Category Archives: Families

Skiing With A Toddler

Our little one is 21 months old and we recently took her skiing for the first time. My husband and I both started skiing at a young age so naturally we wanted her to start as soon as possible. We miss skiing and I know we can ski without our daughter, but we like spending time as a family so we figured if she seemed interested enough in it we would start skiing with her this winter.

By no means are we experts at skiing and we haven’t been skiing with a toddler long enough to dish out advice but I’m still going to tell you about our experience because you may find some of it helpful.

We started off by showing her magazines of people skiing and snowboarding. We read books that had skiing in it and if we allowed screen time at this age we would have showed her videos.

Next, we took her to the “ski swap” with us where we purchased her skis and boots. She got to try them on and watch other little ones do the same. On the drive home she insisted in holding onto her “boots” that she got at the “swap” (we heard these words the WHOLE way home, repeated OVER and OVER – it was cute).

We left her ski boots in the living room where she could use them if she pleased. She put them on quite often and enjoyed walking around the house in them. Once we got the bindings put on her skis we would do the same (on carpet). She seemed to be pretty excited about skiing so we felt better about taking her knowing that she would most likely enjoy it.

We are fortunate to live close enough to Calabogie Peaks that we set off thinking we would only do one run, and if that was it, then that was fine with us. When our daughter finished her first run, we asked her if she wanted to go again and she signed “more”.  My husband ended up doing 4 runs with her before WE had to decide it was time to be finished even though she requested to go up “one more time”.

We didn’t use any ropes or harnesses because of how small she is. We decided for the first few times holding onto her would be best until she becomes a bit more comfortable on her skis. We may not end up using one at all this winter; we are just going to take it slow.

We took her into the chalet for lunch to give her the full ski experience.  There she got to meet other children and watch people skiing through the windows.

When we got home (an hour before her usual nap) she requested to go straight to sleep. It took her seconds to fall asleep and she had a good long nap.

I’d say our first time skiing with a toddler was quite successful. She seemed to really enjoy it even though you can’t really tell by the pictures (the noise of the snowmaking machines worried her a little bit). We can’t wait to take her out again!


Raised in the Ottawa Valley and a permanent resident of the Calabogie area,  Michelle Kobzik is passionate about the outdoors and the environment. She is an Early Childhood Educator for the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board and just as passionate about her job as she is for the outdoors.  She also enjoys writing and taking pictures so when you combine the two you get her blog: www.mish1100.wordpress.com
Keep imagination alive and play outside!

Experiencing the Valley (September 2015 Edition)

September means two things for families: back to school and county fairs. We’re not going to talk about the former because it’s more fun to talk about the latter, plus a few other great events and activities taking place in the Ottawa Valley this month. Today, we’re going to give you a preview for six must-see attractions just a hop, skip and a jump away from The Peaks.

2015 ICF Freestyle Canoe World Championships
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Where: Beachburg, ON (@ Wilderness Tours)
When: August 30 to September 5
Website: http://worldfreestylekayakchampionships.com/
For the third time in a row, Wilderness Tours in Beachburg hosts the ICF Freestyle Canoe World Championships with competitors from around the world pitting themselves against the Ottawa River and each other to prove who is the best with the paddles.

Expo Shawville Fair
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Where: Shawville, ON
When: September 3 to 7
Website: http://www.shawvillefair.ca/index.html
There’s only so much room to mention country fairs, but this one should definitely be on your radar because a headline performer is David Wilcox, a blues legend who played here at Calabogie at last year’s Blues & Ribfest. Add to that the demolition derby, a midway and petting zoo, this fair features all the classics.

Grand National Mud Drag Races
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Where: Beachburg, ON
When: September 5 & 6
Website: http://ranchlakepull.com/
If the demolition derby at the Shawville Fair peaked your interest, this should be a must-see on your September-to-do list. Including a snowmobile race, it’s a full weekend of flying mud and roaring engines. Bringing a change of shirt.

Renfrew Fair
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Where: Renfrew, ON
When: September 9 to 13
Website: http://www.renfrewfair.com/
Only 30 minutes away from Calabogie, the Renfrew Fair has been entertaining adults and kids since 1853 with no signs of slowing down. A true farming expo with livestock and agriculture displays and competitions, plus amusement park rides and races, this fair shows what it truly means to live the country life.

Taste of the Valley
Where: Renfrew, ON
When: September 19
Website: http://www.ottawavalley.travel/Events_and_Festivals/Farmers_Markets/Taste_of_the_Valley_-_Renfrew***7409.html
A massive sampling of everything Renfrew County has to offer, the Taste of the Valley also displays locally made products and crafts. Bring your appetite for good food and fine goods.

NEAT In The Woods
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Where: Burnstown, ON
When: September 25 to 27
Website: http://www.neatinthewoods.com/
Only a 20-minute drive away from The Peaks, this brand new music festival includes a full afternoon/evening of live music on Saturday and a collection of fun events the rest of the weekend, including a 300 piece game of musical chairs, a bike race, scavenger hunt, and sac race.

Across the Madawaska

CalabogieAdventures_banner_v2 “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.”
– Anne Frank

I know whenever I hear the term “ski hill,” I immediately think of downhill skiing, snowboarding and chair lifts. The thought of cross country skiing slips my mind and it becomes a missed opportunity.

I cross country skied as a kid but just took it up again as a part-time passion about 4 years ago. I find cross country skiing can go two ways; you can make it an adventurous work out or a relaxing cruise through nature. Whether you are looking for flat trails for skate skiing, trails with tracks for nordic skiing or a mixture of both, Calabogie has it.
I have two favourite cross country areas both located within minutes from the Peaks.

The Madawaska Nordic ski trails are located behind the Peaks Village, across from Calabogie Peaks Resort. Trails are well marked and colour coded for level of difficulty: Green for Easy, Blue for Moderate and Red for Difficult. For the most part, the Madawaska Nordic trails are suitable for skiers of all levels.
http://www.madawaskanordic.org/

These trails, which were at one time old logging roads, wind their way through the deep woods of Calabogie.

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The view from atop Eagle’s Nest.

My other favourite and probably my most favourite trail is the one leading up to Eagles Nest. I have found myself recently racing the sun to ski to Eagles Nest where I will take my skis off and walk to the look out for a breathtaking view of the sunset. (Side note: we take head lamps and going downhill on the way out can be quite fast).
Cross country skiing has many benefits. For example, it’s free if you have your own equipment. If you don’t have your own equipment you can rent everything you need at Calabogie Peaks.

It’s a great but comfortable work out. You won’t feel the pain till the next day ;). And it can be a great family outing or unique way to get together with a friend. It is also something you can make your own agenda for whether you want to go for a full day with a lunch packed or just a short after work ski to sunset.

If you want more information on the trails around the Peaks, you can check them out here.

The Ski Family

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Ski [skee] noun. Family [fam-uh-lee] – also a noun. Together they mean something that holds a very special place in the hearts those who go up and down Calabogie Peaks every weekend, be it on skis or a snowboard!
On the surface, it takes a special kind of parent to get out of bed early on weekend mornings, load the vehicle with skis, boards, boots, helmets, layers and lunches when it’s -20 outside, but the thing about it is, the ski parents don’t think twice about it. It’s a lifestyle, a passion and a devotion to being active that keeps families close.
Many of us come from generations of ski families who have been blessed with the gift of love for alpine sports by default. It’s part of our upbringing, our heritage – it’s in our bones. Since the day my wife and I found out we were having our first child, I began dreaming about the day I’d be able to ride the lift with my little girl and show her everything that is beautiful about our sport. Fast forward 3 years and I’m pushing her around the backyard on 75cm skis and wobbly legs. She loves it and it puts me in a happy place.
Most ski families have their home hill where the SUV pulls up every snowy Saturday morning. It’s not always about the terrain, but it is always about the relationships with other ski families, the community. We look forward to chairlift rides with friends to chat about [whatever], breathing clean and crisp air, taking in the natural environment and as we raise the safety bar at the top and choose a run, it’s time to push each other’s limits downhill. Repeat.
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FAMILY and community is a strong message at Calabogie Peaks. Yeah, it’s the tallest descent in Ontario, but it’s more than that. It draws families in from in and around Kingston and the many towns in the Ottawa Valley. The facilities are great and they are cognizant of the importance to foster an environment for youth to enjoy the sport and develop said community, catering to the future of the Ski Family.
As kids grow older, the parents ski with other parents and the kids ski with other kids. The shared love of the sport, the steps into independence for children, and the shared experiences are unique and something that only a ski family can really understand.
I am Rob Whelan of ActiveFamilyPhoto.ca and what I do is illustrate the beauty of spending time outside as an active family. A set of images that preserve the memories of these special times on the hill, the environment that speaks to your definition of family, the Ski Family.

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