Winter Getaway at Sun Peaks

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Did you know that Sun Peaks was Canada’s second largest ski area? This beautiful resort located just under an hour away from Kamloops, British Columbia offers some of the most beautiful skiable terrain in the country.

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Whether you fancy wide open slopes or a steep thrilling ride, fresh powder or beautiful glades to ride through, with its 4,270 acres of skiable terrain, Sun Peaks has something for everyone!

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In addition to the pristine riding you can do at the resort, they have a cute European-style ski-through village where you can find shops, cafes, restaurants as well as quality accommodations. I was once again able to book my stay via Hotels.com‘s mobile app, making it a quick and painless reservation process. Having my hotel be right at the bottom of the mountain, made it super convenient.

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In addition to riding, Sun Peaks also offers a variety of winter activities you can do while in the area. Their latest and greatest activity is ice fishing, run by a super knowledgeable and friendly young guide called Campbell from Elevated Fishing Adventures. This 3-hour excursion will bring you to Heffley Lake, where you will be able to fish for some wild local species. Not only do you learn a lot about the area, the local fauna and flore but also get to stay warm while you chat and fish thanks to a portable hut and some complimentary hot chocolate.

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I took the Samsung Gear 360 camera and Galaxy S7 phone with me again in order to document my adventures at Sun Peaks. I hope you will enjoy my recap below.

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For more information on Sun Peaks, go here. To find accommodations in the area, go to Hotels.com or download their mobile app. Photos shot with the Samsung Galaxy S7, 360 video shot with the Samsung Gear 360.

Winter Getaway at Big White

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One of my favorite things about winter is being able to head to the mountain and go riding. Since this is my first winter in British Columbia, I thought what better way to get to know the area than to book a winter getaway to visit some of the best ski resorts in the area! My first destination: Big White!

So I booked my travels via the Hotels.com mobile app (you can too! check out how here!), took with me Samsung‘s latest gear – the Galaxy S7 phone plus the Gear 360 camera and hit the mountain. 

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Located just 45 minutes from downtown Kelowna, Big White is a stunning resort that spans 7,355 acres and its summit reaches 2,319m in altitude. Big White is also western Canada’s largest night skiing area with 38 acres of night skiing trails. There are 15 lifts on the mountain and 118 designated trails. The longest run spans 7.2 km.  They also have a state of the art boarder/skier-cross course, the TELUS Park as well as 25 km of nordic and wilderness trails for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

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Big White also offers all the amenities and services you can imagine needing when going on a winter getaway to the mountain. The resort has 3 hotels, 25 condo/town home complexes, over 200 vacation home and luxury cabin rentals as well as a youth hostel. There are also plenty of shops and restaurants, their latest addition, the Clocktower Coffee Co serves up delicious baked goods for breakfast and hearty sandwiches at lunch.

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You can also find a ski and board school, a daycare service for the little ones as well as a multitude of other activities for the entire family such as ice climbing, a tube park, snowmobile tours, ice skating, snowshoeing, dog sledding and the list goes on. Oh yea and did I mention, free wifi throughout the resort?

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Since we were only in the area for 2 days, we wanted to maximize our time on the slopes so we stuck with snowboarding. Though a bit cold, the bluebird skies and fresh powder made for pristine riding conditions. Our super convenient electronic lift passes made it easy for us to access all of the lifts and shred through the fresh snow. The snow-covered evergreen trees and stunning views of the Okanagan Valley made for the most beautiful backdrop. A great plus was also the fact that the resort wasn’t overcrowded, which allowed for a relaxing snowboarding session.

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I highly recommend making the trek to Big White, for some epic riding! If you’re staying in Kelowna, check out the Manteo Resort, which is right on the waterfront of the Okanagan Lake.

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For more information on Big White, go here. To find accommodations in the area, go to Hotels.com or download their mobile app. Photos shot with the Samsung Galaxy S7, 360 video shot with the Samsung Gear 360.

5 Reasons to Stay at The Burrard

hdrWith a city that offers so many great accommodation options, it’s sometimes difficult to pick the right place to call home for the night. Luckily, this past year, I found a great boutique hotel in downtown Vancouver that I absolutely fell in love with called The Burrard. This converted 1956 motor hotel is located in Yaletown and has become a city favorite. I’m sharing with you today, 5 reasons why you should stay at The Burrard on your next trip to Vancouver.

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1) They are eco-friendly. With global warming being an important issue in 2017, I’m always happy when I see hotels making an effort to reduce their impact on the environment. Being in beautiful British Columbia, it only seems fitting that hotels would be more “eco-conscious” but sadly that isn’t the reality everywhere. So when I see things like compost bins with a cute instruction card being put into my room, it makes me happy!

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2) They are funny. Who knew that hotels could have a sense of humour? One of my favorite things about this hotel are their clever quotes and notes everywhere. How often do you see this kind of artwork in hotel lobbies or around? I love a hotel that doesn’t take itself too seriously but still offers topnotch service and amenities.

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3) They are centrally located. You can walk to pretty much anywhere in Vancouver within 15-30 mins when you stay at The Burrard. It’s incredibly easy to get to downtown, to run to the Seawall, to get to Kitsilano or even explore Granville Island. If you’re not into walking, they offer free cruiser bike rentals for guests staying at the hotel. And if you’re afraid of the rain (like I am!), they also complimentary umbrellas so that you can keep discovering the city without getting wet.

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4) They have a great café. Located just off the lobby of The Burrard, Elysian Coffee offers some of the city’s best coffee and healthy homemade snacks. Whether you’ve got a craving for homemade chocolate chip cookies with a hot tea or prefer a freshly-made avocado toast with a Juice Truck juice, they’ve got you covered.

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5) They have the best retro vibes. Hands down the best part about being at The Burrard is the vibe you get from the hotel. This 1950s gem has been updated but has kept its vintage charm. It’s the only hotel in the city where you’ll find a vintage-inspired courtyard oasis with palm trees and retro solair chairs. The neon sign on the side of the hotel makes it incredibly unique. The meeting room adjacent to Elysian Coffee is a retro dream and so are all the rooms. Every decoration item and piece furniture was carefully curated to fit the retro vibes of the hotel.

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Want an insider’s tip? The ultra popular comfort-food restaurant Burgoo is opening up next door in 2017!

9 Inspiring Fitness Instagram Accounts to Follow

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This past year, I decided to start following a lot of women in the fitness community as a way to inspire and push myself to do greater things. They have been a huge source of motivation, especially during my injury so I wanted to share with you today, some of my favorite inspiring fitness accounts to follow for 2017!

1) @alwaystri – Sarah is a motivational speaker, an Ironman triathlete, a Paralympian, need I say more? Ever since I met her at the Nike Women’s 15k race in Toronto a year and a half ago, I have been following closely all of her training and racing exploits around the world.

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2) @melliecay – Melissa is a marathoner and spin enthusiast. She loves yoga, hiking and loves being active while traveling around the world. Her smile and energy are infectious and she’s just as awesome IRL as she is on Instagram.

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3) @gofitjo – This mother of two is real go-getter and positive leader. Her fitness journey is one to inspire. She always has super thoughtful and motivating things to share on her account.

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4) @yellowrunner – Sally is part of the Nike Trail Team in the US and is one of the most badass trail runners I’ve ever heard of. She recently accomplished the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc and UTCT in South Africa. She has inspired me to start trail running and go after some bigger fitness goals.

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5) @sashaexeter – Sasha is known in Toronto as one of the city’s top fitness ambassadors. Her drive and hardworking ethic has been a huge inspiration to me these past couple of years.

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6) @rarax3 – I had the pleasure of meeting Jamaica just recently in LA. I love her positive attitude and super fun fitness feed. She’s always running somewhere beautiful or taking rad workout pics.

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7) @evannclingan – This redheaded New Yorker is an inspiring marathoner with a super colorful and cheerful account. I love her honesty and the dialogue she has with her followers on her feed.

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8) @smasheton – I credit this lady for inspiring me to get back into the pool after years of absence. I grew up being a competitive swimmer and with her many encouraging swimming posts, I found the strength to jump back into the pool again. Asheton is a force to be reckoned with.

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9) @camille_pic – This French author and health/sport blogger is currently training for an Ironman. Camille always posts great food recipes and inspiring training pics (and also cute dog pics!). No need to speak French to be inspired by her account.

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5 Things to do in San Francisco

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San Francisco is a city that grows on me every time I go for a visit. Whether it’s the vibrant food scene, the beautiful beaches or even some of the cool fitness studios in the city, there is always something new to check out no matter how many times you make it to the area. Here are some of my recommendations for your next trip to San Fran.

1) Go for a walk at Baker Beach. This beautiful beach is located just a few minutes away from the Golden Gate Bridge. Though it tends to get crowded during the summer, it’s relatively empty during the winter time and just as stunning. The big majestic trees that are located on top of the bluffs overlooking the ocean make for stunning pictures. Plus the views of the bridge from afar, make it a prime walking destination.

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2) Eat at Tartine Manufactory. The newest addition to the Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt’s Tartine Bakery family in San Francisco is their ultra hype restaurant called Tartine Manufactory. Located in the Mission District, they serve a cafeteria-style lunch as well as a delectable sit down dinner. You can also obtain some of their infamous bread if you go early enough during the day. The dinner menu offers a wide range of meats, grains and veggie options as well as some of their delicious breads. Their desserts are also killer. Make sure you reserve in advance if you want to have a spot.

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3) Go for a spin class at SoulCycle. This incredibly popular spin studio recently opened 3 locations in downtown San Francisco, one at Castro, another at Union and finally in SoMa. The SoulCycle studios are a lot bigger than most in Southern California and the amenities are always topnotch. Their instructors are some of the best in the biz, ultra motivating and will get you sweating in no-time! I recommend taking a class with Andrew, he always has a rad playlist!

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4) Stop by Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. Satisfy your sweet tooth cravings with a quick stop at this ultra popular joint. Mr. Holmes Bakehouse offers the most delicious assortment of pastries and donuts. Grab just one or an entire box, everything sweet and savoury on the menu is to-die for. A major guilty pleasure!

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5) Visit Clarion Alley.  It’s easy to miss this little gem as it is tucked between Valencia and Mission Street in the Mission District. Grab a juice from next door at Happy Moose Juice and wander through Clarion Alley decorated with beautiful murals painted by members of the community. The Clarion Alley Mural Project, the American Indian Center are just some of the groups that have contributed artwork to this beautiful alley.

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My Fitness Goals for 2017

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I’m thrilled to have been asked by Sport Chek to be one of their ambassadors for this coming year. It is an honour to be a part of their ultra inspiring #ChekSquad and to be able to share with you all some of my fitness goals for this upcoming year.

1) Run a half-marathon. This first goal is unfinished business from 2016. My one and only fitness goal in 2016 was to run my 1st half-marathon and due to my back injury this past summer, the goal of running a half in the fall was thrown out the window. I’ve never been so excited to have a second shot at something. I have already started training and cannot wait to finally accomplish this goal.

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2) Participate in a sprint triathlon. One of my earliest fitness and sport-related memories from childhood is the only triathlon that I did when I was a kid. I grew up being on the swimming team so the swim part was a breeze but never really ran or biked much so I remember those two latter parts being quite challenging. Fast-forward 20 years later, with all the inspiring athletes I’ve been following on social media as of late, I’ve been itching to give it another shot!

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3) Finish a Spartan Race Trifecta. I’m a big fan of obstacle races and mud races and Spartan Race is hands down one of my favorite ones to do. I have partaken in Spartan Races for two summers and have become obsessed. What I like about them is that they have 3 different races with 3 levels of difficulty – Sprint (3-5 miles, 20-23 obstacles), Super (-10 miles, 24-29 obstacles) and Beast (2-14 miles, 30-35 obstacles). I have never tried a Super or let alone a Beast but if I’m 100% back to health in 2017, this will be one of my goals.

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4) Try new sports. Since I will be spending part of the winter in British Columbia so I want to spend time hiking and also cross-country skiing. I think the BC mountains will be the perfect setting to practice these sports. I am also open to trying a bunch of different workouts, I just want to be outdoors and as active as possible.

5) Get stronger. This last goal is more of a general goal but after this year’s injury, my goal is to correct all of my body imbalances and strengthen my weak areas in order to prevent any future injuries. The stronger I get, the less chance of injury.

What are your 2017 fitness goals?

What I’m wearing: Nike Pro Warm Notebook Allover Print Women’s Tights (get them here), Nike LunarGlide 8 Shield Women’s Running Shoes (get them here), Nike Pro Classic Padded GRX Women’s Bra (get it here).

This post was written in collaboration with Sport Chek but all opinions are my own.

5 Questions With: Smash + Tess

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The mother and daughter best-friend trio hailing from Vancouver that make up Smash + Tess, are all about sharing their passion for dreamwear. They founded their business together in early 2016 and have as a mission to make women feel confident and beautiful at all times, from the boardroom to the bedroom. The trio uses ethically sourced and quality fabrics to design and produce their line in North America. Get inspired by this mother-daughter team by finding out more about them below!

1) What made you want to start Smash + Tess?

We wanted to fill the hole that we believe exists in sleep and loungewear. After years of trying to find the perfect sleep/loungewear, we decided it was time to just go for it and do it ourselves! Smash + Tess began with a serious love of all things cozy and fashionable, became a reality in Fashion college, and has been bringing dreamwear to Canada and the US since our launch in April of 2016.

2) Where do you draw inspiration for your designs?

From so many places!  We are native Vancouverites that love our city! It is so beautiful and we have a killer studio with high ceilings, in the creative area of Mount Pleasant to be inspired by! Just walking down the street and seeing huge murals of incredible art, and courageous street style makes us excited about creating. The rain (which I do love by the way) is the perfect catalyst for creating cozy! The three of us have long had a dream of creating “dreamwear” that can easily transition from bed to the street, that you can answer the door in and not be embarrassed, that doesn’t sacrifice beauty for comfort. So we’ve drawn on years of trying out different loungewear, and not being entirely satisfied. 

3) What is the best part of working as a mom-daughter bestie team?

We all bring something different and exciting to the table! It’s incredibly special. A true dream realized. Mama T is a fantastic decision maker. She absolutely trusts her gut and isn’t afraid to pull the proverbial trigger. Mercedes is incredibly detail-oriented and isn’t afraid to roll her sleeves up and get the job done. I would say that they likely admire and appreciate my vision and passion for communicating what we are all about!

4) How has a city like Vancouver helped your brand? Is there a lot of support in the city for small businesses?

We feel so blessed to be in such a supportive and amazing network of strong female entrepreneurs. We have been so pleasantly surprised at the collaborative spirit in our city. We continue to enjoy meeting and working with other boss babes from our hometown!

5) Where would you like to see the line in 5 years from now?

In five years from now, we would love to have grown exponentially. We so believe in our mission, and hope to have ladies far and wide rocking some Smash + Tess. We hope to continue to evolve and offer fun and exciting alternatives to male-inspired PJs and yoga wear.

For more info on Smash + Tess, go here.

Journey with Escape Campervans

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For the past month and a half, my husband and I have been living in an Escape Campervans. When came time to book our latest Californian adventure, we were on the lookout for a new low-cost experience that would allow us the flexibility to travel to different cities around the state while also providing us with some great accommodations. After doing a bit of research, I found a great van rental company called Escape Campervans based out in California. If you’ve traveled across the southern United States, you’ve probably seen some of their colorful vans on the road.

What I immediately loved about Escape Campervans was the two great campervan models they offer. We opted for the bigger model of the two, the Mavericks, seeing as we’d be living in it for quite some time and it turned out to be the perfect size. Their converted Ford E150 campervan was easy to drive, park, economical and also allowed us to travel to anywhere our hearts desired. The 17 ft truck was the perfect home on wheels with fully stocked bedding, 2-burner stove, sink with running water, refrigerator, cooking and eating utensils, tons of storage space, picnic chairs and everything we needed to be independent during our trip. I was particularly a fan of their solar-powered fridge and light, allowing us to make food even while off the grid.

Escape Campervans also offer a handful of different add-ons and options so that you can customize your experience exactly the way you want it. We opted for a roofbox to put all of our extra luggage, a GPS, a USB charger as well as one of their custom Insurance packages. The company also offers complimentary 24/7 roadside assistance.

The thing about #vanlife is that no matter what you end up doing with your campervan or where you end up going, it’ll always be an adventure and a unique learning experience. I’ve learned so much about camping, the roads, National Parks, etc. in the past month and a half, things I would have never learned if I hadn’t partaken in this great once-in-a-lifetime journey. The danger with vanlife is, once you get a taste of it, you’ll want to keep doing it. After living in a van for almost two months, we’ve grown so used to it that we are thinking of getting our own van after this portion of our travels ends. Our love for the #vanlife just keeps on growing every day!

You can find Escape Campervans in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Las Vegas, New York, Denver and Seattle. For more info, go here.

Video shot with: Huawei Nova Plus and DJI Phantom.

5 Steps Towards a Healthier Self in 2017

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The new year is just around the corner so I wanted to share a few tips on how to make 2017 your healthiest year yet!

1) Get Inspired. The one thing that got me motivated throughout the year, especially during my injury and throughout the winter, when it was hard to get up before the crack of dawn to go work out or when it got really cold out, was to follow some inspiring people on my social networks. I chose to follow some other ladies that were also leading a healthy lifestyle and doing some of the things I aspired to do in order to motivate myself to get out there. I followed well over 50 inspiring women who were either cross-training, running, cooking healthy meals, meditating, etc. And since I’m guilty of spending a lot of time on my phone and on social media, it was a great way to find inspiration during tougher times.

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2) Set Goals. Make a schedule with short, medium and long term goals throughout the year. Whatever you want to accomplish, you can do it easily if you break it down into smaller easier goals that you can achieve along the way. There’s a great quote that says “Without a goal, you can’t score” and I couldn’t agree more. Set yourself a few goals throughout the year, goals that can be measured, that are specific and that require concrete results and you’ll surprise yourself with what you’ll be able to accomplish.

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3) Visualize. If you want something really badly in life, make sure you visualize it, express it in your every thought and breath. Take 2 minutes each morning when you wake up to visualize your goals. Visualize what you want for yourself, what you want to achieve and how you want to do it. The more you believe in what you visualize, the more it’ll manifest itself and you will get it. It may sound phoney but it really truly works.

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4) Make it fun. Find new buddies to work out with, have people over to make recipes as a group or look up cool new workouts in your area. The only way you’ll become healthier, fitter and happier is if you’re having fun while doing so. Don’t make it a chore, make it something you’re excited about. Break up your routine, keep yourself interested, entertained and you’ll stick with it.

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5) Make yourself your number 1 priority. My injury late this year was a major reminder to make myself my number 1 priority ALWAYS. We often forget to take to take time for ourselves every day and as a result things can happen. I would make up excuses as to why I didn’t need to take the time to stretch pre and post-workout and as a result, I paid for it and had to be out for a longer period of time than if I would have taken those few minutes each day to help myself. There really are no excuses. Make sure to take time for yourself every day in order to make 2017 your healthiest year yet!

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Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba Lettered Tank (get it here), Hyba Lettered Leggings (get them here).

This post was written in collaboration with Hyba but all opinions are my own.

Book your Winter Getaway with the Hotels.com App

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This winter, book your skiing and snowboarding getaway in minutes with the Hotels.com app.

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The mobile app, which is available for Android and Apple smartphones allows you to book your dream après-ski hotel fast and securely, using in-depth sort and filter options. With the app, you can book not only in advance but also last minute while having access to some exclusive “Deals for tonight“, so you can prolong the fun on the slopes. You also have the option to securely store your payment details for even faster bookings in the future.

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With this being the first winter I am spending in British Columbia, I wanted to explore some of the province’s best winter resorts and some of the area’s top skiing and snowboarding destinations. Using the Hotels.com app allowed me to find a great range of hotels in the different areas I wanted to explore. On my list of must-visit destinations for this winter: Big White in Kelowna, Sun Peaks in Kamloops and Whistler Blackcomb. I found some exciting lodging options with all the amenities I wanted (hot tub, free wifi, free parking, etc.!) in order to relax after a long day at the mountain.

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One of the reasons why I picked the Hotels.com mobile app for my bookings is because of their great loyalty program, which allows you to obtain 1 free night after 10 nights booked. They also offer “Secret Prices” that allow you to save up to 50 per cent on your stay. Their rewards program offers adherents a greater selection of competitive hotel deals as well as thousands of specially negotiated rates and subscriber-only offers on hotels located in some of the most popular areas around the world.

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With two-thirds of Canadians admitting their mobile phone is their favourite travel accessory and nearly 30 per cent of Canadians choosing to book their hotel stays via a mobile device (according to the Hotels.com Mobile Tracker), it’s no doubt the Hotels.com mobile app will be the ideal companion for your upcoming winter getaway.

See you all on the slopes this winter!

This post was written in collaboration with Hotels.com but all opinions are my own.