Eighteen feet. That’s the amount of annual snowfall Canada’s Algoma District logs in a year. If you need a visual, 18 feet is roughly the height of the average adult giraffe. And if you’re a skier, that much powder means your average season just got a whole lot longer—and more awesome.
Whether you bend toward alpine, Nordic or backcountry, the Sault Ste. Marie area is a skier’s paradise; we recommend you pack them all and point north for your next ski vacay. Here’s what you can’t miss.
Downhill Re-Imagined: Searchmont Resort
With terrain offering 750 feet of vertical drop (about 300 feet more than our average ski hills in Michigan) and 50 percent black-diamond runs, this is a skier’s mountain—and one that has had an epic transformation in the last 18 months.
On the mountain, the resort recently added new snow-making and grooming equipment and two Skytrac triple chairs. The new main chairlift is up and running as well, meaning shorter lift lines and better trail access in 2024.
The new Buzzsaw lift services the new Buzzsaw learning area—a key development on a mountain that offers plenty of longer runs and advanced terrain. Buzzsaw consists only of long, sloping greens that will take littles and true beginners from never-ever to skiing-on-the-mountain status right away.
At the base, a new cafeteria has comfier seating and floor-to-ceiling slopeside views, while The Kiln, the onsite restaurant, has had a total menu refresh (they still serve their famous poutine), more seating and a bigger bar. Bonus: The new café has delish local pastries and a liquor license, which means you can say yes to a splash of Bailey’s in your Americano. For more après options or a great spot for lunch, there’s a new heated stone patio for gathering. A new accessible lodge entry and ramp system and accessible bathrooms are welcoming for skiers of all abilities.
Destination Cross-Country: Stokely Creek Lodge
Fact: If you’re a cross-country skier and want to maximize your time in the snow, you’re traveling to go do it. There’s nothing like a solid stretch of days holed up in a cozy snowbelt lodge to let you log soul-fueling trail time and butt-kicking workouts. The legendary Stokely Creek Lodge in the Algoma Highlands is one of the premier Nordic skiing destinations in North America. Here, 100 kilometers of trails of all levels/abilities cover varied terrain, winding through a landscape dotted with lakes, granite bluffs and ice caves.
Multi-Sport Escape: Hiawatha Highlands
With Sault Ste. Marie as your base camp, it’s an easy distance to some of the easiest-access skiing in the region. This welcoming recreation area draws locals and residents as well as visitors for a variety of sports, from fat biking to forest skating. Here, skiers can hop on 50 km of expertly groomed cross-country ski trails, and 2 km are lit until 10 p.m. for night skiing.
Beautiful Backcountry: Bellevue Valley Lodge
Tucked in a 1,000-acre maple forest sits the Bellevue Valley Lodge, a destination for free-heeled, free-spirited adventurers in the Algoma district. Here, backcountry skiers earn their turns through wooded glades with elevation climbing to 900 feet. The area claims an average snowfall of 250 inches each winter—experience on tele or backcountry skis is required to make the most of it (or snowshoes and snowboard), but for those who long for knee-deep and untracked adventures on skis, this is it.
Where to Aprés and Stay:
Sault Ste. Marie in winter makes a comfy basecamp and easy jumping-off point for skiers, with Searchmont and Stokely both only about 40 minutes away. Popular lodging spots include The Water Tower Inn, which has a fun indoor aqua spa, and Delta Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront, which overlooks the boardwalk and St. Mary’s River and has views of the Soo Locks from the dining room. For après-ski eats, check out upscale Peace Restaurant.
Source : Mynorth