Category Archives: Winter

Long Live The Chairlift Selfie!


This might sound funny coming from someone who makes a living taking pictures, but I have a soft spot for chairlift selfies and what’s more, I think they’re important! I learned a long time ago that the best camera is the one that you have with you. Not too long ago it meant you had to remember to pack a small camera but now, it’s in your phone. Being a photographer I’m immersed in the world of documenting life both for my clients as well as my own. Skiing and snowboarding in our little corner of the world where the runs are a little shorter, we spend a lot of time on the chairlift. That sounds like a negative, but it’s not really! Our community thrives on the social aspect of the sport and a lot of those 5-minute conversations on the lift keep us coming back for more. We maintain friendships on the chair, make new ones and spend time with our families. Just like pictures of your child’s birthday, a weekend at the cottage or a good night out at the bar, these are the moments of our lives and they deserve to be part of the archives, so pull out your phone and snap a selfie with your crew on the chairlift!
The quality of the pictures is admittedly not very good, they are sometimes blurry, on weird angles with parts of faces cropped off unintentionally, but the point is that it doesn’t matter! Eeek, that is hard for me to admit, but it’s a fact, fuzzy pictures are better than fuzzy memories. I have an iPhone full of spur of the moment pictures of my family and random things that happen in front of me and I’m so thankful for the technology that allows me/us to do this, but it’ll never replace a real camera. Like the phone full of pictures, I also have hard drives and photo albums full of good quality pictures! The important thing here is balance. Photograph your lives, you’ll be happy you did!
Rob Whelan grew up in the Hockley Valley, about an hour north of Toronto and spent every spare minute of his youth skiing and snowboarding down 300 feet of vertical. “The ski/snowboard community is one of my favourite things in the world and I’ve dedicated myself and my work to keeping it strong. Now living in Kingston, Calabogie Peaks is my home hill. I make my living behind a camera, spending my summers photographing weddings and my winters photographing families that ski/snowboard together.” Life is good, #goplayoutside!

More Snow For The Holidays


Ah, the holiday season is upon us. As I write this, the mountain is covered in skiers, boarders, newbies, and veterans alike. (And I’m not kidding, there are quite a few soldiers from Petawawa taking advantage of our 20% military discount.) Everyone’s taking advantage of the conditions and we’re proud to say there’s more snow on our mountain than any other in the area right now. See for yourself on our webcams!

Here’s what open at Calabogie Peaks as of Monday, December 22nd:

  • Al’s Alley
  • Bailey’s (Upper and Lower)
  • Barrett Chute
  • Beginner’s Bowl
  • Buckshot
  • Exhibition
  • Face of Tiger
  • Jackladder
  • Mini Terrain Park
  • O’Brien’s Fancy
  • Ole K&P (Upper and Lower)
  • Progression
  • Shantyman
  • Slopeside Terrain Park
  • T Bone
  • and Whistlin’ Paddy (Lower).

That’s 18 runs ranging from Beginners to Intermediate to Advanced with 2 terrain parks taking jumps and twists as you read this very post. Now here’s the plan for Tuesday. Our snowmaking team will open up the following runs

  • Causeway
  • Whistlin’ Paddy (Upper)
  • Finnegan
  • Lower Black Donald
  • Juniper Junction
  • and the premiere opening of our newest run,
  • the Canthooks Connection.

During Christmas week, snowmaking will be making snow on the rest of remaining terrain with some opening during Christmas week:

  • High Falls
  • Buckshot
  • and Bear Paw

If you and the gang are looking to get in some good old fashioned outdoor fun to get a break from all the zaniness of the holidays, we are your ultimate Big Mountain destination close to home. Stay up to date using our Online Terrain Report and be sure to pick up your tickets online and save 10% (but remember that holiday and weekend prices apply from now until January 5th). See you topside!

Get Your App On


Photo by Rob Whelan (Active Family Photography)

It used to be heading out to your favourite resort for a day on the slopes was a bit of a guessing game. Sure, you knew where you wanted to go, but the only way to learn its conditions was to arrive and hope for the best. Not anymore! Technology has put power in the hands of the user and it’s easier than ever to learn what you need on the go.
To that end, we at Calabogie have done a little research into some of the many (and yes, we mean MANY) ski apps available and provided a quick list for anyone looking to max out their experience on the top of the mountain or from the comfort of home. Oh, and nearly all these are completely free.

Ski Nation
This one’s a perfect addition for all you ski bums traversing the countryside dropping your skis/boards on any mountain you can find. Combining easy searching functions for nearly ever resort across North America (including yours truly) with a trophy case of badges designating where you’ve been in your travels (each one unlocked simply by accessing your smartphone’s GPS), this one is a personal favourite of mine. New to the app market, Ski Nation has promised to expand their reach and provide special unlockable badges and greater access to information from home when looking for the next hill to conquer.

On The Snow Ski & Snow Report
One of the definitive websites for ski conditions is now available right on your phone for easier convenience. But it’s more than just trail reports; it’s access to the winter lifestyle. Find out the biggest news in the industry, check out photos taken from across 2,000 resorts, compare ratings from real skiers, and so much more. You can also see live webcam feeds when you’re at the office counting down the hours until you’re free to ski.

Ski Dice Lite
Anyone who knows me will totally understand why this one caught my eye – I’m a sucker for anything involving dice rolls, so combining dice with freeskiing seems like a given for this list. Whether you want to challenge your friends or yourself, turn this app on, shake it to roll the dice and attempt one of the random tricks presented with large graphics for easy viewing and demonstration right on the mountain. It’s a handy way to bump up the day and put your skills to the test. There’s also a full version for $1.99 slopestyle mode, a tricktionary, and more if you like what you see.

Ski Tracks
Finally, this lite version is a warm-up to one that was recommended to us by a Twitter follower last season. Ski Tracks Lite uses your device’s GPS to provide you with a complete report on every run you take on throughout the day. Try and beat your speed, monitor how long you’ve been shredding, and other tools let you see how hard you’ve been working (if you can call it work). It’s a great tool for anyone who takes their downhill seriously or simply likes breaking records for a living.
Android: There is no lite version available for Android devices. The full version is only listed at $0.99 and you can find it here –

That’s just a small sample of the many apps out there. What are your favourites?

The Gift of Experience

CalabogieAdventures_banner_v2It’s that time of year again, when the smells, sounds and sights of the Christmas season can either get us very excited or very stressed. Some of us will laugh at the crowded stores and long line-ups because we finished our shopping well before the advent calendar even began. Others will shrug it off, as they are use to waiting till the last moment to finish their “Christmas shopping”.

Then Christmas morning comes around, gifts are opened, wrapping paper is scattered everywhere, and then just like that, it’s over…
But it doesn’t have to be like that. Christmas can continue throughout the winter by simply giving the gift of experience.

As a young child, the material type of gift was still very important to me. I loved my Cabbage Patch doll and my new My Little Pony more than anything in the world. But as I got older, the gift I appreciated and remembered the most was a pack of lift tickets for Calabogie Peaks.

My parents gave me the gift of experience as well as a gift of time. I would immediately call up my friends to see who wanted to go skiing and when we could go. I felt so independent as they dropped me off at the hill and picked me up after the lifts had closed because I always got on the last chair.

I find we get lost in the busy-ness of Christmas sometimes. We forget what is important and what Christmas is really about. Sure, lift tickets and ski passes are still “gifts” and require money, but it creates experiences, memories, and time to bond that no one can put a price tag on.

So this Christmas, I challenge you to give the gift of experience and the gift of time. Whether it’s lift tickets, ski lessons (which for a younger child you could wrap up with a small teddy bear), dinner at the Canthooks restaurant (might be a nice choice for a couple), or a weekend at the hotel.
So remember…

The best gift you can give someone is your time because you are giving a gift you can watch grow over a lifetime.
Raised in the Ottawa Valley and a permanent resident of the Calabogie area,  I am passionate about the outdoors and the environment. I am an Early Childhood Educator for the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board and I am just as passionate about my job as I am for the outdoors.  I also enjoy writing and taking pictures so when you combine the two you get my blog:
Keep imagination alive and play outside!

Raising the Stakes: The Makings of a New Season

IMG_0821-e1417548498548-225x300To say people are eager to get back on the slopes is an understatement. Ever since the first decent snowfall hit the Ottawa Valley two weeks ago, we’ve been fielding questions via phone, in person, online, even at the grocery store. Rest assured, the guns are firing and the crew is coating the mountain as you read this. Keep up to speed on our progress with our new and improved Mountain Web Cams and get your skis shined up (our apologies to a certain gum manufacturer) because the time’s a-coming!

Yet that’s not the only thing going on at the Peaks. Rather than offer the same features as the previous year, we’ve been hard at work bringing something new to your favourite ski resort close to home and wanted to take a moment to list off just some of the new goodies you can expect when you show up with skis and boards in hand.

There’s a pretty good chance there’ll be a lot more sick days called in this season and it won’t be due to any actual medical issues. Perfect for shift workers, students with off-days, the retired (or semi-retired) and anyone who happens to “miss their bus,” we’re selling our weekday tickets for $25 a person when you purchase directly from our online store. Remember, this is online purchases only and you can find our store right here.
Speaking of online shopping, we’ve added on a couple of stocking stuffers perfect for the active winter enthusiast in your life. Grab a 5-pack of lift tickets for the price of 4 (normally only available at trade shows), purchase space in our Learn To Ski/Snowboard program, and drop a gift card or two straight into your cart. These extras will only be available until December 24th and you can find them right here.

Learning to ski or snowboard can be intimidating and we all remember the hard work and dedication it took to get to where we are now. We’re committed to helping as many people as possible strap on a pair and give it a shot, regardless of age or previous experience. That’s why we’re delighted to introduce new Snow School programs such as Parent & Tot (where a parent learns to work with their 2- to 4-year old) and our brand new 4-week Learn To Ski/Snowboard program (plus you receive a full season pass at the end of the program). You can find out more on our updated 2014/15 Winter Brochure.

Use them as an Employee of the Month prize, offer them as incentive for new clients, or however you want to do it, there’s unlimited value in our Calabogie Peaks Corporate Season Pass. For $999, it works exactly like a regular Ultimate Season Pass except that it can be used by anyone you wish. Plus we’re literally giving them away if you book your next corporate event at the Peaks. Need a link? Find what you need and more on our Business Events page.

You’ve heard of ski in/out accommodations, but what about ski in/out dining? We’re adding on a new run to our repertoire as we expand our already impressive selection designed to challenge skiers/riders of every experience level. Branching off from Juniper Junction as it makes the bend and connects back to the Lakeview chairlift, the Canthook cuts straight down towards the Calabogie Peaks Hotel and right up to the back door of Canthooks Restaurant. Plus it’s the perfect path for anyone staying at our hotel during their family outing or business trip downhill.

The view from the new Canthook run, currently under construction. Photo taken November 28, 2014.
Never fear, Calabogie fans, the time will soon be at hand and we can’t wait for everyone to come down and see what we have in store for you, family, and friends. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for up-to-minute snowmaking updates, specials, and more. Until then, keep watching the skies!

Lighting the Pilot For Students

On Tuesday, March 18, 2014, Calabogie Peaks Resort offered a new educational program for high school students. The Hospitality & Tourism class at Fellowes High School participated in a pilot project in conjunction with Specialized High Skills Major being offered around the province.
One might ask what is Specialized High Skills Major? Specialist High Skills Majors let students focus on a career path that matches their skills and interests while meeting the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma. This is achieved through; industry specific courses, certifications, career exploration and reach ahead activities.

With Calabogie Peaks being the top tourist destination in the Ottawa Valley, we felt it a natural fit to create this partnership by offering students an insight into the industry. Fellowes students participated in a morning full of workshops followed by a relaxing afternoon of exploring what our resort has to offer.
This is an expansion off of our current school programs. We offer an outdoor education program where students can partake in skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. This allows students to be physically active in an outdoor environment, specifically in the winter months where people are generally less active.

The new program not only will get these students physically active but it will also be academically stimulating. Through a series of mini sessions, students are able to interact with professionals, while getting a first hand glimpse of what a career in their industry would be like. It is what is referred to as a Reach Ahead Experience.
Sessions included:

  • an insider tour of the resort
  • the business side of social media
  • customer service
  • food & beverage hands on experience

The new school program will be offered throughout the fall, winter and spring for the 2014/15 school year. This will allow students to see the differences and transitions between the various seasons.

Contact us at or Call 800 669 4861 x 1705 to speak with a school sales representative directly or email

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.

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


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


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.

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 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.

ActiveFamilyPhoto_Calabogie-7 ActiveFamilyPhoto_Calabogie-14 ActiveFamilyPhoto_Calabogie-21 ActiveFamilyPhoto_Calabogie-34 ActiveFamilyPhoto_Calabogie-45 ActiveFamilyPhoto_Calabogie-51 ActiveFamilyPhoto_Calabogie-56 ActiveFamilyPhoto_Calabogie-59

Military Appreciation Day

4th Annual Winter Sports Clinic (WSC) for Injured Soldiers and Veterans took place at Calabogie Peaks on Wednesday, February 12, 2014.
Read some personal stories.

The Winter Sports Clinic was Calabogie Peaks, providing adaptive ski lessons for those who would otherwise never have the opportunity to prove their skills and determination. Austen is just one example of the program’s success – great job!
Thank you to instructor Al in the adaptive ski program! Austen had a great first experience at Calabogie on the weekend!
As a member of the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing, (CADS) National Capital Division, our Calabogie Adaptive Ski Program takes pride in providing people with disabilities – such as young Eric, shown in this video skiing down the Peaks for the first time – an opportunity to learn the basics of downhill skiing. In addition to supporting Calabogie’s “Weekday School Program”, approximately 20 CADS Certified volunteer instructors assisted by 40 to 50 trained volunteers offer a Sunday morning and afternoon skiing program to children and adults with disabilities.
Veterans take to slopes as part of rehabilitation (with video)

‘You’ve got people learning to live with new bodies’

Regaining Personal Courage
by Jennet Posey

The Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing‘s 4th Annual Winter Sports Clinic was a weeklong event designed for injured soldiers and veterans.  This international event was host to twelve Canadian soldiers and 4 American soldiers. Our daily activities included not only learning to ski but having an opportunity to learn how to snowboard as well.  I was beyond excited to be fortunate enough to attend the event so I packed my bags eagerly and heavily with warm clothes anticipating chilly weather and the unknown snowy ski slopes.
In the military, there was a team of leaders that showed us what personal courage was and how to achieve it.  Now on the home front, we have a different yet similar team that is helping to shape and redefine personal courage amongst veterans. This year’s 4th annual Winter Ski Clinic in Calabogie, Ontario is the perfect example. I can attest to this because I myself being a combat veteran learned to redefine personal courage for myself over the past week. Read More >>

Going Solo

CalabogieAdventures_banner_v2-128x300My fiancé was away this past weekend and with fresh snow in the forecast I was not ready to pass up on a day of skiing just because I didn’t have anyone to go with.
I find people tend to have excuses as to why they can’t or don’t ski, such as:

  •  “It’s too expensive.”
  • “I don’t have the time.”
  • “I’m working.”
  • “I don’t have anyone to go with.”

None of these excuses are acceptable.

  • There are always deals on tickets, you can buy equipment for cheap off Kijiji, find someone to borrow from, or rent them directly from Calabogie Peaks
  • What are you doing with your time?
  • Go when you are not working
  • You don’t need a partner to go skiing

I use to ski by myself a lot, before I met Mike. I tried to find people to go with but it never seemed to work out. Did I let that stop me? No. This past weekend I headed to the Peaks for some solo skiing. I was one of the first people on the chair which meant I got to enjoy having the first tracks in fresh snow. Even though I was there by myself, it didn’t feel like it. I was surrounded by people who were in love with the sport just as much as I was. Skiing alone has many advantages, like being able to set your own pace, choosing your own runs (instead of the last minute “do we go left or right? You choose. But I choose last time…” etc), using the singles line to avoid the long wait of a busy lift line and skiing your favourite run all day long. I am not going to lie, I skied Black Donald quite a bit.


Black Donald is my favourite run for two reasons.
1.    It has the best view possible of Calabogie Lake.
2.    It is named after a historical graphite mine.

“From 1895 to 1954, the Black Donald Graphite Mine was one of the richest in the world, located in Calabogie and the only one in North America to produce high-quality graphite suitable for lubricants. In 1901, lake waters rushed into the workings, and in 1917, fire destroyed the mill. Production ceased in 1954, and in 1967 the headpond of Ontario Hydro’s Mountain Chute dam flooded the site one last time. Today, a ghost town of some sixty buildings lies under the waters of Black Donald Lake, west of Calabogie.” (

Given its significant historical value, the Pub upstairs at Calabogie Peaks was also named after the Black Donald mine.
One thing I love about skiing alone more than anything is the conversations with the strangers you meet on the chair lift. I have always believed that strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet. The more I talk to strangers, the more I believe it. I met some amazing people on the chair this past weekend ranging from a 5 year old enjoying her first time skiing to an 80 year old who has travelled the world due to his love for the sport. I left the resort with new contacts and conversations that touched my heart. The best thing about it is that when skiing alone, everything is your choice. You can choose whether or not you want to talk to people on the chair, you can choose which run you want to go on, you can choose how fast or slow you want to go and you can choose how long you want to ski for.
Regardless of what your decisions are while there, I just hope that more people will make the decision to get out skiing even when they don’t have anyone to go with.

My only warning about solo skiing is that if you enjoy taking pictures, you will either end up taking a lot of selfies or you will end up wanting a GoPro. That is all.