Muskoka, Canada – Cottage Country and then some

If you’ve got the money, I’ve got the place. Muskoka, Canada – cottage country and then some. It’s a few hours north of Toronto. It’s beyond beautiful with more trees and lakes than you can imagine. A fantastic place for a vacation or weekend in the summer. Muskoka in the Fall, when the leaves change colour, is gorgeous. If you like snow and ice (ice fishing, snowshoeing, skating, snowmobiling) then you would like it here in the winter too. It’s well worth it to travel to Muskoka.

Muskoka Background

The District of Muskoka is bigger than the state of Rhode Island and contains more than 1,600 lakes. It’s also the home to 7 Provincial Parks and the world famous Algonquin Park for campers. 20 golf courses and top resorts like Taboo, Deerhurst, Grandview, Clevelands House, and JW Marriott The Rosseau Muskoka Resort.

It’s been the place to go for the well heeled for many years. Tourists flock here from Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world to see Muskoka’s natural beauty. Many Torontonians, some Americans and others have cottages, chalets and/or country homes here. Bryan Adams, Goldie Hawn, Martin Short, pro hockey players and more own some of the more fabulous summer homes. My sister (not famous) has owned a regular cottage for years. My brother-in-law owns a float plane and will fly off their lake to buy butter tarts and chelsea buns.

Boating is naturally popular on the lakes of Muskoka. Here’s a chance to take a quick ride on a ski boat in Muskoka:

The Aura of Muskoka

There’s a few places that have an aura about them in Muskoka. Bigwin Island in Lake of Bays. Now a private island with club and full 18 hole top rated golf course. (As a world golfer, I can tell you that the 18th hole is one of the prettiest in all the world. The longest hole on the course, it sweeps down to the right from an elevated tee towards the lake and clubhouse). Many years ago, Bigwin played host to big bands like Tommy Dorsey, Count Basey and others at the Pavilion.

The “Kee to Bala” Bar, located on Lake Muskoka, dates back to 1930 and still has musical acts performing to this day. The Ramones, Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo, Burton Cummings and many more have played here. Mix in some great bakeries, diners and burger joints through the area and Muskoka traditions stay strong. It’s the longed for Muskoka cottage lifestyle that keeps them coming back.

If you’re convinced that this is the place for you, check out cottages for rent in Muskoka. Or take the plunge, and get a Muskoka Cottage for Sale.

Seriously, it’s well worth it to travel to Muskoka!

How to Avoid Common Mistakes On The Mountain

A great day of skiing
Photo by Melvin Wahlin on Pexels.com

As a ski patroller and veteran skier, I’ve seen more than my share of mistakes on the mountain. And there is a theme with common mistakes – not being prepared and/or not skiing smart. Here are some ways to avoid those common mistakes on the mountain:

1. Be prepared for a Workout

Skiing and snowboarding are great workouts. A day on the slopes requires stamina, a strong core and leg muscles. If you plan on hitting a big mountain with long runs, skiing will be harder still. If you have a decent fitness level, you’ll have a good base for your day on the slopes and adjust easier to the demands of skiing and boarding. A regular fitness routine will help you to ski or snowboard better and longer.

2. Avoid heading straight to the Black Diamonds

Start out easy at the beginning of the day. Experienced skiers always take it easy for, at least, the first few runs before heading off to the diamond runs. Warm up and get your focus on movement, turns and technique before you crank it up on more challenging stuff. Gain confidence with easier runs before moving to diamond runs. Work your way up to the more serious, advanced, narrow, thrill rides.

skiing a black diamond run
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

3. Use common sense

There is something called the Alpine Responsibility Code which many skiers know, and many don’t. It’s typically posted on a yellow sign at the bottom of most lifts. It’s a combination of safety rules and common sense for skiers and snowboarders. For example, always stay in control; do not stop where you obstruct a trail, before starting downhill or merging onto a trail, look uphill and yield to others, etc. Follow these rules (ski smart) and you’ll stay safe and avoid the common mistakes of others.

4. Pay attention to lifts

Getting on and off lifts is prime for accidents. If you don’t pay attention, you’ll quickly find that the chairlift is unforgiving. High speed chairs pick you up slowly, but then move fast. Be ready, line up with skis pointed forward and poles in hand. Getting off a chairlift can be a challenge for novice skiers and boarders. At the offloading area, simply stand up and let the chair push you. T-bars or other vintage lifts are completely unknown to new or young skiers, so ask for help from the lift operator or ski patrol if you need it.

a great day of snowboarding
Photo by Visit Almaty on Pexels.com

5. Don’t think you can ski all day (with no break)

If you only ski while on a ski vacation, you’ll need to pace yourself for a full day on the slopes. As a Canadian Ski Patroller, I’m on shift all day and break the day into parts: a few hours of skiing and then take a break. Back out again for a few more hours then take a lunch break. After lunch, I’m back out again with a break in the afternoon. Don’t over do it and your last run will be as good as your first run.

taking a break from skiing
Photo by julie aagaard on Pexels.com

6. Avoid borrowing your Dad’s old equipment

Chances are your Dad’s equipment is old, worn out and/or doesn’t fit. Take a pass. If you don’t have your own equipment, rent from a ski shop where they will provide decent equipment based on your skill level. Boots need to be comfortable. Bindings should be set so that they will release your skis when needed. Tuned up skis make it easier to hold an edge and get down the hill. Helmets are very much in style and should be mandatory for their obvious protection. A helmet can’t prevent a concussion, but it could reduce the severity of one. Use quality equipment that fits you and your level of ability.

7. Not Layering Up

I’ve become a bit of an expert at dressing for winter. Wearing the wrong type of clothes can result in a not-so-happy ski day. For example, don’t wear cotton socks and a cotton shirt as your base layer. You will not be warm. The best way to layer up for skiing is to have three high-quality layers: a thin base layer (long johns); an insulating mid-layer (fleece or ski sweater) and then ski pants/ski jacket. Keep active, take rest breaks and keep nourished (your body stays warmer with fuel intake). If your clothes get wet, change them.

Get ready for a great day on the slopes! If you are going on a ski vacation, check out my TuGo post – What to Pack for a Ski or Snowboard Trip. And don’t forget your travel insurance if you travel outside your home province or Canada. Have fun, stay safe and enjoy the great outdoors!

Muskoka in the Fall (by Air)

Muskoka in the fall is something special. And seeing it from the air is even better. A float plane is a real adrenaline rush. Screaming down the lake to take off and rising above the trees. Landing on the water is an equal rush. The views are great. North of Toronto is Muskoka – cottage and lake country. Thought I would share a few photos: