Saturday, February 25, 2017

Skiing at Chicopee - Kitchener, Ontario

When I was a kid my class went on an overnight winter trip where we were supposed to build a quinzhee, do orienteering activities, and best of all, go skiing.  Well, I was apparently so excited about skiing that I had a vivid dream about it and sleepwalked right off the top bunk bed and broke my arm.  So no skiing for me.  By the way, my quinzhee was also a disaster and I got lost during the orienteering activity so not my best showing all around.
Not my quinzhee!  Fun fact: the word quinzhee only entered the English language in 1984. 
Not long before my fateful ski trip.

Anyhoo!  For various reasons I never attempted skiing (while awake) again until I took my kids skiing at Chicopee Ski Hill.  Let's just say I am slightly more successful while awake than while asleep but only just.  No broken bones!  My kids on the other hand, were naturals, which seemed to be true of all the kids there. 

Me and a bunch of children learning to ski.
 Chicoppe offers lift tickets but also packages that include a lesson and the rental of all of your equipment so we went with that option.  They have different rates for different times and days so check the website before you go.  We went on a Monday when the lift ticket, rental, and lesson is $29 which seemed pretty reasonable to me. 

Attempting to master "the pizza".
A word of warning: watching your kids hurtle down a snowy mountain at breakneck speed is terrifying!  My advice is to look away.  My kids, like the other kids there, were not the least bit intimidated or scared of the hills but they did find the ski lifts a little scary at first.  It cracks me up that there are 37 safety checks and seatbelts on the swan ride at Canada's Wonderland but with a ski lift they're just like "hop on, it'll be fine!"

They have 11 hills or at Chicopee ranging from a mild slope (which is about as far as I got) all the way to what looked like imposing mountains when I was waiting anxiously at the bottom for my children, so there should be something for everyone in your party.

My kids loved skiing.  It was probably their favourite activity that we have done in ages.  So I highly recommend giving it a try if you have kids over the age of 7 or so. 

Things to keep in mind:
  • They have a licenced restaurant.  Alcohol and skiing sounds like a recipe for disaster if you ask me but what do I know?
  • They also have a snack bar where you can get things like French fries and hamburgers.  There are also vending machines.
  • You can bring your own food and they have water bottle filling stations.
  • You need to know exactly what you want when you get to the front counter.  Despite the fact that they have deals and offers on all the time the staff will not volunteer that information.  If you show up on a Monday night and say "3 people for skiing" they will charge you whatever the regular rate is for 3 people for a lift ticket and rental which is about twice what the Discover package is.  So be prepared to say "3 people for the Monday Night Discovery Package) or whatever offer you are taking advantage of.  The Discovery packages also only include a learning centre lift ticket so if your kids want to go on the bigger hills you have to pay an extra $3.  Again, no one will volunteer this information to you, your kid will just be stopped at a ski lift and told they don't have the right lift ticket.  If you don't get the upgrade when you first get there you will have to take the kids back inside to get new tickets.  Go to the lift ticket line up instead of the regular lineup since it will be much shorter.  My advice is just pay the extra $3 from the get go to avoid the hassle.
  • You need to pay a $250 deposit for each person skiing.  It is cleared as soon as you return your equipment.
  • Most of the deals start at 5:00 p.m. and they don't start selling tickets for those until 4:45 so if you show up at 4:30 you will have to wait around for 15 minutes before you can buy tickets.  This creates a weird situation where you have families hanging around wanting to buy tickets and plenty of staff on hand to sell them tickets but no tickets actually being sold.  I don't understand why they don't just sell the tickets but make them not usable until 5:00 since this would also cut down on lineups.

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