So you find yourself in the Toronto area and you want a great place to ski or snowboard. You’re familiar with Blue Mountain but you want something awesome yet different, no frills, and better for parks and progression. Mount St Louis is the perfect one for that!
For me, there Blue Mountain and Mount St Louis (MSL) are tied as the best spots around the GTA/Toronto/Ontario area. It’s just a matter of: if you want more trail variety, off-the-slopes fun (Blue) or you want no-nonsense, just straight-up fun times on the slopes + slightly lesser variety but more conducive for progression (Louis).
You might find that I have a very positive review of Blue Mountain (and those are all true and great) but I find myself buying season passes every winter with Mount St Louis instead. You’ll see why and it’ll be great for you if you’re like me.
This might not be for you if you’re a total beginner. Not that their place is shit for beginners (they offer bunny hills and beginner instructors but I mean there are better options out there, close to MSL actually.
FYI: If you hear people talking about "Moonstone", it's the same. Mount St Louis = Moonstone (oversimplified). They are two hills literally beside each other that just combined eventually. Same story like Whistler Blackcomb.
Criteria for Judging
This review is entirely based on what I like, what I find good, etc. That said, I’ll give you a quick background about me so you can have an idea what I’m looking for
- intermediate skill level (maybe 7/10. 9/10 when I have a buzz)
- likes sidehits
- I can handle black trails but I’d rather do difficult blue or easy black so I can improve my technique
- loves trees/glades but only if they’re massive and spacious (so kinda Banff/Whistler level)
- pow hunter when possible
- loves park, specifically jumps and boxes
- originally a weekend snowboarder
As mentioned, if you’re coming from Toronto area, Mount St Louis is closer by about 15-20m. MSL is also beside the highway so once you exit, it’s right there. It’s pretty much highway from Toronto to MSL itself. Since it’s highway, you know that even if it’s a snow dump day, you know that your route going up there will be (at least somewhat) plowed.
Side note is that, 3-5 exits just before MSL’s exit is actually Horseshoe Valley Ski Resort, to which I’ve described is the (one of the) best place for beginners (more economical too).
Uhm…they don’t have much. I mean there are definitely properties just outside the ski resort and surely they are probably airBnB’d. They don’t have a village or something like Blue, so in addition there’s not much reason to stay around overnight.
There’s a cabin/chalet for eating/resting/events; basically for day events, but not much for overnight situations.
If you really have to, Barrie (a full blown city) is just 15m away. I think that’s what most people do.
This isn’t a disadvantage though for Mount St Louis though. Remember this is by design. They’re a no-nonsense ski resort. Their maintenance and snow quality is epic. Lifties, lifts, and wait times are great. They really laser-focused on the ski/snowboard experience; none of the other things.
Are you passionate about your ski/snowboard gear brands? If there were brand events or demo days, it would almost always either be Mount St Louis or Blue.
Other than that, as far as I can recall I don’t think they have that much (again, this is by design/business model).
I want to say they have at least bag jumps and skating (they do have a massive lake) but I think I’m confusing them with another ski resort.
Especially after the pandemic, their parking lot is def great for tailgating 😀
Aw man here’s a fun story: I’ve done a day where I just ride hard from 10am-1pm and expecting a friend to come around 2pm. So what I then do is just ride like there’s no tomorrow and then around 1pm I decided that would be my break. I then took a snooze in my car (yes; outside, winter, engine off) for a couple of minutes and then ate a Cliff bar (yup, that’s my lunch) and a Red Bull and then my friend came. That was round 2. 😁 I rode hard again for maybe 2-3hours and I was blissful 🤤
They’re roughly the same pricing as Blue. At the time of writing, it’s $78CAD for a day pass.
Trail Variety and Difficulty Levels
Read this if you want specific details about Mount St Louis.
I believe Mount St Louis is second when it comes to the number of trail varieties in the area (strictly in terms of quantity). I find that while they have lesser quantity, I find that it’s better for intermediate riders since there are a lot of intermediate runs.
(E.g.: you can have a ski resort with 999 runs but if half of them are death runs, how many really is rideable for you right?)
When it comes to the battle of terrain parks, I say Mount St Louis wins it for people like you and I. If you’re an Olympian or X-games competitor, it’s probably 60-40 for Blue.
But if we’re talking about you and I, MSL for sure. First, they lay it out for learning and progression.
There’s the Skool Yard where it’s perfect for beginners/intermediates and the way they lay it out is, the terrain park covers half of the trail so it’s wide and there’s space. If you go in, there’s 5 consecutive jumps for you if that’s your thing. If you like boxes / rails, they have exactly those things just beside that.
I appreciate this layout way more because it makes the learning and practice better. It makes each lift up worth it right?
This is in comparison to Blue wherein if you start with a jump, the next feature may be different. One run can be: “jump > box > rail > box > jump > jump > etc) It definitely makes it fun and creative but you get to enjoy this more when you’re intermediate-advanced already. If you’re beginner-intermediate and you’re not familiar yet with all the possible features, it’s quite scary. You don’t want to be just trying boxes for the very first time then not knowing that as you land out from it, your next feature is a jump that’ll send you to the moon 😂 (whether you like it or not LEL).
If you also didn’t know, difficulty levels are relative from one ski resort to another.
E.g.: Ski Resort A’s “small” jump may be bigger/higher, compared to Ski Resort B’s “small” jump.
What I do appreciate with MSL is they actually mark their ramps with their height. They spray paint it blue on the ramp itself, so you can tell and decide accordingly.
Remember the 5 consecutive jump I mentioned (that’s my fav). You can see that as you jump, you’ll see the markers say: ‘ 10″ > 12″ > 14″ > 12″ > 10″ ‘ accordingly.
I’ll paste in here what I wrote for Blue:
“As mentioned, if you’re a total beginner, I would NOT suggest either Blue or Mount St Louis at all. First, you’ll be paying so much when you can go to ski hills that are closer and cheaper to rent and buy day tickets from. It’s the same quality, don’t worry.
Sure you can learn and be a beginner at Blue Mountain e.g.: they offer bunny(beginner) hills + certified ski/snowboard lessons but my problem here is that this place is so popular. That means long lines just waiting to rent gear, and more people on the bunny hill so less space for you + you worry more of bumping other people.
For beginners, I would highly suggest these places instead. These are places I go to and I personally learned from actually:
- Glen Eden / Kelso – closest from Mississauga (40m). It’s very cheap too since it’s a smaller ski hill. Your only challenge is that since it’s small, the bunny hills are proportionately smaller as well.
- Horseshoe Ski Resort – Around Mount St Louis area, but closest from Toronto. There are way less people compared to Blue or Mount St Louis so less people on the slopes. I think it’s a perfect place for learning too because they have this very long and wide bunny hill with the most mellow slope (degree-wise), unlike Glen Eden / Kelso where it’s short and relatively steeper. Easy magic ride too for the bunny hill!”
Again, don’t expect waist-deep pow pow here. It’s the east coast.
But when it comes to snow quality and maintenance, I think their service is excellent, same as Blue. I think it just comes as better, at least the way I perceive it, because they’re smaller than Blue (lesser to maintain), and they’re less popular (so less run-down). So every time I go there, it’s great. Rarely do you get ice.
It’s always either Mount St Louis or Blue Mountain for me every time. While Blue looks better in every way on paper, I prefer Mount St Louis (at least up until the time of writing; it could change). I can back this up because My season pass the past recent years were all MSL. I appreciate their “no-nonsense” approach and it’s more conducive for me as a perpetual-student of snowboarding. Their environment is perfect for progression.
It’s cheaper too (they’re family owned vs Blue’s Ikon pass is multi-resort so starting price is way more expensive to start). Also it’s easier to get to.
This is where you see me improve my chops before I do crazy shit like Austria 😂. Yup, I go from 0 to Austrian Alps in no time 😂