There’s something about snow that makes it easy to get kids outside and active. Parents in warmer climates are really missing out. At least that’s what I like to tell myself in the middle of a freezing cold February in Canada. This winter had been a little light on snow and my kids were no longer enthralled with their muddy backyard, so when the call came from Sir Sam’s to represent Active for Life and bring my family for a visit, we were all looking forward to the adventure.
Along with some friends from Momstown, my family spent a night in Haliburton at the Bonnie View Inn, and the day after that at Sir Sam’s. The drive to Haliburton from Toronto is just under three hours and from Ottawa, about three and a half – totally manageable for an easy overnight family vacation.
Arriving at the Bonnie View Inn in the late afternoon, our car was barely parked before all three of my children were scrambling out the door to grab sleds and start sliding down the big hill toward Kashagawigamog Lake. With a wealth of fun toboggans and sleds to chose from, all the kids (and adults!) from our group bonded over the common experience of the freedom of flying down a hill. (And there are communities wanting to ban tobogganing. Imagine.)
Sledding isn’t the only thing on offer at the Bonnie View Inn in the winter, though. There’s ice fishing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and of course, ice skating. (And don’t worry about bringing equipment if you don’t want to – the inn has it all available for you to use at no extra cost.) After a quick dinner, everyone went back out on the lake, this time with skates on for some hockey under the stars. Once our cheeks were rosy and our hearts full, we headed to our rooms for a roaring fire, the perfect way to end such an active, outdoor evening.
The next morning began with more tobogganing, of course. Then a quick drive to Sir Sam’s where the first two stops were a hearty breakfast in the chalet and a visit to the rental desk for skis and snowshoes. Then, it was time for everyone’s much-anticipated lessons.
My oldest two children (ages 7 and 10) shared an instructor, while my youngest (age 4) and husband took a parent and tot lesson. The parent and tot lesson offers the added advantage of giving parents tips for how to help kids develop skiing skills so that when you’re out on the slopes with them alone, you have an idea of how to help them.
The teaching team at Sir Sam’s is nothing if not dedicated. I watched my children progress quickly with teachers more patient than would seem humanly possible.
While the kids skied, I snowshoed, taking the new covered surface lift up to hike the gorgeous trails at the top. The spectacular views and challenging stretches of terrain meant I had an incredible time. (Not going to lie – the peace and quiet of being up there by myself helped, too.)
We met up again for a hot lunch, then all three kids insisted on going back out and staying until the hill closed (which happens at 4:00 p.m. as there is no night skiing at Sir Sam’s) because they were so keen to keep practising what they’d learned in their lessons.
The Bishop family has been running Sir Sam’s for 49 years and it shows. There is a definite family vibe everywhere you go. From homemade soups for lunch to the feeling that there is always someone nearby to help with any concerns, knowing you’re well taken care of is one of the great benefits of a place like Sir Sam’s
Would we go back?
Would we go back? In a heartbeat. In fact, my kids were already asking on the drive home if we could book another lesson soon with the same teachers because they were “so much fun and taught us so much.” And if that isn’t a testament to a perfect teacher, I don’t know what is.
A day and a half was all it took to create happy memories and develop budding ski skills. If you’re close to Sir Sam’s, it’s well worth a trip. And if you’re not, check Ski Canada to find somewhere near you.
Our review was made possible thanks to Sir Sam’s Ski and Bike which provided lift passes, lessons, and meals, and Bonnie View Inn, which provided accommodations. Special thanks to Jennifer Pinarski and Momstown.ca for including us in the fun. Read Jennifer’s review of the trip here.