number of hours I spent there in the eighties learning to ski with my parents. And to their credit, weekend after weekend they would haul three little girls and all their cumbersome ski gear to and from the chalet.
To us, it was the ultimate winter playground. Now 30 years later, I’m revisiting my favourite hill with my own 5-year-old daughter Chloe and 3-year-old-son Jack. Chloe can barely sit through the drive toward the hill, knowing she’s going to run into her buddies Ellis, Jude, Katie, Ryan and Ross—a whole posse of tiny 5-year-olds who are out on the slopes with their families too.
Perhaps what I love most about Loch Lomond is the family feel. There are always people striking up conversations in the chalet or in line for the chairlift. I’ve met the children of friends that I went to high school with there, and my husband, who’s a Newfoundlander, met a fellow Newfie on the hill—what odds?!
For beginners it’s also extremely affordable. Few people realize that a pass for an adult to ski only the Snoopy Hill (beginner hill) is under $12, and kids under the age of 6 ski for free. If you don’t have equipment, the rental shop in the basement of the chalet has it all, right down to the helmet.
There are a lot of kids programs to take advantage of too. On school P.A. Days and March Break there are day camps for kids, as well as a ski school for all ages and skill levels. My husband, who is 36, is learning to ski alongside my 5-year-old and it’s magical to watch them discover the thrill of the sport together (and a relief that the many ski patrollers and ski instructors are cruising the hill to lend a helpful hand).
And when my three-year-old gets tired of his itty-bitty skis, he pops them off and we head to the toddler sliding hill, or we watch the people slide down on enormous tubes. Our next adventure will be the Loch Lomond snowshoe trails, and when he’s older, maybe even rent
When the weather is really cold, there’s a cozy little family friendly bar upstairs with a wood fire stove where momma can get a glass of wine and the kids their fix of hot chocolate. You really can’t beat that.
1800 Loch Lomond Road, Thunder Bay
picture: Chloe and Katie are ready to shred and ski
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