When it comes to a ski resort near Toronto, the first thing comes to mind for most people would be the Blue Mountain. Blue Mountain is probably the biggest ski resort in Ontario with so many lifts. It is about 2-hour drive from Toronto. It is a bit expensive to ski at Blue Mountain. I have been there for a couple of times and came up a list to save money at Blue Mountain based on my experience.
Buy Lift Tickets online in Advance
Here are some tips about buying lift tickets: if you know the date you are going to the resort, you could buy your lift tickets online in advance to receive a discount. The tickets online are cheaper than the tickets on-site. Nevertheless, if you are going to Blue Mountain at least once a year, I would recommend you to subscribe to Blue Mountain ski resort newsletter, it would notify the lift ticket sales happening around the year. Before mid-Dec, it has a sale on double down, meaning you get a discount on 2 lift tickets which usually cost about $100.
Get Rentals Off-Site
If you need rentals, rent them off-site. There are 2 equipment rental shops very close to Blue Mountain ski resort:
Alpine Sports Blue Mountain
Address: 796437 Grey County Rd 19, The Blue Mountains, ON L9Y 0N8
Price: about $45 for full ski set as of 2018
Rick’s Pro Ski Shop
796466 Grey County Rd 19, The Blue Mountains, ON L9Y 0N6
Price: about $35 for full ski set as of 2018
They are on the way if you are driving from Toronto. Compare to $50+ rental fee and long lineups, if you are going with a big group, stop by at this rental spots is going to save you a lot of time and money.
Re-sell Your Lift Ticket
This is a grey area: if you don’t want to ski for the whole day, you could re-sell your lift ticket to late-comers, price depends on your negotiation skills and how much time left on your lift ticket. Also, just remember to bring a scissor and an extra zip tie and then you are good to go.
Bring Your Own Food
The food sold at the resort is just fries and burgers, and they are pretty expensive, around $10 for a combo. All Blue Mountain cafeterias have microwave ovens. Bring your own food would be cheaper and healthier.
Book Airbnb Long Advance
If you are going stay overnight, Airbnb is probably the cheapest option. However, you need to try to book one month advance during busy ski season.
Don’t Park at Main Entrance
Park your car at Parking Lot P1, P2, and Central Lift if you come late during the busy weekend because parking space at Blue Mountain Village parking would be impossible to find. Blue Mountain resort has many parking lots; however, most people park at Blue Mountain Village. Parking Lot P1, P2, and Central Lift are all very close to the lifts and Lodges and they are usually pretty empty. They are not hard to find, and it would easier to drive and park.
Not Recommend for Beginners
I don’t really recommend Blue Mountain for beginner skiers and snowboarders because it is pretty far from Toronto and price is more expensive than some nearby ski resorts, such as Lakeridge, Horseshoe Valley and Earl Bales. Check out my blog post about ski resorts near Toronto: http://travelerto.com/travel/day-trip/ski-resorts-near-toronto/.
If you are going to stay all day at beginner hill, you might not get the full benefits of the mountain. Moreover, Blue Mountain is also the most crowded and busiest ski resort. The lineup is usually long and there are also a lot more people on the hills. However, if you want to test your skills, Blue Mountain would offer you best runs.
So an ideal way would be: book lift tickets online in advance; stop by the rental shop on the way; park at the spacious parking lot; if you are hungry, eat the food you brought from home; and sell your lift ticket to night skiers. Maybe sounds a bit too idea?
Here are some tips from my experience skiing at Blue Mountain. After all, Blue Mountain is on the expensive side of ski resorts. However, it does provide the best experience. Just remember to always dress warm and have fun.