Five faves with a winter spin
It’s time to park the blues – here are five picks to put the wonder back in winter. And stay tuned for five more!
1. Snuggle up to polar bears, Wapusk National Park, Manitoba
Moose, wolves and caribou are all found in Wapusk National Park, but the polar bears get most of the ooh and ahhs. Book a tour, climb aboard a fat-tired tundra vehicle and go nose to snout with a mother bear wrestling her cubs.
TIP: Best time to see polar bears is mid-October to mid-December.
2. Become an Ice Road Trekker
Wood Buffalo National Park, Northwest Territories
If you’ve seen TVs Ice Road Truckers haul cargo from Yellowknife to the diamond mines of the Northwest Territories, you’re probably itching to get behind the wheel. No problem. Just drive from Fort McMurray through Wood Buffalo National Park to Fort Smith, on an epic ice road journey crossing rivers, muskeg and portages.
TIP: Stop at Fort Chipewyan to experience one of Alberta’s oldest Aboriginal settlements.
3. Strap on your skis, and fly
Kite skiing on Astotin Lake, Elk Island National Park, Alberta
Grab the reins for kite skiing on Astotin Lake in Elk Island National Park. It has all the rush of downhill skiing, only you control the speed. Go from double diamond to the bunny hill in an instant. Plus, no waits for the ski lift. You can even tow the kids behind you on a toboggan.
TIP: Elk Island is a Dark Sky Preserve making it a great place to stargaze and see the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).
4. Dream under the dome.
Yurt stay, Forillion National Park, Québec
I love cross-country skiing except for the climbing back into my cold car part. Now you don’t have to. Book a yurt and watch the sunset from your comfy tent cottage, surrounded by sea at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula. Imagine a cozy wood stove, hardwood floor and comfy beds. Rustic, this ain’t.
TIP: In addition to more than 40 km (25 miles) of cross-country trails, the park offers dogsledding and snowshoeing.
5. Dance on frozen water
Maligne Canyon Ice Walk, Jasper National Park, Alberta
Nature puts on her ice show at the bottom of narrow Maligne Canyon every winter. Descend 50 metres where you’ll explore natural sculptures, waves, swirls, secret ice caves and waterfalls stretching like frozen claws over the canyon walls. Book a tour, strap on your steel grippers, and you’re off!
TIP: Strap-on a headlamp and try the romantic moonlight tour.