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Winter wonders

Unique ways to enjoy the snowy season.

When people think of winter activities, skiing, skating, tobogganing and hockey are usually at the top of the list. However, there are lots of different ways to get out and enjoy Canada’s coldest time of year. If you aren’t much of a skier, or are simply looking to try something new, perhaps it’s time to try something that’s little bit off the beaten track. 

Make some winter s’mores 

Portable firepits have become all the rage recently, and a wide range of models and sizes is available to suit any budget. Most people use a firepit in early spring or fall when the weather is cool, but why not get a fire going in the winter too? It’s the perfect way to warm up while enjoying some outdoor fun. It’s also pretty handy for roasting hot dogs over the flames and toasting marshmallows to make s’mores. Just make sure the firepit is clean, dry and far from overhanging wires or trees – and permitted by local bylaws. 

Snowshoe in a vineyard

If you want to channel your inner sommelier, but the weather is cold and snowy, what do you do? Tour a vineyard, course. Some Canadian wineries offer vineyard snowshoe tours, and even provide rentals if you don’t have a pair of your own. Self-guided or guided tours of the vineyards and surrounding landscapes can vary by distance and degree of difficulty to match your fitness level and snowshoeing ability. But no matter the type and length of tour, you can generally end your experience sampling some local wine and delicious nibbles.[1] 

Go ice-caving

In January and February, when the temperatures are cold enough, the shores of Lake Superior turn into an astonishing collection of ice creations. The frigid temperatures turn the lake’s waves into wondrous frozen caves and formations that visitors can explore at various spots along the shore. Pack a picnic, grab your camera and maybe a pair of snowshoes, and head out to explore some of Mother Nature’s winter handiwork. Don’t forget to bundle up for warmth.[2]

Ride your bike

Fat bikes are becoming hugely popular with cycling enthusiasts who want to keep rolling through the winter months. The extra-wide tires are perfect for cycling on snow and deliver a great workout. Trails and tour operators across the country offer different riding options for every age and skill level, from mountainous trails for thrill-seekers, to flat, winding paths for those who prefer to take in the scenery. Fat biking might turn out to be your new favourite winter pastime.[3]

Get your mush on

Although dogsledding may be a more traditional winter activity, it’s definitely worthy of being included on this list. Dogsled tours have been available across Canada for a while and are popular with adventurous types seeking a different kind of thrill. Tours are available for beginners and experts alike and can range from a one-hour introduction to a multi-day course. If learning how to drive a sled and care for a dog team, while taking in some spectacular scenery, sounds like fun, then this could be the perfect winter pursuit for you. Mush![4]

Skate your way through a forest

Forest skating is a thing, and these ice trails are putting the wow back into winter fun. In parks across the country, skating paths are built to wind through snow-covered forests, creating an enchanting and sometimes romantic experience. Those that allow night skating light the paths with a soft ambiance that looks like something out of a fairy tale. Some offer rentals too, so if you don’t own skates, don’t worry. Take that, boring city skating rinks![5]

Canadian winters can feel cold and long, but they are a fact of life in this great northern country, so we might as well enjoy them. What better way to embrace the snowy season than to discover new activities and have a bit of fun?

[1] www.snowshoemag.com/2015/04/20/new-winter-activity-how-wineries-are-embracing-snowshoers-in-ontario

[2] www.northernontario.travel/algoma-country/winter-ice-caves-and-formations-a-fun-explore-on-lake-superior

[3] https://enroute.aircanada.com/en/travel-inspiration/fat-biking-canada

[4] https://adventures.com/canada/tours/activities/dog-sledding

[5] www.countryliving.com/life/travel/a46495/ice-skating-trails

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