#SkiNorthAB

 

#SkiNorthAB

There’s so much to love about Alberta’s North – land of boreal forests, stellar night-sky viewing, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, skating and ice fishing, too. You’ll want to come back again and again because this is the place to spark your love of the outdoors and indulge your winter-loving Canadian spirit.

It’s a good thing that winter is long here because it gives you lots of time to do things like:

  • Bundle up in an ice fishing hut (hot cocoa in hand!) waiting to reel in the big one on one of Northern Alberta’s many lakes in the Lac La Biche and Bonnyville areas.

  • Wrap yourself in your favourite parka, toque, mitts (and maybe a blanket, too), grab a lawn chair and sit outside with as steaming mug of what pleases you, and be wowed by the dancing Northern Lights show in Grande Prairie.

  • Get your skis or snowboard ready for every kind of run from groomers to steeps at one of the many ski destinations - including the world-famous Marmot Basin in Jasper.

  • Alberta’s northern communities have miles and miles of cross-country ski trails where you can escape for a day into the silence and beauty of the boreal forest or a long a river valley. Learn more about Vermilion and Fort McMurray.

This is the winter for you to experience adventure across Alberta’s north. Don’t forget to tell us all about your adventures using the tag, #SkiNorthAB.

Bookmark this page as all winter to stay up to date on all the reason it’s time to #ExploreAlberta and #SkiNorthAB.

Correspondents
Raj Sandhu
Brody Jones
Adam Hutlet
Jeremy Derksen
Jim Barr
Chris Wheeler
Stories

Did you know that Edmonton isn’t even 50 per cent of the way north across the top of Alberta? There’s so much more north of the capital. 

Archer is ready to go skiing. He’s so excited his body is shaking. As he moves from one to the other of our group, he nudges us, looking at us imploringly, as if to say, “Are you ready now? Are you ready now?”

A historic rock cairn, rimed and grey, looks out over Lake Athabasca. With her gloved hand, Hanna Bishop brushes the hoar shards from the bronze plaque, revealing the historic majesty of the Canadian north. Where we are standing is the spot on which stood the North West Company’s most important trading post, Fort Chipewyan, founded in 1788.

As the sun comes up over Hamilton House, just east of Cold Lake in the Bonnyville region, Alexa Prodaniuk and Trevor Makaruk are tucking into a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit and steaming hot scones, courtesy of Debbie Hamilton. Along with her husband Brian, she hosts their guests at Hamilton House Bed and Breakfast (although as Brian says, “she’s the boss.”)

Having a tuning fork vibrating on your chest as you lie awash in yellow light, as Sandra Kathnelson is currently experiencing, may not intuitively sound like a way to reconnect to nature. But it’s all about good vibrations.

Climbing behind the “wheel” of a Sherp is a surreal experience, beginning with the lack of wheel itself. This large, near-indestructible, amphibious tank of a vehicle has a manual transmission and two large levers to pivot and turn left and right. Its wheels are as tall as the average adult, and the squat body of the thing hunches over them, keeping a low profile (if that is possible for such a wild contraption).

A nervous grin spreads across Ginger Dumais’ face as she picks up speed, reaching the edge of control coming down a steeper pitch on the run Will-o-way at Nitehawk Adventure Park, outside Grande Prairie. Her expression is part thrill, part fear. In the split seconds of her descent, it’s hard to tell which will win out, and whether she’ll manage to stay upright.

Over the span of a few hours at Wapiti Nordic Ski Club in Grande Prairie, Breanna Gordon has managed to get snow down her back, up her front and all over her friends Lori Brough and Gillian Lockhart.

There are many reasons someone might want to switch from snowboarding to skiing. Take Amber Grant for instance. She was getting fed up with the hassle of cat tracks and the hard falls that come with snowboarding. So ger husband, Ben, convinced her to try a lesson in the Next Step program for skiing at Marmot Basin.

As the chairlift swung around the top of the hill at Snow Valley Ski Club in Edmonton, Amber Grant was nervous. She had snowboarded before but this was only her second time on skis in recent memory, and chairlifts intimidated her.

Slide your way into the holidays and uncover the true feeling of the spirit of the season. You can warm your way into winter with a cup of hot chocolate, tasty treats and some outdoor winter adventures in Grande Prairie – one of Canada’s biggest northern cities. It is so easy to slip into holiday mode here.

Cold Lake, AB – Kinosoo Ridge is a ski and snowboard destination that makes magic happen and now that it’s spring, that magic is happening in every learn to ride and ski camps the hill is hosting this month.

Ski hills heading into 2020 are going to have to be innovative to stay alive; continuing to offer up experiences that ensure their audiences not only keep coming back, but offerings that bring their friends and family along with.

What does a kick-ass winter adventure park, water slides, dinosaurs and creative culture all have in common?

#DYK Jasper, Alberta Canada is one of the only five places on the planet earth that McDonald’s went bankrupt and had to close its doors because the locals didn’t support it? This is my kind of place, this is #MyJasper.

Grande Prairie, AB – Closing in on 60 years of serving the communities which surround it, Nitehawk Year-Round Adventure Park was happy to say that with the hard work of its snow making crews, the resort was able to have a soft opening on Nov. 17.

Kinosoo Ridge is a ski and snowboard destination that makes magic happen almost hourly, every single day. For Kinosoo camp goer, Cohen Petranic, the magic-making efforts helped make his "best day ever."

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).

Cold Lake, AB – You have to love alpine fans. Nothing will deter them, not even living on the Prairies. Prairie topography may be devoid of mountains, but it’s not devoid of big hills and alpine fans definitely make use of them.

Fort McMurray, home to the planet’s most densely populated grove of trees. Ok, I just want to get this out of the way up front. We know in 2016, Fort McMurray was home to one of the worst wildfire disasters in Canadian history, but Mother Nature is back. Please be advised, the winter experience is alive and well around here as per this account of the winter bliss we discovered in one of the world's biggest forests.

Snow sloughs over the hump of the large cliff I’m standing above, trickling down over the rocks below. I wait poised on the shoulder of a spiny chute dropping into the new Tres Hombres area, via the second gate off Marmot Basin’s Paradise area.

There is a Nordic skiing paradise in northern Alberta that has 20 kms of Nordic skiing paths for any experience level.

From the minute my plane hovered above the boreal forest just outside of Fort McMurray, I knew my expectations were out of whack.

Destinations

Jasper can be described as one of Canada's most authentic ski towns. Home to Marmot Basin Ski Resort, Jasper is located in the Canadian Rockies about 365 km west of Edmonton. Or at the end of the Icefield Parkway - rated as one of the most scenic drives in the world. 

Not just an oil town, but also home to stellar snowmobiling and northern light gazing. Fort McMurray is located approximately 450 km north of Edmonton.

Kinosoo Ridge is approximately 300 km east of Edmonton just outside the town of Cold Lake, Alberta.

NiteHawk is a full service, year round regional family recreation facility featuring skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, luge and a campground.

Located about a two hour drive east of Edmonton, Vermilion is home to the Vermilion Provincial Park, a nordic ski and snowshoe wonderland.

Known as a "Winter City," Edmonton is the capital of Alberta and its international airport makes for an ideal landing spot for anyone headed to Jasper/Marmot Basin or Edmonton's own ski hill.

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