Top ski resorts to visit in BC

It is my favourite time of the year, when the blue bird days are plenty, the snow is slushy, and you don’t need a million layers. It is time for Spring skiing. So to get you excited for the most slush-tastic time of the year I wanted to share some of my favourite ski resorts in what I consider the ski capital of Canada.

  1. Whistler Blackcomb

I may be a little biased here, because sure there could be long lift lines, and expensive lift tickets, but this is my hometown mountain, and why would I need to go anywhere else when I have this beautiful landscape just down the street. From the top of 7th Heaven you get the most incredible views of Black Tusk, and you can see some beautiful views as you ride across the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. There are 8,171 acres of accessible terrain, the largest in North America and has something for everyone (including my two year old son who absolutely loves the magic carpet).  I also love that there is unbelievable slack skiing right off piste. The best part is, the ski season extends well into May.

2. Revelstoke

It has always been a dream of mine to ski Revelstoke and this year I finally got the chance. I had always heard about the epi skiing here with the longest vertical in North America, over 1,700m, and trust me it did not disappoint. There is no shortage of snow or terrain here. One thing I really loved was that it isn’t just about the skiing, but also the culture and art. In fact, make sure you keep your eyes peeled as you ski around because ROAM( Revelstoke Outdoor Art Movement) has placed several art exhibits throughout the mountain, including my personal favourite, the MasterPISTE gallery.

3. Fernie

The highway that this ski resort sits on isn’t called Powder Highway for nothing. Fernie is known to get some of the most snow in the province, and even country. I also love that there were five different bowls to chose from, and one of the the most gorgeous views from the alpine that I could ever of imagined. Polar Peak is not for the faint of heart but maybe my favourite run ever. I also loved that 3 people ahead of us was considered a “long line.”

4. Big White

I absolutely loved this family friendly resort as well as the village around it, and there is a ton of ski in ski out options. Oh and here is the best part, the resort sees about 762cm of powder each year and it is the special champagne powder you dream of skiing. Oh and make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the beautiful snow ghosts all around the resort.  I also loved that there was something for everyone, I had a chance to try ice skating on the highest rink in BC, as well as ice climbing.

5. Sun Peaks

Canada’s second largest ski resort that has over 1,728 ha of skiable terrain spread across three mountains. It is a family friendly ski resort with small crowds and lots of options, in fact the three mountains 130 different runs are all connected. But even on a crowded day you can still find pockets of fresh powder if you know where to look – and who better to help you find the hidden powder then Olympic champ Nancy Green who offers guests an opportunity to go skiing together. And if you don’t like to ski, well why not try your hand at a snow limo that can give you a tour of the mountain.

 

 

 

 

Learning how to sail in Squamish

Did you know that Squamish means ‘mother of the wind’. The Squamish First Nations gave it that name because of the strong winds that prevail in the Howe Sound.

Because of the daily inflow that tunnels into the Sound, it happens to be the perfect place for water sports like kite surfing and sailing – and now a new company has opened up in Squamish that actually gives you hands on experience teaching you how to sail.

The Adventure 

InFlow Adventure CO is one of Squamish’s latest adventure tourism companies and I was excited when I had the opportunity to head out on the water with them and try something I have always dreamed of – sailing.

We met Will at the public dock in Squamish, we soon found out that Will’s entire life has been about sailing. His mother used to teach youth sailing in Australia, and he first became a certified instructor before finishing grade school. Despite being nervous, I immediately felt like I was in safe hands.

We set off on the 4 hour Howe Sound Sailing Experience. From the moment you leave the dock you are reminded why this place is so special. Incredible views of the Chief and Shannon Falls send you off into the deeper seas.

Very quickly we were put to work. We learned how to steer, jibe (a way of changing direction by bringing the stern of the boat through the wind), and tack ( changing directions by turning the bow of the boat towards the wind). Within 30 minutes we all had positions and Will was shouting commands at us, and even though we still barely had a clue what we were doing, we were laughing as guided us on which ropes to pull and when to tack ( apparently it has two terms – one of which is switching sides on the boat).

In no time we were moving and cruising down the beautiful UNESCO biosphere reserve on the gorgeous custom FarEast 19R.

Once we got out to Britannia Beach we slowed down with a beautiful view of the mien and landscape in the area and at that point Will brought out some lunches for us, delicious sandwiches from Smoke Bluffs Coffee. It was an amazing experience to sit in the middle of the ocean with these gorgeous views eating lunch.

After that it was time to make it back to shore with our new found knowledge and love for sailing.

While the tours are closed now for the winter, Inflow is offering more adventures out on the Sound come next season.

Happy exploring friends,

xo

Mia

Why you need to visit the Comox Valley

Whenever I think of making a trip to Vancouver Island, Victoria and Tofino are the first places that come to mind, but recently I discovered a lesser visited gem; Comox Valley. The region is made up of Courtenay, Comox, and Cumberland, as well as some smaller communities like Fanny and Union Bay.The region really has it all, mountains, ocean, and beautiful old growth forest to explore, and the great thing is you really can explore the whole Valley, because it’s not too far of a drive to get from one spot to another. I wanted to share with you my perfect weekend in Comox Valley.

Getting to Comox Valley

There are a few different ways to get to Comox Valley. The easiest from Vancouver is probably a ferry ride. You can take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay in Nanaimo – from there it is about an hour and a half drive. You could also opt to fly into the Comox Valley Airport from Vancouver.

Day 1: Cumberland

 

Locals that I spoke to told me they pride themselves on being a “forest in a village”.

The entire community revolves around the beautiful old growth forest in their backyard – so much so that they actually have been fundraising for years to buy parts of the forest back from a logging company – and then giving it back to the community. The Cumberland Community forest is filled with tons of trails, some specifically for mountain biking, others for trail runs and walks and so  I started my day in Cumberland on a beautiful trail run.

After working up a sweat, and an apatite, it was time for lunch. A few locals recommended Biblio Taco and I am thankful they did. This could be home to the best burrito I have ever had – and their portions are huge and they had some really unique combinations – but they worked really well together.

What is the best thing to do on a very full stomach? Go on a hike. If you have followed my blog for a while, you probably know my passion for hiking – it is the first thing I google when I visit a new place. One of the hikes in the area that was highly recommended was the Perseverance Creek Potholes. The smoothness of the pools, which has been carved by erosion was incredible to see and the deep colours of the water was so inviting. A great place to cool off after a hot day.

After a day of hiking and running it was definitely time for a treat. My first stop was Love’s Ice Cream. The homemade ice cream uses real fruit and there were endless flavour options. I also loved their commitment to using biodegradable and reusable products. After ice cream it was time for a treat of a different kind and Cumberland Brewing. Their goal has always been to share a beer with company in an inviting environment, even though I entered alone I felt like I was in a room full of buddies – people that cared about their community and local businesses – and the drinks were refreshingly delicious.

 

Day 2: Comox

I absolutely fell in love with this quaint waterfront town. Everywhere you went you have a view of the ocean.

I started the day with a walk along Goose Spit. The Spit is a very unique landscape, offering sandy beaches and gorgeous views of Hornby and several other islands. After taking in the views I wandered along the quaint harbour front (enjoying a coffee from Komox Grind). Along the way there are some more stunning views, this time of Comox Glacier and Beaufort Mountain Range. I then made my way over to Filberg Park where there are gorgeous flowers, a petting zoo, and even a little tea house.

After exploring the area by land it was time to get out on the water and explore by sea. I had heard of this incredible beach the locals like to call ‘Little Mexico‘. I rented a SUP from Coast Surf Shop and they actually took me out on a tour to the beach. Along the way we were followed by a curious seal before making our way to a truly gorgeous white sand beach to watch the sunset.

Once back on dry land it was time for some food. I was told by the locals Church St. Taphouse was the place to be on a Saturday night. They had great food, delicious beers on tap, and some great live music.

 

Day 3 Courtenay

I started the day with a run along along the spit and past the airport. It was a really beautiful place to stretch the legs and taking in that morning ocean breeze. A morning run sure worked up my appetite and so I went for breakfast at the Hog and the Hen. Don’t let the location fool you – the food here is AMAZING. I love their smoked salmon benny.

My next stop took me to 5th street where there are some of the most adorable shops I have ever seen. Classic book shops, home decor, fun gift shops, and some cute clothing boutiques. After shopping I wanted to get back out to explore the beauty of this area. I made my way a little outside of Courtenay to explore Browns River Falls. It is a beautiful wide waterfall where at the bottom there are some more popular swim holes.

After all that walking, it was the perfect time to relax and the best place to do that is at Kingfisher Hydropath. Take a dip in the heated outdoor pool and then relax in the steam cave. I am a big fan of any hydropath therapy – basically walking from through a circuit of hot and cold pools that helps blood circulation. And the icing on the cake, there is an indoor waterfall grotto.

I finished off my time here with the best greek food I have ever tasted, and that is saying a lot since I have been to Greece. Yimas Taverna is an absolute must visit.

Bonus: Fanny Bay

I didn’t have a full day to explore Fanny Bay, but I did get a chance to visit for lunch and some Oyster shucking. I first stopped at Fanny Bay Inn, located right on the water this has been the go to place for 80 years and it is the kind of pub where everyone knows your name – and the food was delicious. I ended my trip with a visit to the famous Mac’s Oyster LTD to get some lessons from the pros on how to shuck oysters.

It was an amazing trip to the Comox Valley, and I can see why more and more people are making the trip (and even move out here as it is one of the fastest growing populations in BC) but I promise you it is still a bit of a hidden gem, without the crowded tourist beaches and long waits for dining – you are going to want to make a trip here ASAP.

xo

Mia

 

 

 

 

 

Essential Items to Buy Before Embarking on a Camping Trip with Your Family

My husband and I moved to British Columbia so that we could be in the mountains. We both love being active in the outdoors. From biking to hiking and recently we have fallen in love with camping. While we have yet to try out a camping trip with our new addition (our 7 month old son) it is on our to do list and so we have been doing a lot of research into what we need to go camping together as a family.

Firstly I want to say no matter what activity you are doing outdoors you should always have the 10 essentials:

  • Navigation
  • Hydration
  • Nutrition
  • Sun Protection
  • Illumination
  • Insulation
  • First Aid Kit
  • Fire Starter
  • Communication Device
  • Shelter

Now I wanted to dive a little deeper into some other useful items for a family camping trip.

 

1) Mosquito repellent

 

The last thing you want on your camping trip is to be constantly swatting at mosquitoes. Not only is it annoying, but it can also ruin your relaxation. To avoid this, make sure to pack some mosquito repellent. You’ll be glad you did!

 

There are a variety of mosquito repellents available on the market, so finding one that suits your needs shouldn’t be too difficult. If you’re unsure of which product to choose, ask a sales associate at your local store for help. Once you have your mosquito repellent, apply it liberally before heading outdoors. Then, reapply as needed throughout the day, especially if you’re sweating or swimming.

 

2) First aid kit

 

I mentioned this earlier in the 10 essentials and it really is a must have. A first aid kit is an essential item for any camping trip. Accidents can happen, so it’s always better to be prepared. Your first aid kit doesn’t need to be anything fancy. A simple one with bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers should suffice.

 

If you have any specific medical conditions that require medication, make sure to pack those as well. And if you’re unsure of how to use any of the items in your first aid kit, don’t hesitate to ask a friend or family member for help. Better safe than sorry!

 

 

3) Sunscreen

 

Whether you’re planning to spend the day hiking or just relaxing by the campsite, it’s vital to protect your skin from the sun. Be sure to pack sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply it frequently throughout the day.

 

Also, don’t forget to pack lip balm with sunscreen to protect your lips from sunburn. And don’t forget hats and sunglasses for extra protection! Finally, if you have sensitive skin, be sure to pack an aloe vera gel or lotion to help soothe any sunburns.

 

4) Weatherproof gear

 

I mentioned insulation and shelter – and making sure you have weatherproof gear is essnetial The weather can be unpredictable, especially in the  mountains, so it’s always better to be prepared. If you’re camping in an area that is known for bad weather, make sure to pack some weatherproof gear from EcoGearFX. This includes items such as raincoats, boots, and umbrellas.

 

If you don’t have any weatherproof gear, don’t worry! You can usually purchase these items at your local store. Just make sure to check the forecast before you leave so you know what to expect. Also, keep in mind that the weather can change quickly, so it’s always a good idea to have some extra clothes packed just in case.

 

Now that you know what to pack for your next camping trip, all that’s left is to have fun! So get outdoors and enjoy all that nature has to offer with your family and friends. And don’t forget to take plenty of pictures!

 

Top family friendly activities in Ucluelet

If you have followed my blog for a little bit now you must know I am a big fan of Vancouver Island, particularly Tofino. I have been there for work and play several times, but on a recent trip I wanted to discover a slightly less touristy area of that part of the island – Ucluelet.

I have always loved the island vibe. Small, laid back beachfront communities where surfing is a locals favourite hobby and everyone knows everyone at the local cafes. However I didn’t know how different Ucluelet could be. Located on the Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First Nations traditional territories, the beaches here are covered in black rock instead of sand, and just steps from your front door you are transported back in time as ancient rainforests sing to you in the wind. It is rugged beauty like nothing you have seen before and something that will have you coming back for more.

Why Ucluelet?

One thing that I absolutely loved about Ucluelet over staying in Tofino was the walkability. Sure, if you are able to find a place close to town in Tofino you can get around easily, but if you want to stay at one of the more luxury resorts on the beach, you would have to drive into town. In Ucluelet no matter where you were staying  you were just minutes from beautiful trails, the rugged yet beautiful rocky oceanfront,  and delicious dining.

Where to stay

Since we became a family of four (a human and fur baby) it can be difficult to find accommodation for all of us, but I loved that Ucluelet had a lot of kid (baby) and pet friendly places. We spent the weekend in luxury and stayed at the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort.

This beautiful hotel is located right on top of the dramatic black rocks of the Pacific Ocean – you can literally see the waves crashing against the shore through every window. It is also nestled right in the middle of the Wild Pacific Trail, basically an ancient rainforest is on your doorstep. And the best part, both the beach and the trails were accessible right from the hotel property and easy to access with both dog and baby (in fact some of the trails were even stroller friendly).

As for the accommodations, they were pretty special. Again rooms either have an ocean or rainforest view and we were lucky we had a bit of both. There was also lots of space so that we could put the baby to sleep while still staying up. And lastly there were dog treats for Huey when we arrived.

Top family friendly activities in Ucluelet

Alright let’s get to the good part – what makes Ucluelet so fun for the whole family to enjoy? Well we covered a lot in our 3 days – and all of it was family friendly ( although we had to leave Huey behind for a few food experiences).

1. Go for a treat at Zoe’s Bakery

When I asked for suggestions of what to do in Ucluelet literally everyone messaged me that I needed to visit Zoe’s bakery and cafe and so I set out on a mission the first day we were there to beat the crowds (I heard it could get quite busy and I wanted to make sure I got the best treats). Zoe actually used to work at the Black Rock before opening up the bakery – and let me tell you – these treats were well worth the early start to the day.

2. Treat yourself again with a day at the spa

Ok, this one isn’t completely family friendly – but we do have a baby that loves the water -and the Black Rock is home to two hot tubs and one pool. So while I wasn’t able to indulge in a spa treatment this time (which I have heard is spectacular), I was able to enjoy the pool with my little one – and let me tell you the views from the spa area are worth it – even if it’s just for a quick dip

3. Visit the beach

While you can see the beach from literally every room in the resort, it is so much fun to go down and check it out. You won’t find the sandy beaches here (for that you have to travel a bit closer to Tofino) but it was so fun to go out and see the rocks up close and keep our eyes open for some tiny creatures that call them home.

5. Go for a hike

It is so special to be surrounded by such beautiful nature. One of the things I love about this part of the world Pacific Rim National Park. You will feel so small amongst the giant trees that call this rainforest home. We did a few different hikes and really loved both the Wild Pacific Trails just outside the hotel as well as Lighthouse Loop (we took the stroller so we didn’t break our backs and there were so many gorgeous viewpoints along the way).

4. Enjoy the culinary scene

I have always been impressed with the food on this part of the island and Ucluelet did not disappoint. Some of our favourite eats included

Heartwood Kitchen : This adorable renovated cottage made you feel right at home – even though our son decided to have a meltdown, the staff was still so kind and welcoming and the food was delicious. Casual bistro style foods.

West Coast Salty Buns:We stumbled upon this adorable Mexican food truck famous for their well, salty buns. The food was so flavourful and later I learned that they really pride themselves  on sourcing local products, no wonder it all tasted to fresh. A must do lunch spot.

Currents Restaurant:Talk about dinner with a view. This restaurant is located in the Black Rock Resort overlooking the ocean. Try and book in for around sunset to get an incredible show while eating a tasty meal.

Abbondanza: If you are a fan of pizza you need to make a stop here. I had the best fungi pizza of my life! A very small hole in the wall spot so we decided to order out, but as a self proclaimed pizza connoisseur this is a must! Even the locals say so.

5. Visit the aquarium

The Ucluelet Aquarium is a none for profit catch and release aquarium that focuses on education. All of the displays here are with marine life found right in the local waters in Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds. The staff there is also so helpful and ready to answer any questions. While Max was still very young he really did enjoy watching the fish swim and I enjoyed learning about this amazing program.

6. End the day with a local beer

The Ucluelet Brewing Company is situated right on the water so it offers a gorgeous view with some tasty local craft brews. As someone who isn’t a big beer drinker I really appreciated the staff helping me find some drinks I would enjoy – and guess what they are baby friendly too. Max had a great nap while mom and dad enjoyed a drink after a long day of exploring!

I absolutely loved the laid back and welcoming feel of Ucluelet and I can’t wait to head back to this magical place with the family again soon.

 

Happy traveling my friends,

xo

Mia