Grande Prairie Getaway: Ski, Shop, Eat, Repeat

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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.

With a background as a fitness instructor and yoga teacher, the energetic mom of four is always finding something to climb, jump off or handstand on. Equally energetic but perhaps less acrobatically inclined, Lockhart and Brough egg her on, helping Gordon attempt a one-legged ski stand atop a trail marker post, and cheering on her handstand attempts. But when she breaks into a sprint on her snowshoes, spraying snow in all directions, all they can do is stand back and laugh.

Looking to get the most out of your visit to Grande Prairie? Make sure to check out Grande Prairie's official website

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When the three team up, the laughter, adventures and general silliness is pretty much non-stop. But with their busy lives it’s not often they all have the time, so they’re taking full advantage of it over a couple days’ getaway here in Grande Prairie.

Photo: Jeremy Derksen

Enjoy the amazing shops around Grande Prairie

After tubing and apres at Nitehawk Ski Area the night prior, the ladies eased into the day with some shopping and culture. Tucked among the typical fare, Grande Prairie’s latent scene is making inroads - Grande Prairie Coffee Co, 55a Cafe, and of course, Sole Addiction. With the latter’s divans, rustic ladder shelves and Canadiana decor, a shoe showroom never looked so good - not even in Sex and the City (if you’ll please excuse the gratuitous reference in an article about a women’s getaway.)

Make sure to check out the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie.

Around the corner, the Centre for Creative Arts offers gallery viewing, (currently on a limited basis, check their website regarding drop-in classes and occasional workshops in drawing, painting and sculpture. Lori has taken some classes in pottery, and very quickly spins a cup.

From there, a little more shopping at Prairie Mall and a visit to the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie, one of the largest free admission galleries in Western Canada, round out the morning. For a healthy and delicious repast in between activities, the ladies grab a bite at Off the Wheaten Path, where the cauli-poppers with buffalo Sauce are so satisfyingly rich you may never want chicken wings again, and it’s easy to eat a tasty meal that is also healthy enough you can justify two desserts (and may well want to).

After a hearty, healthy lunch at Off the Wheaten Path, it’s time for the main attraction: Nordic skiing at Wapiti Nordic Ski Club.

Photo: Jeremy Derksen

Grab your skis and make the weekend memorable on the trails.

When it comes to planning a getaway in Grande Prairie, it would be hard to find anyone more qualified than Brough to offer advice. She’s a founding member of the local mountain bike club, on the board of Wapiti Nordic Ski Club, and is now organizing her second Fast and Female event, encouraging women to engage in sport and leadership.

Also, before settling in Grande Prairie she lived in Fort St. John and would make trips to GP for weekends, much the same as she and her friends are doing now.

“This is what we would do - shopping but I love the active part,” says Lori. “If warm, ski first, if cold shop then ski.” “The fire is always going and there’s always hot chocolate,” says Lori.

The sun dances through the trees as the women take to the trails.

When You Go

The friends at Grande Prairie Tourism will help you with your travel itinerary – start here.

Grande Prairie is just 4.5 hours north of Edmonton via Highway 43.

Want to head out skiing while visiting the area? Get a preview of Nitehawk Year Round Adventure Park here.

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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.

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