Skiers and snowboarders don't have to wait long for their next adrenaline fix at Ski Vorlage. Ample lift capacity ensures short wait times for each of the ski area's 17 runs, 13 of which are open into the evening six nights a week for added thrills beneath a picturesque canopy of stars. The ski area's 80 acres encompass a vertical drop of 490 feet traversed by runs as long as 4,000 feet.
More than 140 certified instructors ensure beginners are comfortable on the slopes, although three black-diamond and one double-black-diamond runs serve to challenge experienced skiers. Between runs, skiers can warm up at the lodge restaurant or check into nearby accommodations.
A year-round hotspot at the Jay Peak Resort, Jay Peak Pump House Indoor Waterpark beckons families to slip into its colorful slides and lounge in its 100-plus-degree hot tubs. La Chute, a quick-descending slide 65’ above the water, launches visitors through a 360-degree turn before depositing them in the pool below only six seconds later. In the Mill Pond kids’ play area, children man water cannons, adjusting their trajectory to blast unsuspecting friends or hydrate parched marathon runners.
An arcade replete with 3-D games and immersive ride simulators provides a break from underwater exploits, and the snack shack quells cravings for pizza, burgers, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Adults can lounge at the poolside bar, where bartenders serve up frozen cocktails, draft beers, and firsthand advice on shark wrangling.
Just outside of Ottawa, in the rolling Gatineau Hills, lies Camp Fortune. This isn't the kind of camp where kids toast marshmallows and see how many twigs they can stuff into their mouths, however. To see many of its visitors, you'll need to look up. Adventurers of all ages climb and glide through the aerial park's sun-dappled forest canopy across three different courses, one especially for kids. The Explorer park is three hours of zig-zagging suspended bridges, tunnels made of barrels, and pulse-pounding zip-lines. The shorter but more challenging Amazone places 24 obstacles and seven ziplines throughout a multi-tiered treetop network.
In warm weather, skiing slopes reveal an extensive network of mountain biking trails, all scrupulously maintained and accessible by lift. Punishing rises and thrilling descents, and an obstacle-filled pump track, face intermediate to expert cyclists. A mountain-bike camp teaches kids topics such as trail safety and repurposing training wheels, all overseen by a staff of certified wilderness experts.
Groups often take over Camp Fortune for weddings, banquets, corporate gatherings, and other large-scale events from April to November. A main lodge and cocktail lounge host formal wine dinners and casual barbecue buffets alike, and the Chalet des ?rables holds private retreats.
When riding to the top of one of Mont Ste Marie's twin peaks, located about an hour from Ottawa, it's hard not to be awestruck. It's not just the dense evergreens brushed with snow or the panoramic views of foothills and lakes, it's also the stunning privacy the landscape has kept. Despite being a hotspot for speed, visitors can pause at the top for a quiet moment amid natural beauty, and look out over Lac Ste Marie's tiny cityscape. Yet the sheer height of the mountain is sure to draw some gasps as well.
At 1,250 feet, Mont Ste Marie towers over its surroundings with verticals that are the highest in the region. Hewn into the north faces of both peaks?Vanier Mountain and Cheval Blanc?is a mix of runs that offers skiers and snowboarders numerous ways to get down without hastily installing an escalator. On the developing south face of Cheval Blanc, meanwhile, a fresh 1,325-foot vertical run rewards visitors with natural snow and a swift descent. But for novices, beginner and intermediate terrain snakes along Vanier Mountain, its long trails providing spectacular views and a relaxed pace.