Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., has long been a haven for Great Lakes' snow sports enthusiasts. It's home to Northern Ontario's largest winter carnival, Bon Soo, which takes place Feb. 5-14. Bon Soo, which has been named one of North America's top 100 winter festivals, marks its 47th season this winter.
There are more than 75 events that take place throughout the 10-day festival that include the whole family; outdoor events, concerts, breakfasts, contests, tournaments, train rides, wagon rides, snowshoeing, snow canoeing, snow sculptures, dog sled rides, and their famous bum slides. (Remember the McKenzie Brothers? It's Canada, after all.)
Through Sault Ste. Marie Tourism you can get some affordable packages for downhill skiing at Searchmont Resort, cross-country skiing at Stokely Creek Lodge, and the Snow Train that takes you on a day-long trip to Agawa Canyon in the Algoma Central Highlands. The packages are good throughout the winter season.
Downhill ski and ride packages start at $143 CA ($136.18 US) per person, double occupancy, and include two nights' accommodations, two-day lift tickets, and free night skiing on weekends. Searchmont offers a 750-foot vertical drop, the largest in the eastern Great Lakes, and 18 trails, many over a kilometer (two-thirds of a mile) long.
The cross-country ski package starts from $88 CA ($83.81 US) per person, double occupancy. It includes two nights' lodging in the Soo, and day passes for one day of skiing at Stokely Creek and Hiawatha Highlands. Between the two you have 140 kilometers of trails to choose from. That should keep you busy for a couple of days.
Snow Train packages start at $135 CA ($128.57 US) per person, double occupancy, and include two nights' lodging and snow train tickets. It's a beautiful, snowy trip that will amaze and thrill you. I've done it.