On being Very Vermilion

 
Photographer
Doc Pow

On being Very Vermilion

By DOC POW

Vermilion, AB. – There is a place just east of Edmonton that is very good at producing winter awesome. That place is Vermilion, where it’s very Vermilion to be a winter enthusiast, even if the closest downhill ski or snowboard destination is either Kinosoo Ridge Snow Resort (two hours) or Mount Joy Ski Club (45 mins).

It’s very Vermilion to love winter, start your plans here.

Vermilion local, Lyle Harrower has it all figured out. “There is lots to do here,” he explained over lunch at Anthony’s Grill in the heart of a beating downtown. “For anyone who is into the outdoors, with the river valley and the surrounding terrain, there is tons of to do.”

Harrower knows what he’s talking about after years of winter awesome in Vermilion’s Provincial Park, which is walking distance from Anthony’s. The park came to life in the 50s after the Alberta Government put in a damn, producing the six kilometre long artificial Vermilion Park lake. The lake and the surrounding park are home to Olympic ski history.

Vermilion
Photographer
Doc Pow

The Vermilion Nordic Ski Club is only a few minutes from downtown.

Vermilion Nordic Ski Club, based out of a 1905 CN Train Station on site at the park, is home to the Beckie Scott Nordic Ski Club. For the two-time Winter Olympic Nordic skier, it’s the first place she put on cross-country skis and where she crafted her podium-taking attacks.

“Compared to other places, you don’t get the hills, but it’s the river valley that you want to come for. Most of the prairies are flat, but not around here,” explaied Lloydminster-based Nordic skier, Greg Philips. (Doc Pow note: it’s not all hills, you’ll find wicked vertical trails along the side of the lake).

Vermilion
Photographer
Doc Pow

A good day out is a day of snowshoeing along the Vermilion Trails.

“We only live a block away from the park and all the time we’ll see our neighbours skiing down the side of the street to get there,” adds in Lyle’s other half, snowmobile enthusiast and recent Vermilion addition, Shannon Harrower. “Moving to a town of 4,000 people was a big culture shock to me. For example, I had never been on a snowmobile before I moved to Vermilion and now its normal. In Toronto, it was all about urban life, whereas in Vermilion, it’s about being outdoors and connecting with a true community.”

Shannon gushes at the opportunity to talk about the attraction and now attachment to rural life. “On our first date we went out in -30 degrees in this UTV (like a dune buggy for snow, with a cab so you stay warm and cruise), he took me out to this cabin and with the warmth of the fire, we had music playing and sat by this cast iron fire place falling in love, it was so awesome.”

Being the local that he is, with all the authenticity in the world and an offer to take anyone out who comes to town (it’s also very Vermilion to be a community champion) – here are Lyle’s top three reasons on why it’s very Vermilion to love winter.

  1. If you are into cross country skiing, then Vermilion Provincial Park is a must with its 15kms of marked, tracked and groomed trail.

  2. Snowmobiling – the Ridge Riders maintain trails and operate a cabin that is about 30 minutes sled ride right along the river valley. Part of the sled trail system is right on the river. 

  3. Kinosoo Ridge Snow Resort is only 170kms away – you can base in Vermilion and do it as a day trip as part of your next vertical and horizontal ski minded road trip.

When You Go

It’s very Vermilion to love winter, start your plans here.

Make friends that could change your life, don’t miss the array of events thrown by Vermilion’s Good Life Institute, including their upcoming Race of Vermilion.

You’ll find a ton more information about Vermilion Provincial Park, and a cool aerial shot to help paint the picture of just what’s in store.

For more information on Vermilion’s nordic ski experience, start here.

Learn more about what Northern Alberta has in store for you this winter visiting our #SkiNorthAB page, where more stories and videos will be coming out all season long.

Destination
Vermilion
Region
Interior Alberta
Province
Alberta