All in a day’s winter fun in M.D. Bonnyville’s backyard

Alberta’s North is filled with winter experiences you should know more about. Why? #SkiNorthAB with us this season, search the tag and use it to show off what you find!

Downhill or cross-country ski, ice fish and bunk in a cozy B&B.

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.”)

The couple are fuelling up for a big day of winter activities, starting with cross-country skiing on the trails just out the Hamilton’s door. The trailhead is glistening with early morning light as boots click into bindings and Alexa, Trevor and Brian push off.

#SkiNorthAB this winter. Plan your trip to the Bonnyville/Cold Lake Region...

Watch All in a day’s winter fun in Bonnyville’s backyard #SkiNorthAB on YouTube.

Out along the lake, the Hamilton’s dog Nikki bounds through the deep snow, as the skiers stride along well-groomed trails. The Hamilton’s 17 kilometres of pastoral trails boast both boreal forest and lake views. Admission is free to B&B guests (or $6/adult trail fee), and ski rentals are available on site.

A hearty breakfast is essential to having a great day on the trails.

A good breakfast, some cross-country skiing and a nice, cozy B&B to retire to afterwards might be enough to fill a day for some. But for Alexa and Trevor, it’s on to Cold Lake, where ice fishing awaits with Angler’s Fishing Tours.

Photo: Jeremy Derksen

The M.D. of Bonnyville is an ice fisher's dream

Out on the ice, owner Kim Grey has drilled a couple holes at a spot where he knows the fish usually bite. He has a heated tent up for if it gets too cold or windy, and using a sonar fish finder, he is able to coach Alexa on how deep to drop her line. The cat and mouse game on the screen fascinates her, and once or twice she feels the excitement of a tug on the line, but the fish are a little wary today, it seems.

“There’s a reason they call it fishing,” Grey drolls, with the implication that it’s not called “catching,” of course.

Some days that’s how it goes, but to their good fortune, Grey is adept at both fishing and planning ahead. On days when there is catching, he brings some of it back to Evergreen Birch Lodge, and today, there is a fine fish fry on for lunch.

Photo: Jeremy Derksen

Enjoy epic Nordic skiing over incredible trails in the M.D. of Bonnyville

Sitting on 150 acres of woodland hills, with cabins and various-sized accommodations spread out across the property, the resort is surrounded by forest and marshland, making it popular with birdwatchers and animal lovers, year-round.

One of the great things about the area is that there are a lot of activities within a short distance of each other, so it’s possible to fit in a lot in a single day. The clock tower at Kinosoo Ridge Snow Resort is nearly at two o’clock when Alexa and Trevor pull up, but that still leaves them a couple good hours to get in some runs. Gently rolling terrain makes for great training for Alexa, who’s building back her snowboarding legs.

Photo: Jeremy Derksen

Ski or ride at Kinosoo Ridge.

For the occasional rider like her, a fun day at Kinosoo is perfect: “I haven’t been to the mountains in a few years, but now knowing that this is here and it’s fun, it’s a good way to work on my skills before I get to the mountains,” she says.

To make it easier to stay motivated, Kinosoo offers a great incentive program with creative apres offerings like a self-roasting s’mores kit. Settled by the fire in the T-Bar Lounge, it’s a great way to wind down a busy winter day of adventures in Bonnyville-Cold Lake Region.

When You Go

Score yourself a copy of the Bonnyville Adventure Guide, which will help you unlock all the #SkiNorthAB activities across the region.

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More fun things to do in the Bonnyville area

Ice fishing: Reel in a massive lake trout on Cold Lake or catch a "northern lobster" (burbot), or reel in a rainbow trout on LIttle Bear Lake. Walleye, yellow perch and lake whitefish are plentiful in the region's many lakes, too. 

Want a customized winter outing? Connect with Rocky Narrows Fishing Adventures

Snowmobiling: The 300-km Iron Horse Trail is just the tip of the fun in the Bonnyville/Cold Lake area for snowmobilers. It's easy to rent one if you don't have one. Check out this website for details on trails and rentals.  

Where To Stay

Check out your accommodation options at Hamilton House B&B Inn here

Evergreen Birch Lodge is a great choice for a stay and it's close to Kinosoo Ridge.

Getting Here

You can easily make a weekend road trip of it. Bonnyville is about 2.5 hours from  Edmonton and a little more than four hours from Fort McMurray.  

Learn about the magic makers at Kinosoo Ridge Snow Resort

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

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