MOUNTAIN LIFE - Blue Mountains | Spring 2021

54 Getting out in nature isn’t just good for our bodies. If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that being outside is good for our mental well-being—and our relationships at home, too. A few hours separated from our significant other—or in my case a temperamental puppy—after a year of remote work can make a world of a difference. I’m not the only one who appreciates the amenities at Blue. My running buddies live for the repeats and the variety of new ways to get up and down the mountain. There’s talk of Everesting this summer (accumulating the metres it would take to climb Mount Everest by doing repeats). My friends with young kids are psyched about the new interactive elements along many of the trails, and they enjoy the more family-friendly, less-brutal options when they have little ones. “We had big growth last year in the hiking world,” says Becki Relihan, Director of Programming & Recreation at Blue Mountain Resorts. “And we got some great feedback from our guests and staff, so we’re excited to continue to grow our hiking network. We want to make sure the trails are accessible and inviting for all of our guests, from children to adults, from beginner hikers to novice hikers to fitness junkies. We’re planning to incorporate local history into our trails, and also to make sure people are educated about where our land came from, what our back story is and the beautiful things that nature has to offer.” For new hikers, even those with serious fitness chops, Blue Mountain’s well-mapped, colour-coded trail network is critically helpful. It’s nice to know where you are and where you’re going when you’re just getting used to going off-road. There are plenty of local trails worth exploring on foot in the area, but none are signed and organized as well as Blue’s, so it’s a good starting point that combines the most technical terrain in the area with the most advanced signage. I’m more of a runner than a serious hiker, but try doing hill repeats up Blue Mountain at a running pace and see how long you last. PASS REQUIRED This season, you need a pass to access the hiking at Blue, whether or not you plan to use the gondola. Explore Passholders and winter season passholders are able to use the trails, and you can purchase a hiking pass on the Blue Mountain website, which will provide regular updates about new trail openings and current public safety protocols. Relihan assured us washrooms will be available at the top and bottom of the mountain in some capacity, though drinking fountain access is questionable depending on COVID-19 regulations. So fill up your hydration pack before you hit the mountain, but don’t stress about finding a spot to pee! BLUE MOUNTAIN RESORT