Pakenham offers Ottawa resident’s easy access to snowsports during the winter months. About a half-hour west of the provincial capital, it offers downhill skiing and snowboarding daily and nightly from Tuesday through Saturday. It also has 20 groomed kilometers for cross-country skiing and a tubing park.

An early season lesson special, good through Dec. 24, is ideal for those starting out or anyone who just wants to get their snow legs back on track for the season. The cost is $49 CA ($47.40 US), which includes a 1hr30 lesson, discounted lift ticket and discounted rental equipment. The group lesson takes place 10:30 a.m-noon. Class sizes are kept small, from three to 10 students, for more personalized attention.

An adult all-day lift ticket, which includes night skiing and riding, is $31 CA ($29.99 US) midweek and $35 CA ($33.85 US) on weekends, but you can purchase a Six-Pack, good anytime from open to close, for $154 CA ($148.98 US); a $56 CA savings over six weekend lift tickets. The tickets are even good next season.

While not as big as other Ontario ski areas, it offers close to a 300-foot vertical drop, seven lifts and 10 trails, glades and terrain park. It’s great for families and kids, because all runs bring you back to the main lodge. It’s also great for getting ready to tackle larger mountains on an annual eastern or western trip.