Archive for the ‘Whistler’ Category

The Olympic Rings in Whistler Village.

The Olympic Rings in Whistler Village.

“If you’ve ever dreamed about blasting off to Whistler, B.C., for a three-day blow-out winter visit complete with hard skiing, sumptuous lodging, arts, culture, tasty food and a spa experience that will soothe your screaming muscles, here’s how to do it…”

And so began my 2012 Toronto Sun travel story on Whistler–the one that gives you the goods on skiing hard and playing softly in the soothing arms of the Four Seasons Whistler.

With Whistler’s recent bountiful snowfall and my pending “big family trip” to BC’s most gigantico ski resort commencing in just one week, I thought it might be fun to replay this Sun article. Consider it an enticement to join us in Whistler this season…

LINK: Toronto Sun: High On Luxury in Whistler


Lori Knowles is editor of SNOW Magazine and a ski travel columnist for the Toronto Sun. You can read more of her work at www.loriknowles.com

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show swapI spent Thursday afternoon and evening touring the new Toronto Snow Show. It’s in a new location, with a new name, and a re-energized vibe.

I met more than one person who’d headed toward Exhibition Place before realizing The Toronto Snow Show is now at the International Centre, close to Pearson International Airport. For a downtowner, the show is far… but the location’s not bad for skiers in the GTA. Plus parking is free.  The show is on now through Sunday, October 20. Download the handy iPhone app for directions and hours.

Now for scenes from this year’s show:

1) Toronto graffiti artist SKAM is creating art on site; stop by and watch. Also enter to win one of his pieces.

Graffiti artist SKAM at the Toronto Snow Show

Graffiti artist SKAM at the Toronto Snow Show

2) Vail Resorts’ new Epic Mix app is very cool. Track your runs, earn icons, calculate your vertical. Stop by the Vail booth for a demonstration. And don’t forget to ask about the new Epic pass… $729 US for skiing all season at Vail resorts in Colorado, Utah, California… even Europe!

Vail's new Epix Mix App

Vail’s new Epix Mix App

3) The women of SNOW Magazine stopped by Quebec’s booth to snap a Quebec Original postcard. You can too… with or without the boas and Elton John sunglasses!

Bonjour Quebec!

Bonjour Quebec!

4) Only in Aspen! The Colorado ski destination gets creative with funky art on its lift passes. Here’s a sample… so much fun. Check them out at Aspen’s booth, and find out more about skiing Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Buttermilk and The Highlands.

Ski Pass Art

Ski Pass Art

5) Blue Mountain’s gone high tech with iPads in its booth. Stop by to browse.

Blue Mountain booth

Blue Mountain booth

6) A parting shot from the Pro Am Rail Jam:

Pro Am Rail Jam, photo courtesy of Toronto Snow Show

Pro Am Rail Jam, photo courtesy of Toronto Snow Show

For more on the Toronto Snow Show, follow my tweets @LoriExploring.

Lori Knowles is the editor of SNOW Magazine. View her work at www.LoriKnowles.comFollow Lori on Twitter @LoriExploring

All photos copyright Lori Knowles.

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SKAM, a Toronto graffiti artist, will be demonstrating snow art at the Toronto Snow Show

SKAM, a Toronto graffiti artist, will be demonstrating snow art at the Toronto Snow Show

Toronto skiers, it’s time for the Toronto Snow Show.

Here are five reasons why you should go:

1. The Toronto Snow Show (October 17-20) has a new name, a new location, and a new vibe. Once known as the Toronto Ski Show, it’s joined this latest century with a name that encompasses all you can do at a ski resort besides simply skiing–namely, snowboarding, tubing, skating, XC skiing, spa-ing, shopping, eating. All stuff you can do in an environment of snow. The show has moved from Exhibition Place to the International Centre–free parking, and closer to those of you living and skiing outside metro Toronto. And organizers have promised a new vibe–graffiti artists, a rail jam, a snow park. I’m hoping they’ll rev us up for the coming of snow.

Graffiti2. Art and snow are two of my favourite things and this season the Toronto Snow Show promises them both. SKAM, a Toronto graffiti artist, will be onsite with six demonstrations throughout the weekend. This guy’s work is pretty cool. I’m keen to see what he creates in the theme of snow. For a schedule of live demonstration times, visit http://tssts.sportshows.ca/skam_grafitti_demonstrations/.

3. There are $10,000 in cash giveaways to pro and amateur skiers and riders competing in the Pro-AM Rail Jam during the show. Admission is free… at least, it’s included in the cost of Snow Show Admission. Plus, new this year is an area in which you can try your own tricks. The Burton Riglet Park is a mini terrain park with features that will help you get the sensation of snowboarding.
4. Two-for-One lift passes are on sale at the Snow Show with the price of admission. Participating Ontario resorts include Blue Mountain, Horseshoe, Mount St. Louis, Brimacomb and Snow Valley.
Exploring the floor for new ski fashion.

Exploring the floor for new ski fashion.

5. My favourite: browsing. That’s right, browsing. At the Toronto Snow Show you can shop for jackets, pants, equipment, goggles and helmets. You can swap or purchase inexpensive equipment at Canada’s largest ski and snowboard Swap, organized by the Canadian Ski Patrol. And best yet, you can visit ski areas booths from all over Canada, the US and Europe… all to plan your next ski vacation.

For more info on the Toronto Snow Show, see www.TorontoSnowShow.com
Follow my #SnowShow tweets @LoriExploring
Lori Knowles is the editor of SNOW Magazine. View her work at www.LoriKnowles.comFollow Lori on Twitter @LoriExploring
Photos supplied by the Toronto Snow Show.

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Hello, and welcome to SNOW.

Snow Magazine, Winter 2014

Snow Magazine, Winter 2014

This is the first edition of SNOW Magazine for the 2014 ski season… and the very first created by our new team:

1) Barbara Sanders, Publisher/Founder

2) Anne-Marie Boissonnault, Creative Director (YQB Media)

3) Laura Doherty, Graphic Designer (YQB Media)

4) & Me… Lori Knowles, Editor.

Inside, there are features on Banff, Lech, the sexy Sachs ski dynasty of St. Moritz, and Tremblant, which is turning a tenacious 75 this ski season. And don’t miss our 007-inspired Fashion Feature: For Your Eyes Only–2014 Ski Fashion is Shaken, Not Stirred!

SNOW Winter 2014 is available on newsstands and Zineo.com. Visit www.TheSnowMag.com for more info, and the latest on life, lifts & luxury.

Lori Knowles is the editor of SNOW Magazine. View her work at www.LoriKnowles.comFollow Lori on Twitter @LoriExploring

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Toronto's Snow Show, October 17-20, 2013

Toronto’s Snow Show, October 17-20, 2013

Canada’s Thanksgiving Weekend has always been a turning point for me. It’s the point in the year at which I leave my beloved Muskoka cottage behind and start thinking seriously about my second great love: skiing.

Why Canadian Thanksgiving? Because one week later, October 17-20, 2013, is the event that marks Ontario’s official start of the ski season:  The Toronto Snow Show.

Exploring the floor for new ski fashion.

Exploring the floor for new ski fashion.

I doubt I’ve missed a Snow Show since, say, I was 17. It’s been a tradition to head there after work or school on a Friday evening, link up with great friends in the ski industry, and explore the floor. I’ve planned many a ski trip at the ski show. I’ve purchased skivvies and ski jackets and goggles and hats at bargain prices from Toronto ski retailers. I’ve spotted the skis and boots I simply must sample. I’ve watched aerialists and ice sculptors and ski fashion models do their thing. Once, way back, I even interviewed for my first job as a ski pro at Whistler-Blackcomb. But mostly at the annual ski show, I’ve revved myself up for an eventful ski season—one that, in about six weeks, will be in full swing.

Why am I telling you this?

Snow Magazine, Winter 2014

Snow Magazine, Winter 2014

As the new editor of SNOW Magazine (www.TheSnowMag.com), I think a lot about skiing. I think about it all spring and summer and autumn long… yet I have few people with which I can chat skiing. Fair enough, most people want to avoid winter in summer. So this is my first opportunity of the season to get you thinking what I’m thinking.

There is another reason. Organizers of the Toronto Snow Show have asked me to spread the word, and I’ve agreed. There’s been an effort afoot to revitalize this annual event—a new location, new features, a palpable new energy. The Canadian National Sportsmen’s Shows have partnered with the Canadian Ski Council to rethink the whole thing, and I applaud their efforts. Change is a good thing.

And so, here we go. A series of blogs from LoriExploring enticing you to rev up for the ski season right along with me… the weekend after Canadian Thanksgiving.

Below are some essential details and my take on why I think they’re exciting. Stay tuned, there’s more to come in the next two weeks. Also, follow my #SnowShow tweets @Lori Exploring

New Location: The Toronto Snow Show, October 17-20, will be held for the first time at Toronto’s International Centre, not far from the airport. Why is this a big deal? Two words: free parking. www.TorontoSnowShow.com

Best Deal: Buy 1 Get 1 Free Lift Ticket. Buy a lift pass at an Ontario ski resort and get another one free, with the price of a Snow Show admission. Why is this a big deal? You get 50% off your ski day.

Into The Mind by Sherpa Cinemas

Into The Mind by Sherpas Cinema

Best Show: Sherpas Cinema will present their latest film, Into the Mind, at the Toronto Snow Show. Why is this a big deal? Another two words: Kye Petersen. (He’s one of Canada’s top freeskiers. He’ll be there.)

Best Buzz: Quebec’s ski areas are gathering themselves into one section of the show and giving it a traditional ski-chalet-atmosphere. Why is this a big deal? Wine and cheese are included.

As I said: stay tuned. More to come, here, at www.LoriKnowles.com and @LoriExploring

Lori Knowles is the editor of SNOW Magazine. Lori’s ski features also appear regularly in Ski Canada, Up! by Westjet, and the Toronto Sun. View her work at www.LoriKnowles.com. Follow Lori on Twitter @LoriExploring

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Kids are odd, don’t you think? Especially when they travel.

The giant Japanese bath with a view at the Fairmont Pacific Rim

Here we are, kids and all, wrapped in the very cloak of travel luxury at Vancouver’s brand new, highly polished Fairmont Pacific Rim. We’re on the Gold floor… the definition of swank. Our room on the 20th storey has a $10-million view (truth. it’s been evaluated.) Our unobstructed panorama is of the sunny, mountain-ringed Vancouver harbour. Float planes and cargo ships are whizzing about below us. Stanley Park and the 2010 Olympic cauldron are just below us. Our drapes and lighting are highly automated. We have the largest flatscreen TV ever. Our bathtub is deep, square-shaped and straight out of Japan. We have concierges taking care of us 24/7–including people to fill said Japanese bathtub on our behalf (it takes 45 min to fill and fits all four of us!). And still, my kids’ most favourite thing at the Fairmont Pan Pacific is… the automatic bath bubble maker.

Like I said, kids are odd when they travel.

Or are they? The fact they’re most fascinated by a plastic bubble machine in the midst of all this opulence is fairly predictable, really. And honestly, it makes no difference to myself and my husband, as long as they’re enjoying it. Frankly, whatever works is fine with us, because we never want to check out of this wonderful room. The beds are so comfy I feel as if I could sleep forever. The tub really is an event. The pool on the sixth floor has an awesome view of the Pacific Rim’s ‘Rock Star Suite.’ And the entire pan-asian atmosphere is all very Zen… a.k.a. relaxing.

This Fairmont at Vancouver’s waterfront is the luxury chain’s newest hotel. It gives off a quintessential ‘Vancouver’ vibe. Items in its eclectic stores are local. The hotel’s decor is a mix of American Walnut wood and  Ledge stone. The luxe carpets make me think of drawings of the Queen Charlotte Islands. And the service is excellent, yet understated and casual… all very westcoast.

The Gold service on the 20th and 21st floors is indeed more expensive than a regular Fairmont room by about $100 per night. But as a treat, it’s worth it. There’s always someone around to help us with something. And the food in our private lounge is yummy: breakfast, snacks at 4 pm, then a chocolate fountain at 7pm… I never want to go home to cook for myself or my family ever again.

Sugar Buns at the Pacific Rim's Giovane cafe

But the very best part of Vancouver’s new Pacific Rim hotel has to be the Sugar Buns in the Giovane cafe — giant balls of sugar-coated light donut pastry filled to the brim with cream. The very definition of devine. Forgetting the bubble machine entirely, by seven-year-old son says: “Mom, I love these Sugar Buns. I love them more than the whole universe.”


Lori Knowles is the family travel writer for the Toronto Sun. You can read more of her work in this blog (www.LoriExploring.Wordpress.com) as well as on her website: www.loriknowles.com Or follow her on Twitter @LoriExploring

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White Rock's 486 tonne white rock

They didn’t name it White Rock for nothin’.

There really is a white rock in White Rock, British Columbia… and it’s ginormous. How it got there–and how it stays so white–are the mysteries that keep family travellers guessing.

Like England’s Stonehenge and Egypt’s pyramids, White Rock, BC’s white rock has a ‘wonder-of-the-world’ kind of mystique about it. Roughly the size of about three Volkswagon Beetles piled on top of one another and weighing a rather weighty 486 tonnes, this rock–more of a boulder, really–is sitting alone on the shore of the community beach in Semiahmoo Bay, not a single other rock anywhere near its size anywhere around it. Even more mystifying… this mystery rock is as white as the snow on top of BC’s Whistler Mountain.

There are several theories dealing with how the rock came to rest on this rockless Pacific beach. Most sound are the ones that say something-or-other about glacial deposits etc… all very important-sounding and boringly scientific. But my kids–here exploring coastal British Columbia as research for my Toronto Sun family travel column–are not convinced by ecological theories. They much prefer the legend of the white rock… they one that has more to do with sea gods and rock-throwing rages than sound science.

“Legend has it,” reads my Guide to White Rock & South Surrey, “that after being denied marriage to his mortal sweetheart, the son of a Sea God hurled this rock across the Gulf of Georgia saying: ‘Where this rock lands, there we will make our home!'”

I know… there may be a few minor details missing in my trusty guide, including why said mortal sweetheart wouldn’t marry the Sea God’s son in the first place. (Perhaps it had something to do with his anger issues.) But as we approach the rock I read the story to my kids anyway, and they buy it, wide-eyed and hook, line and sinker.

When the story’s over and we’ve reached this massive white hulk, they ask no questions, save the inevitable: “Can we climb it?”


Q: What makes White Rock’s white rock so very white?

A: Another (more modern legend) has it that the community… wait for it… paints it.

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Science, shm-ience. Tide pools exist solely for kids.

Tide Pools of White Rock

Our first full evening along the Pacific coast of British Columbia was spent combing the enormous beach of a pretty little community called White Rock. The tide had receded (for miles), leaving acres of tide pools. And the kids LOVED them. Warm and shallow, these pools run along the beach forever, perfect places for little kids to skip and play… who says tides recede for any other reason other than to entertain children?

White Rock, BC is situated about 40 minutes south of Vancouver, not far from the Canada/USA border. You reach it from Vancouver by following the Oak Street Bridge to Highway 99 South… the same fabled roadway that also leads northward to the ski community of Whistler. There’s little wonder Highway 99 is called the Sea to Sky Highway.

The town of White Rock is anchored by an enormous beach along its western edge. A bike path, some shops, and a plethora of seafood cafes line its Marine Drive. On sunny days, masses of tourists and locals wander along the street. Kids mainly head for the beach, sand buckets in hand… which is exactly what our family did.

Sand Castles

As the sun was setting on a warm Saturday in July, we waded through the tide pools, chasing fish and searching for clam shells and crab legs. We built a sand castle and shored it up with rocks, hoping it would survive the encroaching tide. No such luck. The tide eventually moved in and destroyed our masterpiece–nature has its way of ‘having its own way!’

Once the red sun had sunk over the Pacific horizon, we made our way wearily back to our hotel, White Rock’s Ocean Promenade (www.oceanpromenadehotel.com/)… and slept.

Tomorrow: more from White Rock. www.hellobc.com

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Hello British Columbia!

BC Cedars

I’ve arrived in Vancouver, entire family in tow… something new for me. Usually I have only one tagging along for my research trips, but this time I’ve got the whole crew: husband and two kids under 10. Should be the real-life experience. It’ll give me a feel for the challenges faced by families road-tripping through the Canadian province of British Columbia.

Truth be told, we’re not doing the entire province. Not even close. We’ve landed via Air Canada at Vancouver International. We’re touring Vancouver and an oceanside suburb (White Rock) first, then boarding a BC Ferry for Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. We’ll be visiting Parksville, the Comox Valley and Tofino, before heading along our last leg to Victoria where we board a plane back to Toronto. A big thank you to Tourism BC for setting this up (www.hellobc.com)

It’s our first visit to the island, so we’re truly stoked!

I’ll keep you posted along the way. Or, you can read the story and see the pix in my Family Fare column that runs in the Travel section of the Toronto Sun: www.TorontoSun.com/travel

Or for something more immediate, follow our live tweets on Twitter: @LoriExploring

Now… let our adventures begin…

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Spring skiing for the whole family.

Spring can serve up some of the season’s best — and cheapest — skiing, you’ve just got to know where to look. Here’s a list of some easy-to-reach-at-the-last-minute ski resorts that are both spring- and wallet-friendly:

Whistler, BC: With the close of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games came a ton of new snow for Whistler, BC as well as some deals on ski-and-stay packages… the ski town is keen to keep the Olympic spirit alive. Three-night, two-day packages start at…

For the remainder of the story, including deals from Killington, Vail, Aspen, Le Massif, Mont-Saint-Anne and Tremblant, visit:


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