Consider yourself lucky, if you live in Canada around the lower Great Lakes and are considering learning to ski or snowboard this winter.

You're not far from one of Ontario's busiest snow sports resorts and some of the best teaching programs I've found in the Heartland.

Mount St. Louis Moonstone, located less than an hour north of Toronto, has a full slate of teaching programs for children and adults that cover all aspects of skiing and riding.  There's even one for aspiring teaching professionals, where you work along with seasoned pros in development of kid's programs.

All programs are eight weeks long, and range in cost from $265 (CA) ($263.35 US) for a weekly 90-minute lesson to $710 (CA) ($705.55 US) for the all-day Ridge and Slope Racer Programs. Most eight-week program rates include an appropriate lift pass for non-member registrants.

Program registration deadline is Dec. 28, with all programs starting in early January. You can save at least $30 per program and almost a $100 in a few cases, if you register prior to Nov. 12.

Children as young as three can start in the Ski Hearts, which is designed for kids 3-5.  It's a great way to get your young skier started in a lifelong sport.  Beginner programs for snowboarders start at six years old.  Programs for all terrain intermediate and advanced skiers and riders are available for 8 to12, and young free skiers 8 to16.  Adult programs start at 18 years of age.

The Assistant Pro program, designed to groom future ski and snowboard professionals, is available for ages 15 and up.

Moonstone offers a 550-foot vertical drop, 40 runs with a nice mix of difficulty, two super pipes, and two terrain parks. The longest run is two-kilometers, or about a mile and a quarter for those living below the Canadian border.  

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