Stokely Creek Lodge (South-cen­tral On­tario) Romantic Inns Great Food and Great Ski­ing

I be­gan cross-coun­try in 1971 as a liv­ing stereo­type - young, male, kinda/sorta ath­letic, loved gra­nola, had a some­times-frozen mus­tache and liked to ski alone. Th­ese days, I find it's a lot more fun to ski with com­pany, and gra­nola isn't of­ten on the men

SkiTrax - - Tele Technique - by Jonathan Wiesel

I'm not sure when I vis­ited Stokely Creek Lodge for the first time, but I've never for­got­ten the roasted-gar­lic mashed pota­toes – tasty, plen­ti­ful and served with de­lights such as a six-ounce filet mignon with black­berry Mer­lot sauce and Boursin cheese, roast but­ter­nut squash with pis­ta­chios . . . and dessert, be­cause what is a great meal with­out, say, home­made rhubarb pie?

Visit Stokely, ski or snow­shoe up to the sum­mit of King Moun­tain (ev­ery se­ri­ous skier-and-gour­mand should do this), and you'll never be­lieve those sto­ries about how flat this area is.

Stokely is a ski­ing gi­ant in ev­ery way: 100 kilo­me­tres of Clas­sic and skat­ing trails groomed by three snow­cats, spread over 12,000 acres and run­ning through old-growth white pine and along frozen streams, lakes, wa­ter­falls and spec­tac­u­lar gran­ite bluffs. It's over­whelm­ing. The re­sort has al­most ex­actly the same ver­ti­cal change (1,000 feet+) as Lut­sen Moun­tains in Min­nesota, the big­gest moun­tain I've skied down­hill in the re­gion. It's part of the Cana­dian Shield, all that's left of a huge moun­tain range that was ground down by mil­len­nia of glacia­tion. So there are gen­tle trails, in­ter­me­di­ate-type trails and zingers that can leave you wide-eyed. And where else can you find that kind of ver­ti­cal but no al­ti­tude prob­lems?

Open from just be­fore Christ­mas to the third week of March, the re­sort gets as much as 15 feet of snow around the lodge. It's one of those rare cross-coun­try ski-in/ski-out des­ti­na­tions (open for day skiers too) where you ski around a half-kilo­me­tre to reach the lodge while your bag­gage is trans­ported for you.

As an­other way to work off the re­sults of recre­ational eat­ing, guests can snow­shoe more than 25 kilo­me­tres of ded­i­cated trails (own­ers Su­san and Gaylen Byker tell me that snow­shoe­ing has taken off in a huge way). You can rent skis and snow­shoes as well as ar­range group or pri­vate lessons with a Cansi-level-2-cer­ti­fied in­struc­tor.

Stokely Creek Lodge opened for ski­ing in 1976, the vi­sion of Amer­i­can busi­ness­man Chuck Peter­son, who died in 2000. Rare in the Nordic world, he chose the site pri­mar­ily for its ski­a­bil­ity – won­der­ful to­pog­ra­phy, favourable cli­mate and the avail­abil­ity of thou­sands of acres of pri­vate land. The Byk­ers, long­time ski­ing guests and now man­agers, pur­chased the prop­erty in 2007 with an­other cou­ple and have added re­fine­ments, such as dou­bling the kitchen and din­ing-room space.

All-in­clu­sive rates cover lodg­ing, meals, ski­ing, snow­shoe­ing, sauna, a sled­ding hill (and sleds) for the kids and more. You can book ac­com­mo­da­tions in the lodge, cab­ins or chalets, some with pri­vate baths.

Head chef Yvette Leonard has been at Stokely al­most 20 years and knows what her guests love. Break­fast can in­clude blue­berry pan­cakes with maple syrup (the real thing), fresh corn­meal muffins (the kitchen is fa­mous for baked goods) and eggs and ba­con; your lunch can be any­thing from deli sand­wiches to thick-crust pizza; and din­ner has been al­ready de­scribed (four en­trées ev­ery night). There's also a bar with wine, beer and mixed drinks.

above) Fab­u­lous op­tions with 100 kilo­me­tres of Clas­sic and skat­ing trails groomed by three snow­cats

(right) I've never for­got­ten the roasted-gar­lic mashed pota­toes, filet mignon with black­berry Mer­lot sauce and Boursin cheese. (be­low) En­joy comfy ac­com­mo­da­tions in the lodge, cab­ins or chalets, some with pri­vate baths.

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