Now that the buzz of the holidays has died down and the new semester is in full swing, it can be difficult to be in good spirits when the days only get colder and the skies remain dull.
Fear no more! The rest of your winter doesn’t have to be as gloomy as the weather is. We’ve put together a list of fun outdoor winter activities to help you stay safe and active during the cold months in the midst of the pandemic.
- Visit local winter festivals and events
Edmonton is a city well-known for its summer festivals, but there are tons of creative and interactive winter events happening around the city right now!
The annual Ice On Whyte event, taking place from Jan. 27 to Feb. 5, is an ice-sculpture garden where you can admire some of Canada’s finest ice carving talent. Ice On Whyte offers ice sculpting classes so you can pick up a new skill while fully embracing the cold.
The Silver Skate Festival is back! Starting up by Feb. 11, this festival takes place at Hawrelak Park and offers tons of activities such as ice skating on the pond, delighting in the beautiful snow sculptures on display, and learning to cook bannock while having the opportunity to gain insightful knowledge of Indigenous oral histories and traditions.
Opening on March 1, Flying Canoe Volant is an interactive winter activity full of French Canadian, First Nations and Métis culture. This event is designed to promote local history and Francophone winter traditions.
- Strap on the skates
A winter favourite of many Edmontonians is to rally up a group of friends, lace up the ice skates, and glide under the lights at a scenic outdoor rink. There are a number of recreational outdoor rinks in the city open for your enjoyment. Places like City Hall, Victoria Park Ice Way, Rundle Park Ice Way, and Hawrelak Park are just some of the city’s outdoor rinks. No skates? No problem. Many of these rinks offer skate rentals. Refer to the links provided for more information on hours, locations, and rentals.
- Try skiing or snowboarding
Whether you are trying out skiing or snowboarding for the first time or you’re a pro, hitting the slopes is always a great way to relieve cabin fever. There are tons of local hills to choose from. The most popular being Snow Valley Ski Club, Edmonton Ski Club, Sunridge Ski Area, and Rabbit Hill Snow Resort. Maybe slopes aren’t your thing but skiing still peaks your interest? Cross country skiing sounds like a fit for you! You can still enjoy the thrills of skiing on flatter terrain on trails like Capilano Park, Kinsmen Park, and Victoria Golf Course.
- Tobogganing is always a good time
Ideal when the snow is fresh and powdery, tobogganing is an amusing activity that will be guaranteed to have you smiling. It is a great way to get outdoors, is suitable for most ages, and is free! It can’t get any better than that.
There are many hills fit for your sledding needs such as Emily Murphy Park Hill, Queen Elizabeth Hill, and Gallagher Park Hill. An added bonus is that walking back up after an exhilarating ride can help you get your daily steps in very fast!
- Go snowshoeing
Explore Edmonton’s local parks in a new way this winter by strapping on a pair of snowshoes! Snowshoeing is a great way to get outdoors and active all while keeping your outing exciting. Haskin Canoe is offering snowshoe tours in different parks of the city such as Hawrelak Park, Lois Hole Provincial Park, Islet Lake, as well as some spots around the river valley. Give it a try! You might just stumble upon your new favourite winter pastime.
- Take a hike!
If you’re feeling a little more spontaneous and looking for a budget-friendly way to enjoy some winter adventure, grab your favourite warm beverage at a local coffee spot and trek out on one of the many trails along the North Saskatchewan River Valley such as Kinnaird Park, Riverside Nature Trail, and Golden Bar Park to name a few. This winter activity is simple, good for improving your mental health, and can be enjoyed whether you’re strolling solo or with a group!
I hope this article provided you with some great ideas on how to rid yourself of the winter blues. Stay safe and be sure to make the most of the cold months to come.
Image Credit: Aajah Sauter