Callaghan
Credit: Callaghan Lodge

BC: Callaghan Country Mountain Lodge (pictured)

By Day: What nearby Whistler-Blackcomb is to resort skiing, Callaghan is to cross-country and backcountry — Disneyland with snow. Combined with neighbouring Whistler Olympic Park, there are 130 km of groomed cross-country ski trails. Callaghan’s 42 km of track rolls through Coast Range terrain and is more rugged and adventurous. Snowshoers can navigate through old-growth trees draped in snow. Above the trails are endless options for backcountry touring, earning turns or peak-bagging in the area’s 11 metres of annual snowfall. 

By Night: Thirteen kilometres from the trailhead, Callaghan’s Journeyman Lodge may have the location and ambience of the backcountry, but its running hot water and spacious interior feel more front-country. Luggage catches a ride to-and-from the lodge via snowcat, while its owners usually find their own way in. Rooms vary from family-sized suites to private bedrooms with shared washrooms. The resident chef cooks up four-course dinners, continental breakfasts and lunches to go.

Directions: Ten minutes off the Sea to Sky Highway, south of Whistler, 1.5 hours from Vancouver.

Beta:From $169 per night; callaghancountry.com

ON: Smoothwater Wilderness Lodge

By Day: Forty-five kilometres of packed snowshoe and cross-country ski trails wander through the forest past moose, lynx and wolf tracks. Destinations include two backcountry cabins, old growth maples and a decommissioned mine. Back at the lodge, check out the meditative labyrinth and the wood-fired sauna.

By Night: The lodge’s epicentre is the Blue Gathering Hall, where guests await locavore food among a library of books, crafts, games and a piano. Then, recover for another day of fun back in the lodge’s bedrooms, which rank somewhere between a B&B and a guesthouse.

Directions: North of the town of Temagami, just off Highway 11, 4.5 hours north of Toronto. 

Beta:from $30 per night; smoothwater.com

NS: Ski Tuonela

By Day: The Maritimes’ only backcountry ski area, this backwoods ski village on Cape Breton Island sits at the base of a 125-metre-high slope of perfectly gladed forest. There’s also 18 km of cross-country ski trails for classic fans.

By Night: After a day of skiing, recover with a sweltering sauna or a group board game in the social centre and then bunk down in one of three cozy cabins, all dog friendly with lights and a propane-powered kitchen.

Directions: Located a four-kilometre ski from Cabot Trail, an hour’s drive west of Sydney.

Beta:from $155 for one night and two days of skiing for two people; skituonela.com

QC: Rivière à la Pêche oTENTik

By Day: Within La Mauricie National Park’s Rivière à la Pêche campground, these hybrid cabins sit near the trailhead of 80 km of groomed cross-country ski trails. Snowshoers can float through the campground or drive to four other trailheads spread throughout the park and hike to waterfalls, lakes and through forest. 

By Night: Parks Canada designed these 10 oTENTik shelters as a camping-like experience without all the fuss. They’re basically private cabins with canvas walls: wood stove, wood floors, real beds (two doubles and a single) and fully equipped for cooking.

Directions: Two hours from both Montreal and Quebec City, a half-hour north of Trois-Rivières.

Beta:$120 per night; pc.gc.ca

 

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