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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Fat bikes, Willie says, head for the hills



   One-Tank Trip for Jan. 31/15

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Just as a furry rodent named Willie is about to predict whether we’ll endure – or enjoy – more winter, activities to embrace the season are in full swing.
   This includes fat bikes on snowy trails, downhill skiing/snowboarding combined with a luxury hotel stay and fine dining at Casino Rama, and snowshoeing and fondue.

   Hit the trails
   Ride Guides has taken its popular mountain bike program and extended it with “fat bikes” on winter trails at Horseshoe Valley near Barrie.
Ride Guides offers guided rides on “fat bikes” on winter trails at Horseshoe Valley.
   “Everyone is very curious to try fat biking,” said Sara Archer, operations manager and guide.
   These are bicycles with over-sized tires and wide rims designed for riding on soft unstable terrain such as snow and sand.
   The versatile bikes are ideal for winter trails and Ride Guides offers the Introduction to Fat Biking package at the Horseshoe Nordic Adventure Park.
   Experience the “calm serenity” of riding through a silent forest and hearing only the sound of the snow crackling beneath your tires, Archer said.
   In partnership with Horseshoe Resort, offered is a two-hour guided ride around the property and Copeland Forest.
   The prime season for winter fat bikes is December through March but can include November and into April, depending on the weather.
   The cost of the introduction package is $60 plus tax with a minimum of two riders and includes the use of a Norco Bigfoot Fat Bike, helmet and trail pass. Other options are available.
   “The weather and trail conditions have been ideal this winter for fat biking,” Archer said.
   “Lots of sun and crisp weather make for fast, hard-packed trails that are excellent to ride.” rideguides.ca; (705) 241-9938

   Chilly Willie
   All eyes will be on Wiarton Willie, Ontario’s wily groundhog prognosticator, on Monday (Feb. 2) for a clue about how long winter weather will last.
   There’s a festival all this weekend with numerous winter-time activities in honour of Willie in Wiarton on the Bruce Peninsula, including “Prediction Morning.”
   Wiarton Willie is getting ready to make his winter weather prediction.
   That’s when the albino groundhog is roused from his hibernation at exactly 8:07 a.m. in front of thousands of people in Bluewater Park.
   The day starts at 7 a.m. with “Wake up Wiarton” fireworks followed by a free breakfast in the park and musical entertainment.
   Folklore says if the groundhog sees his shadow, there will be another six weeks of wintry weather while no shadow means spring’s just around the corner. visitwiarton.ca; (519) 534-4545

   Head for the hills
   Escape to the winter wonderland of Ontario’s Lake Country around Orillia for the Stay and Ski package at Casino Rama.
   “Enjoy a delicious meal in one of our eight restaurants – from pub fare to white linen,” said Jenna Hunter, public relations director.
Casino Rama’s ski package includes accommodation in a deluxe suite with fireplace and $100 resort credit. (Barbara Fox photo)
   Accommodation is in a deluxe king or double suite with gas-fired fireplaces.
   Amenities include the Balance of Life Spa, heated indoor saltwater pool, steam rooms and shopping on site.
   The package provides two adult lift passes for Mount St. Louis Moonstone for skiing and snowboarding, with additional passes available for $50.
   Guests also receive a $100 resort credit per room, good for the spa or dining, along with $10 in free slot play for Players Passport Club members (free membership), and valet parking.
   Available through March 20, the weekday non-event rate is $327 per room, plus tax, and the weekend/event-night rate is $427. (Excludes Feb. 16)
   The casino’s St. Germain’s Steakhouse has a prix-fixe menu Sunday through Thursday until Feb. 29.
   The two-can-dine menu is $68.99 (plus tax) with a choice of two appetizers, two mains and a shared dessert. Reservations are recommended. casinorama.com; 1-800-832-PLAY(7529).

   Fondue anyone?
   Hardwood Ski and Bike (402 Old Barrie Rd. W.) in Oro-Medonte is holding a Moonlight Snowshoe & Fondue event on Feb. 7 and 28 at 6:30 p.m.
   The cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking, disc golf and outdoor recreation facility between Barrie and Orillia offers a night-time guided snowshoe hike.
   That’s followed by a fondue dinner inside the chalet or by the bonfire. Tickets are $40, adults; $25, children to age 16. hardwoodskiandbike.ca; 1-800-387-3775

   For touring information:
Ontario’s Lake Country Tourism Marketing Board,
22 Peter St. S., Box 2525, Orillia, ON L3V 7A3 Office: 705-325-9321 Fax: 705-325-6817
Email: info@ontarioslakecountry.com www.OntariosLakeCountry.com

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Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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