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Canadians know their cold weather sports, and their prowess is nowhere better displayed than at the mountain resorts around Whistler. Outdoor activity here encompasses downhill skiing and snowboarding by lift or by helicopter, cross-country skiing, wilderness snow shoeing and hiking. With a solid snowfall throughout the Canadian Rockies already having fallen, this ski season is beginning to shape up well.

For Whistler, one of Canada's top resorts, Enjoy Whistler (tel. 800/882-8858; www.enjoywhistler.com) has package deals to the Whistler/Blackcomb area available from now through April 2007. Mid-season specials good from January 7 to March 30, 2007 start at $326 for three-nights two days of skiing with accommodations at the Alpenglow in Whistler Village North. The lodge is within a ten minute walk of both Whistler and Blackcomb. There's an on-site fitness center and an outdoor heated tub to rest those weary bones after a full-day of skiing. You can also walk to town and all the bars and restaurants from the lodge. This deal is good from January 28, 2007 to March 30, 2007. A longer seven-night package to Whistler starts at $970. Check back at the site for last-minute packages through the 2007 ski season.

Ski.com (tel. 800/778-8589; www.ski.com) also has outstanding package deals to most popular Canadian ski resorts. Known as the largest provider of ski deals in the United States, Ski.com also specializes in stay and ski deals to Canada. The site's destination pull down menu allows you to immediately view the best prices to any ski resort available. Good through December 21, 2006, an early bird special to Whistler/Blackcomb's Summit Lodge. The four-night package includes three days of skiing, a mid-size rental car available at the airport, and accommodations, with the fourth night free. Prices start at just $485 with double occupancy accommodations. The lodge has an outdoor hot tub and pool. It's just a ten minute walk from to the lifts and there are shuttles to take skiers into town for shopping and drinking.

If you need more time to plan your trip, there's also a special to the Blackcomb's The Aspens, a family-oriented ski lodge. Available from January 1 to February 16, 2007, the four-night, three-days of skiing deal puts you up in two-bedroom suite ranges in price from $574 to $698, depending on the number of people staying in the room. Meant to accommodate two adults with two children, the package includes a full-size rental car. The Aspens has a ski shop and a hot tub and you can ski in and out of the lodge.

For the adventurous type and advanced skiers, Canadian Mountain Holidays (tel. 800/661-0252; www.canadianmountainholidays.com) specializes in helicopter ski tours. From January 20 to 24, 2007, the adventure tour provider is hosting an all-inclusive trip to Revelstoke starting at $3,775 for twin occupancy. Included in the price, skiers get airport transfers in Canada, four full days of skiing from Sunday through Wednesday, all accommodations, meals, soft drinks and snacks. They also get helicopter transportation to mountain peaks and 57,000 vertical feet of skiing, use of skis and poles if necessary, a full-time on mountain guide to show you the ropes, and all travel taxes. One day heli-ski trips are also available with accommodations starting at $710 per day. Helicopter trips for snowboarders are also available.

Canadian Mountain Holidays also has heli-hiking tours available where you get dropped off and picked up by a helicopter and stay in mountain lodges at high elevations. These tours are scheduled after the winter snow has melted, and generally begin again in July. Three night trips start at around $1,900 for adults and $1,650 for children. With the helicopter ride and the pristine wilderness, these make great family outings. Self-guided trail tours or guided tours are available.

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